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skchai

What local food you miss most . . .

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This is particularly for you guys who are now away from the islands, temporarily or for a longer periods. Is there anything that you can't get there that you really want?

If you could think of a dream CARE package, what would it contain?

When you visit Hawai`i after a long time away, what is the first thing you want to eat?


Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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I've been thinking about this one - I'm lucky in that Gardena/Torrance is about 25-35 minutes from me, and Chinatown/Little Tokyo is about 40 minutes, so I can get most things I crave. Occasionally, I've even seen fresh taro leaves to make lau lau.

My dream care package would have:

  • sweet, sticky char siu(bbq pork). Most of the stuff I see around here is dry and not marinated long enough
    pipi kaula (smoked meat)
    avocados from my grandfather's tree - buttery and not watery
    lychee - although sometimes available here
    Hayden mangoes - the Mexican and South American ones never seem as sweet
    ohelo berry jam
    sugarloaf pineapple
    apple bananas
    inamona (roasted, ground kukui nuts -used in poke)

The first thing I'll usually have is either a big Hawaiian meal (lau lau, lomilomi salmon, kalua pig, poi, etc) or some small Hawaiian fish, like opakapaka (pink snapper), menpachi (squirrel fish), or whatever is fresh and can either be steamed and sizzled with oil or just floured and panfried.

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Great, even profound, choices, Tad. And some unusual ones - I miss apple bananas and Hayden mangose a lot too, when I'm on the mainland. You can sometimes find kukui nuts on sale at Southeast Asian grocery stores, under their Indonesian name - kemiri. But they're usually dried - ugh.

I notice you're not a "junk food junkie". You didn't mention li hing anything, kakimochi, nibbits, "one ton", Maui potato chips, etc.!


Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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not to mention the spam on the mainland doesn't taste the same. just kidding. has there been a discussion here on the place/history of spam in hawaiian cooking? i am always interested in how one culture's "low" food can so unproblematically become a part of another's "tradition". my wife, for instance, uses spam a lot in kimchi-chigae and some other korean soups and dishes. when i first came to the u.s i used to devour wonder-bread and spam sandwiches: a colleague then asked me if i knew i was becoming white trash. my room-mate at the time, however, used to happily make spam curries at home. they were quite good too.

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I notice you're not a "junk food junkie".  You didn't mention li hing anything, kakimochi, nibbits, "one ton", Maui potato chips, etc.!

SK, you're right, I don't really crave the typical snacky foods of Hawaii. Of those that I like - cuttlefish, preserved plums, etc - most of those things are available at the Marukai store in Gardena, or some Longs Drugs stores, or other ethnic groceries, so they didn't make my dream list. It actually makes buying omiyage (a Japanese tradition of getting gifts for people at home when on a trip) a little difficult, because Lion coffee and mac nuts are fairly obtainable here. I did forget taro chips, though. Those Terra chips are great, but they have seasoning on them - Zesty Tomato and Mediterranean Blend and such. The regular Atebara's taro chips are pretty great.

mongo, I agree with you. People's biases are so inconsistent - hot dogs, kielbasa and bratwurst - forcemeat inside an intestine, rather than a can. Big deal. I'm not a huge fan of spam, but to me it's just canned forcemeat, not far off from sausage. Kinda like a mini canned ham (not my favorite either), or turkey deli roll - what most turkey sandwiches are made of. In Asian soups, I would think it functions kind of like a pork version of fish balls or kamaboko. Not sure I'd be making curry out of it, but hey... [grin] Maybe it's just the rectilinear shape that turns people off. Did they ever come out with a round form of Spam?

Kraft Mac and Cheese is a beloved freakin' cultural phenomenon here, but my impression is that it's regarded with more disdain than Top Ramen in Hawai`i. Even worse IMHO are canned pastas like Spaghetti-O's and Ravioli-O's, but I seem to be alone in that.


Edited by FoodZealot (log)

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not to mention the spam on the mainland doesn't taste the same.

:laugh:

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Hey, no laugh. :laugh:

Actually, while Spam may be the same on the mainland and Hawai`i, the Tulip company (Denmarks' processed meat behemoth), in an attempt to nose in on Hormel's territory, markets a special can of its trademark canned pork product in Hawai`i, with a picture of a musubi on the cover. It turns out that while love of canned meat products seems universal to Pacific island nations, Tulip holds supremacy over Okinawa in the same way Spam does in Hawaii. Here's the story.

As mongo_jones mentioned, Spam in well-loved in South Korea. It was until very recently considered a quite fine foreign food - you could even buy beautifually wrapped gift packs for New Year's.

