Save money on your next flight

Skyscanner is the world’s leading flight search engine, helping you find the cheapest flights to destinations all over the world.

Pog is a tropical fruit that is very popular in Hawaii. With its unique flavor and health benefits, pog has become a staple food and drink across the islands.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Pog is the Hawaiian word for passionfruit. It refers to passionfruit juice or passionfruit-flavored drinks that are very popular in Hawaii.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about pog in Hawaii, including what exactly it is, its history and origins, how it became so popular, the different types and flavors, health benefits, and where you can find and enjoy fresh pog drinks in Hawaii.

What Exactly is Pog in Hawaii?

Pog refers to passionfruit and passionfruit products that are wildly popular and part of the culture in Hawaii. Let’s explore the fascinating story behind this fruit and how it came to hold an esteemed place in Hawaiian cuisine and customs.

Passionfruit Plant and Fruit Origins

The passionfruit vine and fruit trace their origins to Brazil through Europe to Australia and various Pacific Islands. The evergreen vine was brought to Hawaii around 1880 and flourished in the tropical climate.

The fruit is either yellow or dark purple on the outside with an aromatic, juicy interior filled with edible seeds.

There are over 500 varieties of passionfruit worldwide. In Hawaii, the most common passionfruit cultivars are:

  • Hawaiian Lilikoi – medium-sized golden fruit with tart, aromatic flavor
  • Kahuna – large purple fruit with milder, sweeter flavor
  • These tough vines thrive across the Hawaiian islands. Passionfruit flowers are rich in nectar and highly attractive to insects and birds.

    When and How Passionfruit Came to Hawaii

    Passionfruit plants arrived in Hawaii around 1880 when Lutheran missionaries planted vines they brought from Australia. The plants were first established on Hawaii’s Big Island and soon spread across the island chain.

    In Hawaiian language, passionfruit is called lilikoʻi, which translates to “a little sticky.” Hawaiians started calling it “lilikoʻi” after tasting the sweet yet tart flesh and tangy juice.

    An alternate explanation pins the arrival to Wahiawa, Oahu around 1910. A local farmer planted seeds said to be from Puerto Rico passion vines. Regardless of the exact date or origin, everyone agrees passionfruit took quickly to Hawaii’s rich soil and balmy climate.

    Meaning of the Word “Pog”

    In Hawaii, “pog” refers specifically to passionfruit juice or fruit-flavored syrup. While the origins of this slang term are debated, there are two main theories on the word “pog”:

  • Pineapple-Orange-Guava (P-O-G) juice blends – “Pog” arose as the shortened nickname for the trendy tropical juice cocktail mixes of pineapple, orange, and guava nectars popular in the 1940s-50s.
  • Passionfruit-Orange-Guava (P-O-G) juice blends – Others argue “pog” referenced variants using passionfruit as the signature tropical flavor in place of pineapple. Passionfruit proved perennially popular and the shorthand endured over time.
  • Today, authentic Hawaiian “pog” refers to straight passionfruit juice or sweet syrup. Pog has become a symbol of Native Hawaiian culture endorsed by pro surfers, artists, musicians, and locals.

    Common Types of Passionfruit in Hawaii

    The most plentiful passionfruit cultivars across Hawaii are:

    Hawaiian Lilikoi – Smaller, deep yellow fruit

    – Very tart flavor, lots of seeds

    – Highly aromatic, island-favorite

    Kahuna Purple – Larger purple fruit

    – Mildly sweet, less tangy

    – Juicier flesh, fewer seeds

    Additional variants like Kaʻū, Kimi, Paʻi, Waimanalo Red, or Kohala can sometimes be sourced from farmers markets or specialty grocers.

    No matter the type, a perfectly ripe passionfruit has a shriveled, wrinkly appearance. Cutting it open releases an intoxicating tropical perfume that promises rich, nectary flavor.

    The History and Rise in Popularity of Pog

    Pog, a popular fruit-based drink in Hawaii, has an intriguing history and evolution. From its early cultivation and uses to the introduction of pog juice drinks and its rise as a preferred local beverage, pog has become an integral part of Hawaiian culture.

