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Lomi Lomi Salmon

[This post was originally published July 22, 2019. It was updated September 26, 2019 to include a step-by-step photo recipe on how to make Lomi Lomi salmon at home.]

Lomi Lomi Salmon is a Hawaiian side dish (made from salted salmon, tomatoes, onions, and green onions). It's a must-have for any Hawaiian meal or luau. Here's everything you need to know about Lomi Lomi Salmon, plus a step-by-step photo recipe!

Lomi Lomi Salmon at home. Step-by-step recipe below ^_^

No real Hawaiian lunch/dinner is complete without lomi lomi salmon.

Lomi Lomi Salmon at Helena's Hawaiian Food (Oahu)

What is Lomi Lomi Salmon?

Lomi lomi salmon is a very popular traditional Hawaiian side dish. It is made from mixing together: salted salmon, tomatoes, onions, and green onions.

Lomi lomi salmon from Yama's Fish Market (Oahu)

All the individual ingredients are chopped into bite-size pieces, and it's a dish you can eat with a spoon. Think of it as a refreshing salmon-tomato salad.

Lomi lomi salmon is always served chilled (the colder the better!), and alongside many other Hawaiian dishes like kalua pig, poke, lau lau. Don't forget to splash some chili pepper water on top for some heat!

Lomi lomi salmon on top of a bubbly hot and cheesy lau lau dip at Highway Inn (Oahu)

What Kind of Name is Lomi Lomi Salmon?

First we have to understand where the name comes from! Lomi lomi is the Hawaiian word for to knead or massage. Have you heard of deep tissue / lomi lomi massages before? It's the same word ^_^

So lomi lomi salmon refers to the act of mixing or kneading (very lightly) the salted salmon together with all the other ingredients.

Lomi lomi salmon, lau lau, and poke from Yama's Fish Market (Oahu)

How To Eat Lomi Lomi Salmon

Oh man, so many ways. First, lomi lomi salmon is never eaten alone. It's always eaten with many other Hawaiian dishes.

For me, an ideal Hawaii lunch plate would have: rice and poi, kalua pig, pork lau lau, luau stew, chicken long rice, and lomi lomi salmon. And fresh opihi if I'm lucky. A little of all the good stuff. You alternate bites of everything...

...then you make one "combo bite" that has a spoonful of poi plus kalua pig and lomi lomi salmon. All in one bite! That would be a SUPER onolicious bite, heheh.

Lomi lomi salmon at Costco Hawaii

Where to Get Lomi Lomi Salmon

If on the mainland, you'll can make lomi lomi salmon or find a Hawaiian restaurant (so many Hawaiian and/or Hawaii-inspired restaurants seem to be opening around the world which is very cool).

In Hawaii we are lucky to get lomi lomi salmon at many places! Here are a few I love:

  • Helena's Hawaiian Food (Oahu) -  Helena's lomi lomi salmon is the top photo in this post. Helena's comes up on all my Hawaiian food posts, everything here is so good.
  • Yama's Fish Market (Oahu) -  Yama's is my other favorite Hawaiian food spot. They are takeout only, but there are two small tables you can sit and eat at right in front of the restaurant. (Pro tip: get their chocolate brownie or pumpkin haupia for dessert.)
  • Waiāhole Poi Factory (Oahu) - Order at the counter, and seat yourself. (Try their kulolo for dessert! It's served hot, and over ice cream.)
  • Fort Ruger Market (Oahu) - Takeout spot. Great places for pre or post-beach visits on the east side of town.
  • Alicia's Market (Oahu) - A takeout gem in Kalihi. I love stopping here for lunch before heading to the airport!
  • Costco Hawaii (Oahu, Maui, and Big Island) - Yes! Look for the "Taro Brand." Big containers of lomi lomi salmon ^_^

Poi bowl with kalua pig and lomi lomi salmon. From Hanalei Taro & Juice Co. (Kauai)

Lomi lomi tomato on top of kalua pig hash and eggs at Over Easy (Oahu)

Fancy Lomi Lomi Salmon

Restaurants LOVE to fancy up all the good local and Hawaiian dishes. Evidence: saimin, kalua pig, haupia, loco moco. And why not, as long as it is still tasty.

Highway Inn in Kaka'ako makes a lomi lomi salmon dip (fourth photo from top). It's made from shredded pork lau lau mixed with cheese and mayo. It's then baked till bubbly hot, and top it with lomi lomi salmon. Served with chips.

Over Easy (a great breakfast spot in Kailua), serves lomi lomi tomato (which is basically lomi lomi salmon minus the salmon) on top of a kalua pig hash with eggs!

Even if you aren't in Hawaii to try these dishes, you can try make a version them at home. It neat to see the different possible uses for lomi lomi salmon. Good inspiration!