Edited to fix busted link.


Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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Tulip luncheon meat tastes a little like vienna sausage to me.

mmmm vienna sausage....

growing up in india such things were exotica on the level of beluga caviar or black truffles. those were better days.

skchai, my wife and i were discussing spam and korean food over dinner tonight. it has a real interesting history in korea. this might be a good topic for a more general forum--i think i might start a thread about this in the general food topics area.

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Sounds good, mongo - Spam and canned pork products around the world!

While we're talking about vienna sausage, that reminds me of the fact Masu's Massive, one of the classic plate lunch places here, sometimes offers a massive "mixed plate" that includes a whole can of vienna sausage among other things.

Oh, and another "different" processed meat that people sometimes crave when they are away from Hawai`i: radioactive scarlet-colored hotdogs, such as the "Hawaiian Winners" made by the Redondo company. Though maybe less often than in the old days.

One thing that never goes out of style, though, is Hawaiian-style "Portuguese sausage". Just like the genuine linguica except even more grease!

You can actually get Portuguese sausage or Spam with your eggs at Hawai`i McDonalds'.


Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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every once in a while, i try to introduce spam musubi to my colleagues (all cooks). i'm surprised by how many people have never eaten spam! well, i'm glad that i deflowered many a spam virgin in such an original (on the mainland) way.

once, at a party, i made mini musubis (each slice of spam cut into four pieces for bite sized musubis). sushi rice, wasabi furikake between the spam and the rice, crispy fried spam and wrapped with a ribbon of seaweed! they were the first thing gone from the table!

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That sounds too `ono for words! You're right that that the key to successful spam seduction is to make sure it is fried crisp - I think the main reason lot of mainlanders have bad memories of spam is that they were served it cold or barely warmed-up.


Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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When I returned from a Hawaii trip (um, 10 years ago), what I missed most was crushed ice served with adzuki beans.

I also was introduced to sushi while in Honolulu. Excellent Japanese food available there. It took me a long time before I found another worthwhile bento box.

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Oh so many things, though I guess some of them would count as ethnic rather than local.

Rice, Hawaii-Japanese style

Oxtail soup

The incredible pork buns at Kirin. No, not manapua. These are like dollar-sized pita breads with sesame seeds on the outside that you cut in half and pile in a ground pork and mustard green (?) stuffing.

The Ala Moana food court. OK, so it's not all great but just compare it to a mainland food court. It has real food.

Bitter melon in any way, shape or form

Malasadas (though I can make some fairly decent ones)

Mochi--love that texture. And mochi ice cream.

The lady who sells (or used to sell) a noodle soup with a skewer of roast duck at the entry to the newer market in Chinatown. The Sunday breakfast of my dreams.

Halo-halo, so improbable, so good.

Ba-Le sandwiches. Tried some of the same name in Austin from a grubby, horrid place. Not at all the same.

Apple bananas. Lychees still warm from the tree.

Oh and lots more but that's a start,

Rachel


Rachel Caroline Laudan

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That sounds too `ono for words! You're right that that the key to successful spam seduction is to make sure it is fried crisp - I think the main reason lot of mainlanders have bad memories of spam is that they were served it cold or barely warmed-up.

no argument there.

Spam is so good, it's spawned imitators.

how long have the other spam variants been available?

I'm in New Jersey, but I always liked Spam as a kid. Still do.

Sorry, don't mean to turn this into a spam thread.

Initially checked this thread just to find out more about Hawaiian food.


Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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tell me about that.

These are like dollar-sized pita breads with sesame seeds on the outside that you cut in half and pile in a ground pork and mustard green (?) stuffing.

that does sound good. so does the malasadas.

Mochi--love that texture.  And mochi ice cream.

i've never had mochi. :sad:

Ba-Le sandwiches. 

tell me about these. are these banh mi?

or is this the Hawaii chain that I just found through google?

Apple bananas.

just looked it up. that's just weird.

can they be grown anywhere a banana can be grown?

TIA


Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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All this talk about Spam made me think of the one cold cut that used to be more popular on all the Islands.

Armour's Institutional 6 Pound Tin of Lunch Meat.

This was sold at many Markets, who would slice it into Thick Slices about 5 to a Pound. Just right local style to fit proper between 2 slices of White Bread.

This Lunch meet has a unusual seasoning taste of Nutmeg that different from any other. I've looked for it all over but only find varieties that don't even compare.

Another favorite of my Family I haven't found at any Hawiian Places is "Squid Luau". My daughter has friends bring it to her in Gallon Containers.