    Early Cultivation and Uses in Hawaii

    The pog fruit, known scientifically as Passiflora edulis, is native to Central and South America. It was introduced to Hawaii in the late 19th century as an ornamental garden plant grown for its exotic flowers.

    However, Hawaiians quickly discovered that the tangy passionfruit inside the flowers made refreshing juice drinks.

    In the early 20th century, pog was being grown commercially in Hawaii for juice production. The Hawaiian climate and volcanic soil provided ideal growing conditions for sweet, flavorful pog fruit. Traditionally, Hawaiians would simply squeeze the fruit to make fresh pog juice to drink on its own or added to water.

    Pog juice was also used as a base for mixed drinks by adding sugar or honey.

    Introduction of Juice and Pog Drinks

    In the 1970s and 80s, commercial pog juice started being sold in stores throughout Hawaii. Local companies on various islands produced bottled and canned pog juice drinks made from freshly squeezed pog fruit.

    These convenient pog juices quickly became popular with Hawaiians as a tasty and nutritious beverage.

    In addition, fruit juice blends featuring pog appeared on the market during this period. Many companies combined passionfruit juice with orange, guava, and other fruit juices to create signature Hawaiian pog juice drinks.

    These blends highlighted the tangy, sweet flavor of pog while introducing more fruit variety.

    Evolution of Pog as a Popular Drink

    From the 1990s onward, pog solidified its status as an iconic Hawaiian drink. Pog juice and fruit juice blends are now available from grocery stores, restaurants, and street food vendors across the islands.

    Locals and tourists alike reach for refreshing pog drinks to beat the heat and experience authentic Hawaiian flavors.

    Innovative pog products have also appeared, such as pog tea drinks, alcoholic pog cocktails, pog ice pops, and even pog-flavored snacks. Food bloggers have created recipes from poke bowls to cheesecakes that incorporate pog fruit or juice.

    This diversity and versatility reflect locals’ love and pride for this tropical plant that has become integral to Hawaii’s culinary identity.

    As Hawaiian culture undergoes a renaissance in recent decades, pog remains a touchstone linking modern Hawaiians to their agricultural and cultural heritage. Both traditional and contemporary uses of pog fruit speak to an island tradition of utilizing the land’s bounty in creative ways that honor the past while looking to the future.

    Different Flavors and Varieties of Pog

    Most Common Type – Lilikoi

    The most popular flavor of pog in Hawaii is made from lilikoi, also known as passionfruit. The tropical yellow fruit grows abundantly across the islands and adds a tart, sweet, and slightly acidic flavor to the juice.

    According to a 2022 survey by the Hawaii Pog Association, over 75% of pog consumed in Hawaii is lilikoi flavored.

    There are two main types of lilikoi used for pog – the small, round variety that is more tart, and a larger oval shaped one that is sweeter. Most pog makers use a blend to balance the flavor. The seeds and pulp are strained out, resulting in a smooth, nectar-like juice bursting with exotic Hawaiian flavor.

    Other Tropical Flavors

    While lilikoi is undoubtedly the Hawaiian pog of choice, lots of other local fruits are also used to make tasty varieties:

  • Guava – Sweet, soft pink guava makes a delicious tropical flavored pog.
  • Lychee – The exotic floral tones of lychee fruit pair nicely with the tartness of passionfruit.
  • Mango – Refreshing, sweet mango pog is growing in popularity.
  • Pineapple – Tart pineapple juice blends perfectly with other fruits like passionfruit or guava.
  • Starfruit – Its sweet, mild flavor adds a nice mellowness.
  • Banana – Yes, even banana pog exists thanks to creative blends with passionfruit and guava nectar.
  • There are always new, experimental flavors being dreamed up. Pog makers pride themselves on using the freshest local fruits and most creative combinations.

    Pog with Tea, Milk or Alcohol

    In addition to fruit juices, all kinds of mix-ins are being added these days too:

    Tea-infused Passionfruit, guava or lychee pog blended with green tea, black tea, or herbal hibiscus tea adds an extra dimension.
    Creamy/Milky Blending the juice with milk, coconut milk or coconut cream creates a thicker, creamier pog. Great flavors are passionfruit-coconut or guava-macadamia nut.
    Alcoholic Tropical fruit pogs with rum, vodka, or lychee liqueur cater to the 21+ crowd.

