Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Best of Hawaii

Sure, we love to travel, but we love eating even more! When visiting friends in Honolulu, FoodPair discovered a delicious cuisine that's equal parts native Hawaiian and Asian-fusion with the soul of a surfer.

One of the common misconceptions of Hawaiian food is that it's built around SPAM. While we saw plenty of SPAM in Hawaii (including some decent looking SPAM Sushi) we're here to report that there's so much more to Hawaiian cuisine than ham in a can. From the ocean, Hawaii features great fresh seafood including Ahi Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Ono and Opah. From the farm, there are delicious tropical fruits including Pineapple, Guava and Lilikoi (aka Passion Fruit). Then, there are uniquely Hawaiian dishes like Shave Ice, the Puka Dog and the Plate Lunch. Oh, and don't forget about 100% Kona Coffee!

For those not yet familiar with Hawaiian food, Shave Ice is like a Snow Cone, but the ice is shaved off a block instead of being crushed. The result is a fine, snow-like ice which gets topped off with syrups featuring tropical fruit flavors. Puka Dogs are Hawaiian Hot Dogs stuffed into a small loaf of bread through a "puka" (Hawaiian for "hole") and topped with flavored garlic mayo and tropical relish. The Plate Lunch is a Hawaiian staple and favorite post-surfing meal consisting of two scoops of white rice and one scoop of macaroni salad topped with a flavorful meat dish like Teriyaki Beef, Shoyu (Japanese for "soy sauce") Chicken or Kalua Pork. We're not sure why, but that macaroni salad is magical!

To help you find the best Hawaiian dishes, we fired up the FoodPair search engine and found a handful of great recipes from across the Web.

Seared Ahi Tuna
On the mainland we eat seared tuna, in Hawaii they make "poke".
Ingredients: garlic, scallion, ginger, soy sauce, lime juice, dark sesame oil, ahi tuna

Grilled Mahi Mahi with Avocado-Melon Salsa
It's time to try your hand at Mahi Mahi with tropical salsa.
Ingredients: avocado, cilantro, olive oil, red onion, mahi mahi, lime juice, cantaloupe, jerk seasoning, lime peel

Guava-Stuffed Chicken with Caramelized Mango
This is a great dish pairing chicken with tropical mango & guava.
Ingredients: garlic, mango, olive oil, spinach, butter, lemon juice, parsley, thyme, guava, cream cheese, white wine, chicken broth, chicken breast

Mom's Macaroni Salad
Every Plate Lunch starts with white rice and delicious macaroni salad.
Ingredients: scallion, parsley, paprika, salt, black pepper, mayonnaise, red bell peppers, hard boiled egg, macaroni

Shaved Ice with Coconut and Tropical Fruit
Make shave ice at home and top it with great Hawaiian ingredients!
Ingredients: mango, pineapple, papaya, water, coconut milk, tapioca, ice, coconut flakes, palm sugar

Now it's time to cook and eat!

Any other favorite ingredients or dishes you'd like us to highlight? Post them in the comments section or on our Facebook page! And while you're at it, "Like" us on Facebook to get helpful updates in your news feed.


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