I noticed that several poster have mentioned "PipiKula" as being smoked, but I remember it as being Salted and Dried.

The kind of Liver that i most enjoy I haven't been able to get anywhere "Aki".

We sometimes are able to buy "Kala" [sturgeon Fish] in the markets, but they are cleaned and dressed. Can't cook them with all the innards inside Hawaiian Stle to enjoy the flavor from the Seaweed that the fish eats.

"Ophi" is another item not available that I really miss, plus we have Fugu available, with a accredited Sushi Chef to prepare it but none of the Fugu [blowfish] come close to the 5/6 Pounders that we caught in Hawaiian waters and had prepared at the Restaurant that was owned by the man who used to own all the Sheraton Hotels.

I've never had varieties of Kim Chee even thou we have everytype of Korean Markets that were equal to the Fresh Selection at Tamishiros Market.

Even thou it's not Hawaiian there is another Korean Specialty that I enjoyed in Honolulu and Korea that's not available in Los Angles or Seattle/Tacoma but used to be served in Honolulu thats "Meat Juhn".

I also thru trying almost every kind of Venison that the finest in the World comes from the "Axis Deer" fattened on Guava from Molokai.

I'm sure thers more but that's what's on my want list tonight, plus some fresh "New Year Mochi".

Irwin :wink:


I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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Herbacidal,

Nothing in your first quote but if you're referring to the oxtail soup it's a clear Chinese soup with the oxtail in it and a few peanuts. It's a bit hard to navigate but light and delicious.

Try mochi when you get the chance. Lots of people find it tasteless and don't like the chewy texture but if you do like the texture it's great. And thinly wrapped around small balls of ice cream, specially green tea ice cream, it makes a wonderful contrast. Sad to say, I believe this was a California invention not a Hawaii one.

And yes, the sandwiches from the Bah-le chain are banh mi.

And apple bananas are small and have a clear taste and non-woolly texture, so much better than normal supermarket bananas.

Rachel


Rachel Caroline Laudan

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Herbacidal,

Nothing in your first quote but if you're referring to the oxtail soup it's a clear Chinese soup with the oxtail in it and a few peanuts. It's a bit hard to navigate but light and delicious.

sorry, i think i had it there originally.

i was actually referring to rice, hawaiian-japanese style.

the rest sounds really good.


Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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This is a medium to short grain rice that cooks to make a dish in which the grains cling together. The main varieties used in Hawaii come from California (Calrose, Hinode, Diamond, etc), People buy them by the twenty pound bag. Rice is always available. Consumption is about 60 pounds a year per person (the mainland, nine pounds). When I asked students who had been to Washington DC what most interested/surprised/intrigued them, they responded without a second thought, "No rice at McDonald's." So much for the Congress, White House, etc.

Rachel


Rachel Caroline Laudan

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Herbacidal,

Nothing in your first quote but if you're referring to the oxtail soup it's a clear Chinese soup with the oxtail in it and a few peanuts. It's a bit hard to navigate but light and delicious.

Try mochi when you get the chance. Lots of people find it tasteless and don't like the chewy texture but if you do like the texture it's great. And thinly wrapped around small balls of ice cream, specially green tea ice cream, it makes a wonderful contrast. Sad to say, I believe this was a California invention not a Hawaii one.

And yes, the sandwiches from the Bah-le chain are banh mi.

And apple bananas are small and have a clear taste and non-woolly texture, so much better than normal supermarket bananas.

Rachel

Caroline: It seems that your in need of a return theraputic visit to Hawaii. [ME TO]

The Chinese Oxtail Soups are different then the most popular Ox Tail Soups in Hawaii.

If i'm not mistaken the type so popular everywhere is the "Hawaiian Korean/Okinawa Oxtail Soup that was prepared with plain boiled peanuts, mustard greens and chinese cabbage [Napa]. Served everywhere from Drive In's, Lunchewagons and Restaurants.

What amazed me most about the popular Rices being short grained Hinode and other brands was that it was always with "Talcum", added to the Rice, something i've never seem anywhere else except the Islands.

One thing that's welcomed in Seattle is that many Asian Markets have Apple Bananas and Williams Banana plus other varieties available year round.

There was even New Years fresh Mochi at the Markets, plus it also available in a Boxed very tasty "Individual Frozen Mochi Ice Creams" in many Flavors.

There is more then i'm able to handle on any trip at the two "Ranch 99" Super Markets that are prolifigating on the West Coast.

They as well as many Mexican and Hallal Markets even feature Fresh Goat.

