‘‘Let’s go to Hawaii!’’ exclaimed my excited bestie Katia.
‘‘Umm… really?’’ was my hesitant response. I travel to eat and apart from poke what’s exciting to eat in Hawaii I thought.
‘Just look at all these cool food tours….’ she continued. Well that got my attention. Food tours are one of my all-time favourite activities when travelling (and a key to being a good foodie). I was in.
And Hawaii did not disappoint. Sure you can easily eat nothing but fast food the whole time (in fact you can do that anywhere). But with a little research and observation, there’s a treasure trove of foods that represent the indigenous Hawaiian traditions interlaced with all the other cultures that have impacted the remote islands since Western settlement including Portuguese, Japanese and Chinese.
Here are 7 things you MUST track down.
Firstly let’s get the pronunciation out of the way. It’s po-kay. Rhymes with ‘okay’.
Poke has spread like wildfire through Sydney over the past few years. And if someone was to invent a dish that epitomised Australia then poke could well be it – fresh chunks of raw fish seasoned with salt, soy and dried seaweed, served on a bed of rice. Similar to ceviche but without the citrus.
It’s the go-to beach meal in Hawaii for its sustenance and portability. You can buy it everywhere, from supermarkets to fine diners so in that way it’s quite a democratic dish. Ahi or tuna poke is the standard and I also threw in tako or octopus poke whenever I could find it. Look out for poke made with local fish rather than imported frozen fish. It’s more expensive but the taste is worth it.
Call me a snob but I truly never thought I’d be espousing the virtues of meat in a can, i.e. Spam. I remember my yiayia winning a can as part of a bingo prize when I was little and the can sat marooned in our pantry like a relic for what felt like ten years. I’m quite sure it was never opened. But I knew Spam in Hawaii was a thing, a hangover from the soldiers during WWII and I’m all about trying local things so I wasn’t going to miss this.
Thank god I didn’t because musubi (grilled Spam and rice wrapped in nori) turned out to be one of the most delicious things I ate. Especially with a slice of bacon and fried egg in the mix. One musubi is also the perfect sized snack or breakfast on the go and sold as a true convenience food. I only wish someone was making it here. Read More