Here are some Hawaiian foods that I did not know. It goes to show me that there is always something new to learn here.
Pipikaula is a Hawaiian style beef jerky. However, most Hawaiians I know prefer the one from Costco that is made on the mainland.
Limu Kohu is a soft, succulent small seaweed, sold by fish markets in a bale, wrapped in plastic. It is considered a delicacy, and can be flavored with sesame seeds, chilis, and sweet vinegar.
Kulolo is a thick taro root pudding, either baked or steamed with brown sugar and coconut milk. We have a similar version called chichi dango in the Japanese culture. It is a dessert item primarily, although Sheri has added jello for coloring, and nuts and shredded coconut for flavor and texture.
Haupia is a pudding made with coconut with a gelatinous texture similar to flan or pudding. It has no eggs in it, and is also used to flavor ice cream and cakes.
Huli Huli Chicken is the famous BBQ chicken in brown sugar, soy cause, ginger, and other secret ingredients. It is cooked over an open fire, on a type of rotisserie. The sound that it makes as it turns sounds like huli huli, hence the unusual name.
Inamono is a relish made of cooked kukui nuts, mashed with salt. It is often mixed with poke.
Poke is sliced chunks of raw fish (usually tuna), mixed with various oils, soy, spices and seaweed. If it is fresh, this is a great snack or pupu.
Malasada is a Portuguese donut, made famous by Leonard’s Bakery on Kapahulu in Honolulu. It can be ordered plain, sugared, filled with custard, haupia, guava or CHOCOLATE. It is very similar to the mainland donut, but a bit denser and substantial.
Lomi lomi is a diced and salted salmon that is kneaded with tomatoes, green onions, and white onions. It is usually served cold, and can be mixed with poi.
Takuan is pickled radish, with some yellow food coloring in the curing brine. Sheri has learned to make this with a recipe from my Mom. Warning, it smells really bad, but tastes really good.
Pork hash is the Hawaiian name for shu mai. It is usually made from fatty pork for better flavor, then steamed in a won ton skin to form a little bucket. The best is from Libby’s in Honolulu.
Manapua is the Hawaiian name for a steamed char-siu pork bun. The filling can be anything, from beef, to ham and eggs, to sweet potato. The best anywhere is from Libby’s in Honolulu, near the airport.
When in doubt, do not be afraid to point. It is not rude, and Hawaiians like the fact that we are willing to try some of their native dishes. If we are sitting in a restaurant or diner, we often ask a native about their food. They are more than willing to share the information. And much like other places, do not be afraid to ask about their favorites or their specialty dishes.
Perhaps we need a few more:
Loco Moco is one of my all time island favorites, also available in Vegas at the downtown hotels. It consists of a large bowl of rice, with at least a half pound burger patty on top. That is followed by grilled onions (optional), beef gravy, and topped with a fried egg or two.
Spam musubi is basically the poor man’s sushi, consisting of a deck of playing card sized block of steamed rice, topped with some teriyaki Spam, and wrapped in a layer of seaweed. Sometimes an egg is added to fancier versions. I even found Spam in Russia last May! My brother love’s spam musubi.