How to Make Lomi Lomi Salmon

There are just four ingredients to making lomi lomi salmon: salted salmon, tomatoes, onions, and green onions.

I like to use this ratio:

  • half-pound salted salmon
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • one large onion (best if you can get a sweet Maui onion)
  • three to six stalks green onion (how much or how little depends on my mood)

You can add more/less of any ingredient if your prefer. My dad loves tomatoes so he uses more tomatoes. I love salted salmon, so I often increase the amount of salmon. Feel free to change up the ratios till you find the one you like best.

Here's the process:

First, dice all the ingredients (you want small, bite-sized pieces, think pencil eraser size). Dice the white/sweet onions and the green onions.

Dice the tomatoes.

Dice the salted salmon (see below for where to buy or make salted salmon).

Put all the diced ingredients together in a big bowl.

Then lomi (aka gently knead) the ingredients together until well mixed. Keep in the fridge for an hour or so to marinate/let the flavors combine. You want to eat lomi lomi salmon cold. There is no need to salt or season the dish because the salmon is already salted. Eat and enjoy!

Where To Buy Salted Salmon

Fyi, I've included affiliate links below. I may earn a small commission (at no cost to you), if you purchase through the links.

In Hawaii, we can find salted salmon most local supermarkets. In NYC and SF, I buy salted salmon from one of the Japanese supermarkets.

How To Make Salted Salmon

If none of those options are possible, you can make salted salmon! It is easy. Here's how:

  1. Get a nice half-pound salmon filet. Clean and pat dry (photo above).
  2. Cover both sides of the salmon with Hawaiian sea salt
  3. Put the salted salmon in a shallow bowl and wrap with plastic.
  4. Refrigerate for three days (you're curing the salmon). Tadah, salted salmon.
  5. Before using it to make lomi lomi salmon: wash the salmon and soak in a bowl of cold water for an hour. Then pat dry, and chop away.

Lomi Lomi Salmon Recipe

Hooray, you made it to the bottom of this post! See above for up for step by step photos of how to make this recipe. See below for the official Lomi Lomi Salmon recipe ^_^

Lomi Lomi Salmon

Lomi Lomi Salmon

Yield: Side dish for four people
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Lomi Lomi Salmon is a classic Hawaiian side dish (made from salted salmon, tomatoes, onions, and green onions). It’s a must-have for any proper Hawaiian meal or luau!


  • Half-pound salted salmon
  • Two medium tomatoes
  • One large sweet onion
  • Six stalks green onion


  1. Dice all the ingredients (salted salmon, tomatoes, onions, and green onions) separately. You want small, bite-sized pieces, think pencil eraser size.
  2. Put it all together into a big bowl.
  3. Lomi aka gently knead the ingredients together until well mixed. There is no need to salt or season because the salmon is already salted.
  4. Eat and enjoy!


In Hawaiian, lomi lomi means to knead or massage. Lomi lomi salmon is salted salmon that is gently kneaded aka mixed together with other ingredients (tomatoes, onions, and green onions).

Regarding the onions: if you can find sweet Maui onions, definitely use that (I know it's hard to find outside of Hawaii).

If you can't find salted salmon, make your own:

  • Get a nice half-pound salmon filet. Clean and pat dry. 
  • Cover both sides of the salmon with Hawaiian sea salt.
  • Put the salted salmon in a shallow bowl and wrap with plastic.
  • Refrigerate for three days (you’re curing the salmon). And tadah, salted salmon.
  • Before using it to make lomi lomi salmon: wash the salmon and soak in a bowl of cold water for an hour. Then pat dry, and chop away. 
Mahalo for Reading!


Saturday 26th of March 2022

What kind of salmon can I use there are different types out here in WA? Like Atlantic salmon, Sockeye etc…

Hugh Pizek

Thursday 20th of October 2022

@Kanoe, Anykine is best....I personally would steer far away from "farm raised". Traditionally salmon was shipped in on sailing vessels in kegs which necessitated it had to be preserved in salt (salmon is not a tropical fish). Prior to this the Hawaiians made lomi lomi fish of various sorts where they preserved the fish with salt. The salmon was already salted so was easier to prepare.

The salting was a preservation technique and other mainland fish were also shipped in. Another famous salted mainland fish is Butterfish which is Black Cod from the pacific northwest. Today you can get a pound of refrigerated Black Cod for a couple of bucks a pound......add 25 cents worth of Hawaiian salt and the resulting product currently sells in excess of $16.00 per pound locally . Lucky we live!

peggy a. pellot

Monday 3rd of August 2020

I can only get Smoked Salmon, could I use that?I'm from Hawaii and I miss the Hawaiian food.


Thursday 6th of August 2020

Hi Peggy! Smoked salmon isn't a perfect substitute, but it will work in a pinch! And hopefully satisfy that Hawaiian food craving :) Hope you enjoy! - Kathy

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