30 Oct

Local Food

I’m afraid my blog has turned into exactly one of those blogs “real” bloggers complain about (just like some parts of America are apparently more “real” than others). So, sorry about all the “my kids are so cute,” “this is what I had for lunch today,” and “look at my fabulous shoes” posts. The upside of all the mundane-ity around here is that I am sitting on the couch a lot, hand quilting. Today, I was watching Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and he was in Hawaii. It reminded me that I had yet to share one of the typical local foods here.

And this big ole display of Spam at the regular grocery store near us has nothing on the entire canned meat aisle at the Asian market by the laundromat. Spam was a wartime food, and since Hawaii was a war zone in WWII, the locals ate what the soldiers ate. Apparently it stuck and Hawaiians eat four million cans of Spam a year.

I jumped right in and tried a Spam Musubi (essentially Spam sushi) at the family festival we went to. Actually, it’s pretty good. Robin told me that she sometimes slips these in her kids’ lunch boxes. I wish my kids would let me do that too, because they’re pretty easy to make and a nice change from PB&J.

Saimin is another local food. It’s like fat ramen noodles and comes with a variety of toppings. In addition to the classic variety with that crazy pink fish cake, I’ve also had a bowl with fried pork, teriaki beef and wontons. I have yet to try Saimin with Spam, but here it is on a menu. I’ve heard that garlic Spam is the best.

In case this asian influence is too foreign, even the chains have gotten on the Spam train. Check out this ad in our local paper:

Note that it comes with rice, not hash browns. I meant to get a photo of a similar plate from local restaurant Zippy’s, but we don’t get out much (remember — mundane). If Spam and eggs doesn’t excite you, maybe the Spam croissanwich I saw on TV will:

There’s lots of other local food too — a fusion of food plantation workers brought with them from around the world and adapted to local ingredients.

On my list to try is Poké, but since it’s raw fish, kind of like the bastard child of sashimi and ceviche, I’m the only one one in the family that would be remotely willing to eat it.

I see lots of Lau lau too, but fatty pork and fish steamed in a leaf doesn’t appeal to me.

15 thoughts on “Local Food

  1. That is wacky about Spamcroissanwich. Ugh. When you make it to the Garden Island of Kauai, for some local food go to my sister’s place The Kilauea Bakery and Pau Hana Pizza. Hope you don’t mind a plug, but they’ve been in biz almost 20 years and have delicious baked goods in the a.m. and gourmet pizza in the p.m. Pau Hana = Work Done.

    Cheers! And I’m still working on the Eifel Tower block.

    Mary Kirwin

  2. Not to mention the Taro Pie *cough* I saw at Maui’s MickieD’s last week!

    Don’t worry about your blog content, we luvs ya just fine.


  3. In my family Spam was a treat. (ugh!) The favorite breakfast (still served today when we are all together) is fried eggs and Spam and then canned peaches fried in the fat from the Spam. I think I was adopted – LOL! I have never found your blog mundane, so don’t worry! Have a safe and happy Halloween! Cheers.

  4. I can’t believe an entire post about spam and no reference to Monty Python? I heard a chorus of Spam Spam Spammity Spam while reading it… Spam is that common in Hawaii -yeesh- thanks for showing all the ads- definitely enjoyed this post. Oh, and I love Tony Bourdain too.

  5. oh girl, does this take me down memory lane…my first boyfriend introduced me to spam and we ate it all the time when we had the munchies 😉 don’t know if i could get my lips close to it today…

  6. Oh, you HAVE to go to Zippy’s. The owners are friends of my parents.

    I can remember my auntie Jean (Meyers- she runs the 2nd largest advertising firm in the Islands- took over when her husband died) took me to a graduation party for the child of some friends of hers. Now, Jean is Japanese-Hawaiian and so are most of her friends. We arrived and I, good Island girl, removed my shoes at the door- suitably impressing our hostess (didn’t have the heart to tell her I have done that for years, not out of respect but because I HATE wearing shoes). Anyway, they had two buffet tables set up- one with “Western” food and one with Japanese. I made a beeline for the Japanese. Our hostess was shocked that a haole would be so fond of sashimi, manapua, sushi, etc (squid is my favourite but NOT fried). Jean told her she should see me cut sashimi. I used to go down to the docks at Ala Wai and wait for the boats to come in so I could buy my tuna really fresh!!

    Oh Kristin, you are making me so homesick for Hawai’i. Have fun in Houston!



  7. Oh yes, I am SO not a real blogger if posts about cute kids, cute shoes and what we ate don’t count! I guess we’ll all just have to read each other. I had heard that Spam was a big deal in Hawaii. Uh, yuck. My Dad always said it was made out of noses and ears, which freaked me out as a kid! Had lunch at a Hawaiian restaurant in a shopping center in Beaverton the other day and saw spam stuff on the menu, but we went for the kalua pork, which was super yummy! My only real encounter with Hawaiian fare.

  8. The ONLY true way to eat Spam is in a fritter – the stuff of childhood memories ( school dinners) and then teenage hanging around the chip shop opposite the church which held the youth group. Not enough pocket money for fish ( or even on a bad week, chips) but always enough for a spam fritter ( a slice dipped in batter and deep fried) wrapped in paper. Oh now I need one so badly and I don’t think they sell them anymore!

  9. Oh, how I miss spam masubi. In my company we had a chinese guy, a korean girl, and a hawaiian. When we were deployed, the Chinese guy’s wife used to send seaweed wraps. The Korean girl’s parents used to send HUGE bags of sticky rice. The Hawaiian’s wife sent Spam. So we even had Masubi in the desert. My mouth is watering for it now. Maybe I’ll have to figure out how to make it.

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