Iconic dressings take the spotlight

A La Carte

December 29, 2019

Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: TROPICS HAWAII

Tropics Special Dressing

Generations of local diners have come to count on Tropics Hawaii for some of the most flavorful salad dressings and cooking products available.

Tropics is a Hawaii-based company that has produced salad dressings, marinades and cooking sauces for more than 50 years in the Islands. The company currently features six signature flavors: Ginger Sesame, Oriental, Oriental Fat Free, Thousand Island, Maui French Style and the “Special” original.

The original special dressing blend resembled a Deluxe French variety. That recipe that started it all was first made at Tropics Restaurant in the 1940s under the ownership of Tony Guerrero and Peaches Jackson, which was situated in Waikiki at the bustling corner of Kalakaua and Seaside Avenues.

At the Tropics 98 Recipe Contest, participants got creative with Tropics seasonings and dressings to create a variety of dishes, from salads to entrees to pupus. Judy Barreca of Kailua was one of the winners who created a delicious Reuben Chicken recipe (see complete recipe alongside this story, more recipes available online) with the mainstay Tropics Thousand Island dressing included.

Tropics Thousand Island, left, Ginger Sesame and Maui dressings

Tropics dressings can be purchased at a variety of convenient grocery outlets including Don Quijote, Foodland, Longs, Marukai, Safeway, Tamura’s, Time Supermarkets and military commissaries.

More information and recipes are available at tropics.net.


Featuring Tropics Thousand Island Dressing Winning recipe submitted by Judy Barreca of Kailua


  • 1/4 cup Tropics Thousand Island Dressing
  • 4 chicken breasts with skin
  • 1-1/3 cups sauerkraut
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese
  • 1/8 cup melted butter or margarine forbasting
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. From wide end of chicken, carefully separate skin from meat leaving skin attached at one side. Spread 1 tablespoon of Tropics Thousand Island Dressing onto the meat. Top with 1/3 cup sauerkraut and convert with slice of Swiss cheese. Carefully replace skin over ingredients gently covering the chicken. Coat skin with melted butter. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove cover; baste chicken with drippings and bake until done, about 20 to 30 minutes longer. Makes four servings.

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    Hawaii's Best