There’s a little town in Hawaii, far, far from New Jersey where the air smells like pineapples and rainbows really do exist. The soaring mountains with their dramatic waterfalls run down to the ocean creating the most verdant soil for fruits and veggies. The clear blue bay is full of fish with unfamiliar names and every meal is a discovery not to mention a feast. Even simple grilled fish tacos made with offerings from the local farmers market and today’s catch is memorable meal and one Secrets of a Home Cook will never forget (sigh).

Keep it simple: Sure, fish tacos are great in Hawaii, but you can make them wherever you are using ingredients local to you. With three basic components, fish, a flavorful salsa and a “crèma”, you can swap or add what you like or what’s available.

About taco shells: There are two types of soft tortillas for tacos: flour and corn. Corn tortillas are more the rule than the exception for authentic tacos, but as a home cook, it’s okay to switch it up and use what you like. Both are available in most supermarkets.

 Side dish suggestion: Rice and beans please!

Grilled Fish Tacos
A grilled fish tacos recipe inspired by a trip to Hanalei, Hawaii where rainbows really do exist and the fish is always perfectly fresh

Hanalei grilled fish tacos

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Serving Size: 4-6


  • 1 pound firm white fish (mahi mahi or striped bass)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 soft corn or wheat tortillas
    For the salsa
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1 bunch of scallions, chopped and divided
  • Juice of ½ lime
    For the crèma
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ of chopped scallions bunch
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Big handful of dark greens (baby kale, spinach or arugula)


  1. Preheat grill to medium/high. Rub olive oil all over the fish followed by a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Grill fish 3-4 minutes per side. While fish is grilling, wrap tortillas in tin foil and place on the grill in an area away from the direct heat (to heat, not burn them). Remove from heat when fish is finished cooking. While fish is resting, make salsa and crèma.
  2. Salsa: Place tomatoes, avocado, mango and scallions in a bowl. Toss with lime juice and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Crèma: Place sour cream, mayo and scallions in a small bowl and toss. Add lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. To assemble: Slice fish into 8 pieces. Spread a thin layer of crèma on half of a tortilla. Put a few leafy greens on top of the crèma, followed by a piece of fish, salsa and a final dollop of crèma. Fold the tortilla in half and voila! Fish taco.