Think of Hawaiian food and what comes to mind? Poke? Loco moco? The food you eat at a luau? Pizza with pineapple and ham? I can tell you what it’s not: It’s definitely not pizza with pineapple.

In Hawaii, there’s Hawaiian food, usually referring to native Hawaiian fare, and there’s local food. But sometimes the distinctions blur, and delving into Hawaii’s unique specialties—which is more than just poke and loco moco—reveals a complex picture of Hawaii’s culinary history. There are actually very few native Hawaiian foods; the islanders’ diet before Western contact generally consisted of a lot of poi (old pictures of Hawaiian meals often show poi bowls big enough to wash a baby in), sweet potato, breadfruit, some fish, limu (seaweed), and fruit. The kalua pig (a whole roast pig cooked in an imu, or underground oven) you see at luaus was reserved for special occasions.

Then came the explorers from Europe, the missionaries from America, the plantation workers from China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Portugal, resulting in “local food,” a mishmash of cultures that changed the scope of Hawaii's culinary purview. It explains how we now have a hamburger patty on top of rice and covered in gravy, or raw fish chopped with onions and seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil. This cross-pollination was so prevalent that even what we on the islands now call “Hawaiian” food isn’t native Hawaiian—you’ll find lomi salmon at the luau, made with all post-contact ingredients. It’s all mixed up, and that’s how we like it.

In The Food in Paradise, food historian Rachel Laudan gives us perspective on this cultural blending: “In some parts of the world it seems appropriate to look back nostalgically to the past, to an authentic food based on local ingredients, but such a search for past authenticity is moot in Hawaii. My encounters with Hawaii’s food are just one recent echo of the encounters of a long succession of immigrants who have labored to create foods in these distant Islands, to turn a wilderness into a Paradise.”

So maybe, just maybe, a century or two from now, we’ll be embracing that “Hawaiian” pizza as local food. Maybe. For now, here are six foods that peel back the layers of Hawaii's rich culinary legacy.