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Hawaiian Food Staples – Must Eats During Your Vacation in Hawaii

  • Food

Tens of millions of Americans have been out of work since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have taken this time to start home projects or pick up a new hobby. Whether you have hopped on the sourdough bread making train or are starting a home garden, there are lots of things that can keep us entertained at home safely.

Many have had vacation plans canceled due to COVID and we understand how much of a bummer that can be. In case you had to postpone your trip to Hawaii this year, we thought we would put together a list of famous Hawaiian food staples that you can make at home and get your Hawaiian fix. If you don’t feel like making these delicious items yourself, you can always start making a list of items to eat when you do come to Hawaii!

 

1. Malasadas

The pineapple and sugar cane industries in Hawaii had a need for more labor workers, which led to the arrival of many immigrant workers from all over the Pacific. The Portuguese community brought with them recipes of their home country, which in turn led to the popularity of malasadas in Hawaii.

So what is a malasada, you ask? Malasadas in Hawaii are typically a yeast-leavened doughnut that is fried and usually rolled in sugar. In Hawaii, many are filled with custard, haupia (coconut), or sometimes chocolate or jelly.

If you are in the mood for something sweet and delicious, try this recipe that claims to be just like Leonard’s Bakery in Honolulu: https://rasamalaysia.com/malasadas/

For more information, check out the blog on Eater https://www.eater.com/2016/2/21/11082418/what-are-malasadas-hawaii

 

2. Poke

Poke is one of the most popular Hawaiian dishes. Every year, people come back to Hawaii in search of the best Poke Bowl. In Hawaiian, Poke means “to slice” or “cut”. It can be served as an appetizer or a main dish, however you see fit. Traditionally, Poké is made from tako (octopus) or ahi (tuna). Some of the traditional ingredients use to make Poké are: Hawaiian sea salt, sesame oil, seaweed (limu), and chili pepper. This dish has gained much popularity in the United States since around 2014. Now, you can find many different modern day forms of the dish, which can include: avocado, onion, jalapeno, shoyu (soy sauce), etc., just to name a few. Try eating Poké on white or brown rice with furikake seasoning, it will not disappoint! Check out this recipe and make your version of Hawaiian Poké for dinner tonight: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/254946/chef-johns-hawaiian-style-ahi-poke/

 

3. Spam Musubi

During World War II, certain rations were sent to Hawaii, one of those being Spam. Since then, it has been a popular Hawaiian food staple. Hawaii is a big melting pot and has a large Japanese influence.

Spam Musubi is a blend of a famous Japanese snack called Onigiri, which is topped with spam. White rice is packed and wrapped in seaweed paper (nori) and then topped with spam. Some may have egg or furikake seasoning, as there are different variations. Many people in Hawaii eat Spam Musubi for breakfast, but it can definitely be consumed any part of the day. You can find this snack at gas stations, bakeries, grocery stores, etc. Typically, Spam Musubi is cheap and ranges from about $1-$2. Here’s a recipe to check out if you want to try to make this at home: https://www.favfamilyrecipes.com/musubi/

 

4. Loco Moco

In Hawaii, you can find a Loco Moco at just about any diner or fast food location. If you have a big appetite and want a solid meal, this is it!

The Loco Moco starts with a large portion of white rice topped with a hamburger patty (or Spam) and an egg, smothered in gravy.  The egg is usually best Sunnyside up, so you can break the yolk and mix it with the rice and meat. Enjoy a Loco Moco for any meal, but it is especially great for breakfast. You won’t find this meal on any diet plans! Here’s a great recipe if you want to try it for yourself: https://whatscookingamerica.net/History/LocoMocoHistory.htm

 

5. Saimin

Immigrants all over the Pacific, especially Japan, have largely influenced Hawaiian cuisine. One of Hawaii’s most popular soups is Saimin. Saimin can be found at almost any restaurant or fast food place in Hawaii and is quite a popular dish. The soups broth is made from dried kelp, shiitake mushrooms, dried bonito, and ginger. The noodles are Japanese soba. There is a large list of toppings that can be added to this soup, some being: char siu pork, carrots, bok choy, eggs, cabbage, etc. You can enjoy Saimin for any meal or even as a snack. Give it a try! https://www.196flavors.com/hawaii-saimin/

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