This project explores connections between traditional foods, identity, and health among the Pacific Islander community in San Diego. It was motivated by the need to adapt dietary interventions developed in Hawai`i for Pacific Islanders living in San Diego, where available ingredients differ. Research for the thesis includes eighteen ethnographically-oriented interviews, a review of the history of food culture in the Pacific, and an examination of various forces that continue to affect Pacific Island food culture. Findings illuminate how the construction of identity and meaning making related to food and health is affected by historical, social, and cultural factors. In this case, the symbolic meanings of traditional foods, commensality, and shared group identity are in many ways more important than the recipe ingredients per se. As long as the meaning stays the same, Pacific Islanders in San Diego may be open to substituting healthier, locally and seasonally available ingredients into traditional recipes. The importance of community leaders in inspiring their community to eat healthier also is noted. Recommendations based on these findings can apply to lifestyle interventions focused on dietary solutions for Pacific Islanders living on the mainland US and also community-based health initiatives.