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 Pok√©, 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.