I keep looking for those Mexican Peaches That are cured so wonderfully, but no luck yet.

Irwin :blink::biggrin:


I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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This is a medium to short grain rice that cooks to make a dish in which the grains cling together. The main varieties used in Hawaii come from California (Calrose, Hinode, Diamond, etc), People buy them by the twenty pound bag. Rice is always available. Consumption is about 60 pounds a year per person (the mainland, nine pounds). When I asked students who had been to Washington DC what most interested/surprised/intrigued them, they responded without a second thought, "No rice at McDonald's." So much for the Congress, White House, etc.

Rachel

so it's a rice variety, not a particular way of preparing it? hmm.

how's the flavor that much different than other chinese rices?

(I think the rice we use is from Thailand)


Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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When I returned from a Hawaii trip (um, 10 years ago), what I missed most was crushed ice served with adzuki beans.

That's one thing that's hard to get anywhere else - if you have a large Filipino community where you live, you might look for a place that serves "halo-halo", which is somewhat similar and often contains azuki beans - it was one of things that Rachel mentioned in her post:

Halo-halo, so improbable, so good.

For our New Year's Eve get-together last night, we served shaved ice for dessert - with choice of syrups (lilikoi, fruit punch, and condensed milk) and toppings (azuki beans, nata de coco, palm seeds, and various fruits). Kids loved making weird combinations. Just got this new shaved ice maker that works pretty well (unlike our old one).

Oh so many things, though I guess some of them would count as ethnic rather than local

. . .

The Ala Moana food court. OK, so it's not all great but just compare it to a mainland food court. It has real food.

I agree with you about the food court - it doesn't strike you as anything special until you compare it with food courts elsewhere. For one, very few of the stands are representatives of national chains - I can think only of the Haagen-Daaz and Panda Express stands. And the Panda Express regularly gets outdrawn by Patty's, local Chinese Plate Lunch Place. Also, the diversity of ethnic foods - Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Hawaiian, Mexican, Italian, etc. is presumably more than you can find anywhere else.

All this talk about Spam made me think of the one cold cut that used to be more popular on all the Islands.

Armour's Institutional 6 Pound Tin of Lunch Meat.

I remember from elementary school lunches - I think they still serve it!

Even thou it's not Hawaiian there is another Korean Specialty that I enjoyed in Honolulu and Korea that's not available in Los Angles or Seattle/Tacoma but used to be served in Honolulu thats "Meat Juhn".

Meat Juhn can't be found outside of Hawai`i because it's really a dish that was popularized locally. It's hard to find even in Korea, and even when you can, the preparation is very different that what you get in Hawai`i. I've written a bit more about meat juhn in another thread.

I'm sure thers more but that's what's on my want list tonight, plus some fresh "New Year Mochi".

The other dessert for New Year's Eve was butter mochi. That's not exactly the traditional Japanese or Chinese New Year Mochi, but I guess you can count it as traditional for local people. . .

. . . When I asked students who had been to Washington DC what most interested/surprised/intrigued them, they responded without a second thought, "No rice at McDonald's." So much for the Congress, White House, etc.

And no Saimin or Spam at McDonald's either - very strange!

. . .There is more then i'm able to handle on any trip at the two "Ranch 99" Super Markets that are prolifigating on the West Coast.

There's also a 99 Ranch here in Honolulu now, in Mapunapuna.

Thanks, everyone, for your posts. And a belated but heartfelt welcome back, Rachel and Irwin!


Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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Yes, Wesza, I am in crying need of a therapeutic trip to the islands. I never realized how much I would miss them. And thanks for the comments on oxtail soup. You are much more expert than I am but although I can see the Korean input, I don't quite get the Okinawan input since I associate Okinawan food so much with pork. But that probably shows how little I know. In any case it's a wonderful soup and I loved being able to get it everywhere as you say.

And what are the Mexican peaches you are talking about? I'm going to the US soon and could send you some. What I think of are the small peaches in syrup that are so much tastier than the canned peaches in the US.

And Herbicidal, what's important about the rice in Hawaii (and I didn't know about the talc until Wesza chipped in) is that is medium short grain and sticks together. It's not the long grain, fluffy-style rice preferred on the mainland. If you are buying (say) a jasmine-style Thai rice you would not be able to prepare the rice favored in Hawaii. Incidentally these rices are exported to Japan.

Sun-Ki, you have one lucky family food-wise. As for shave ice, I brought a tiny hand-cranked shave ice machine with me to Mexico but it only works for one or two servings.

What else? Well that will have to wait for another day,

Rachel


Rachel Caroline Laudan

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