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Bfson

Hawaiian Sea Salt

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One of our favorite things to buy and bring home from Hawaii is the Alaea Sea Salt. Normally we end up with the small plastic bags packed by the Hawaiian Pa'akai Inc in Honolulu that we find at Safeway. But I keep hearing rumors of other brands, less commercial, more artisan. I have never been able to find them. Are there such brands or am I chasing a mirage?

By the way, if any of you are interested in reading about the pivotal role salt has played in world history there is a fascinating book called "Salt: A World History" by Mark Kurlansky. (but skip the part where he has a near fit about the Hawaiian salt because it is intentionally colored. He portrays a drive over centuries for ever more pure salt and finds the Hawaiian a step backwards. I think he's dead wrong but the rest of the book is interesting.)


Bob Foster, San Diego

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I've seen salt in a little container that is kinda reddish in color, not sure what kind of salt was that though.

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Welcome to eGullet, Bfson!

Pa`akai is probably the most popular of the `alaea (red volcanic soil) salt brands, and in packaged in a plastic bag with the "'Old Time' Brand" label. Besides being available locally, it can be purchased from the mainland from a variety of ecommerce sites. Are there any more artisan brands? If you mean by "artisan" a product that is made in small batches with minimal use of technology, for a small and select clientele, then I'm not aware of any that are available for sale that fit the label any better. There may be some available locally on Kauai that I haven't seen. Other well-known brands, like "Da Salty Lady", are more mass-market oriented than Pa`akai in concept, being packaged together with a variety of flavored seasoning mixes. BTW, "pa`akai" itself is simply the Hawaiian word for salt.

You (and Kurlansky) are right that the `alaea is added to the evaporated sea salt; unlike fleur de sel, the minerals in the salt are not simply a product of the natural evaporation process. Instead, they are added in later. As far as I understand, it's always been that way even when was used by the kahuna for ritual purposes in the old days. `Alaea and pa`akai were mixed together because they represented the elements of the land and the sea. In that sense, pa`akai `alaea was always a "processed" foodstuff from the very beginning. There are a variety of "unmixed" evaporated sea salts from Hawai`i that are available, but none has the same cachet as pa`akai `alaea, perhaps because of the distinctive taste, perhaps because of mystical appeal of the religious association.


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

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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Hi guys - well I've had a fairly stressful 2 days with my dog and a diagnosis that is less than

favorable and so I hope you will forgive my technical savvy in leaving a site to just click upon......That being said there was a really great article by our favorite culinary goddess

Joan Namkoong on 10/15/03 in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin addressing the glories and special salts of the islands and where to buy these gems. I have seen these salts at R. Field and the

saturday Farmer's Market at KCC. Enjoy reading her article and a hui ho.......


"You can't miss with a ham 'n' egger......"

Ervin D. Williams 9/1/1921 - 6/8/2004

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ARGH!!!!! The article in the paper states, "(The so-called Hawaiian salt in supermarkets is made with salt usually from California). " Say it ain't so. At least tell me the soil they add in is Hawaiian.


Bob Foster, San Diego

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When we operated our Restaurant in Honolulu we were supplied with Hawaiian Sea Salt from my buddy, "Abe Kapahana's", Grandmothers hereditary "Hawaiian Salt Plot" off the stream Tidal Flats near Hanapepe, Kaui. I was told that there were plots that had been used for making salt located their for many years and were all family operated.

We served this salt table side using Salt Cellars and a tiny serving spoon, our customers were amazed that this salt enhanced their meal so much. It also could have been because we always tried not to use any salt for cooking, feeling that it was something that the customer certainly could do to taste for themselves. his was during the period when warning about over salting were becoming publicized.

Due to the Salts popularity we told her to start sending 1 pound bags that we would sell to our customers. She suggested that we should charge $1.00 per pound bag, telling us we go 50/50. I told her that we would charge $2.50 per bag and send her all the money. She thought we were, "LoLo" until after the initial 3 months we had sold over 100 bags. Even then the price was lower then the Salt sold to the Tourists and we had done a good deed or Mitzvah.

I feel that the Natural Salt Product from Hanapepe is superior to any other Salt marketed, especially the high priced French Salts that haven't nearly as much character, nor the magic provided to dishes that after being prepared are Salted with the Kaui Salt.

My favorite item to salt used to be "Matzoh" that I first buttered with Sweet Butter or any kind of Egg's.

Irwin :rolleyes:


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

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Is there any place I can buy Natural Salt Product from Hanapepe? thanks


Bob Foster, San Diego

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That is not the article - it really was in the 10/15/03 edition of the Today section -"Briny Bounty."

Often when an article is "Special to the Star-Bulletin" it is not included in the web site such is the

case with this article. I did not realize this when I made my initial post. According to the article

families belong to Hui Hana Paakai (paakai is Hawaiian for salt) and do the laborious task of harvesting the Hanapepe salt, unfortunately it is not considered food grade and cannot be sold.

Fortunate are those who have friends in the Hui.

Often you can buy Kona Paakai from waters off Keahole Point at the Saturday Farmer's Market

at KCC. Also R.Field sells this as well as a salt sampler of salts that was around $20.00.

Thanks for your thoughts about my dog, it is a drawn out process to get the final diagnosis of

what sort of tumor it is, there is a 'good' kind and a 'bad' kind so we have to go through blood

work and then have it analyzed on the mainland, won't know anything until March 18th. I have

immersed myself in cooking to keep my mind off it and she enjoys lying by the oven on the cushioned mat watching me, that or she is sleeping on my feet when we eat. Made a fabulous

mojo criollo and cuban pork roast last night with black beans and rice. A hui ho!


"You can't miss with a ham 'n' egger......"

Ervin D. Williams 9/1/1921 - 6/8/2004

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