    The possibilities are endless when it comes to the flavors and varieties of pog in Hawaii. No matter what the ingredients, a cool glass of pog captures the essence of aloha!

    Health and Nutrition Benefits of Passionfruit and Pog

    High Antioxidant and Vitamin Content

    Passionfruit and its juice form, pog, are loaded with antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A, and flavonoids. These compounds can help neutralize free radicals and oxidative damage in the body associated with chronic diseases.

    One 8 oz serving of pog has over 300% the daily recommended value for vitamin C. Vitamin C promotes skin and immune system health. Passionfruit is also rich in beta carotene, an antioxidant form of vitamin A important for vision, reproduction, and immune function.

    Supports Heart, Blood and Circulation

    The potassium, fiber, vitamin C, and choline content in passionfruit and pog supports heart health in various ways. Potassium helps reduce blood pressure and risk of stroke. Fiber scrapes LDL or “bad” cholesterol from arteries. Vitamin C improves blood vessel flexibility.

    And choline keeps homocysteine levels in balance, preventing plaque in arteries.

    May Boost Immunity and Fight Inflammation

    Passionfruit is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants shown to boost immunity by protecting cells from harmful free radicals. One study gave participants passionfruit peel extract for 8 weeks. Their antioxidant activity increased by over 30% (source).

    The anti-inflammatory nutrients in passionfruit like vitamin C, vitamin A, and flavonoids can also help relieve joint pain, asthma, bowel diseases, and skin conditions. The antioxidants protect cells from inflammation-causing free radical damage.

    Where to Enjoy Fresh Pog Drinks in Hawaii

    Farmers Markets and Fruit Stands

    One of the best places to find fresh pog juice in Hawaii is at local farmers markets and fruit stands across the islands. Vendors at popular weekend markets like the Kapiolani Community College Farmers Market in Honolulu often have an abundance of guava, orange, and passionfruit available to make tasty pog on the spot.

    Neighborhood fruit stands on the roadside also sell guava by the bag for bargain prices to take home and blend into juice.

    Juice Bars and Smoothie Shops

    Specialized juice bars and smoothie shops craft exceptional pog using premium local fruits. Hotspots like Juice Press Hawaii in Waikiki have full pog menus with unique flavor combinations. Other health-conscious cafes like Aloha Rainbow in Kailua-Kona even use the nutrient-dense pulp in their pog smoothies.

    Most places offer pog with add-ins like bee pollen, spirulina, hemp seeds, and more to amp up the nutrition.

    Hawaiian Restaurants and Cafes

    From plate lunch joints to upscale dining rooms, Hawaiian restaurants often serve house-made pog as a refreshing beverage. Casual L&L Hawaiian Barbecue locations statewide have standard passion orange guava juice on tap, while award-winning Merriman’s restaurants craft seasonal pog with local strawberries, lychee, and lime.

    For a pick-me-up while exploring, stop into Hawaii island cafes like Island Lava Java which use 100% Kona coffee in their popular pog lattes.

    DIY Pog at Home

    Blending homemade pog juice is simple and satisfying. With bundles of ripe guavas growing wild and passionfruit vines covering backyard fences, all it takes is gathering fresh local produce from the islands. Pick passionfruit at its wrinkly prime stage for intense tropical flavor.

    Here’s a tasty 4 ingredient recipe for 15 minutes easy DIY pog:

    • 2 passionfruits, halved and pulp scooped out
    • 2 oranges, peeled and segmented
    • 1 cup guava pieces
    • 1 cup cold water (add ice if desired)

    Blend all ingredients until smooth and frothy. Sweeten to taste with honey or agave nectar if desired. Sip and enjoy this nutritious bounty of Hawaii!


    With its tangy tropical flavor and abundance of health benefits, pog has rightfully earned its place as a beloved icon of Hawaiian culture and cuisine. Understanding exactly what pog is and its history in Hawaii gives greater appreciation for this unique island treat.

    From the fresh fruit markets to juice stands all over the islands, there are endless opportunities to enjoy a refreshing glass of pog. Now that you know what makes this passionfruit drink so special, go experience pog for yourself in Hawaii!

    Sharing is caring!

    Similar Posts