Time for Kaukau. What’s to eat?
Polynesians were the first people to arrive in and make Hawai’i their home, and the kaukau (food) they ate revolved mostly around what they could catch or grow. Today, however; more than a million people of different ethnicities live in the state of Hawai’i, and each has helped contribute to the amazing diversity of foods you find here! Some of those foods have become a common part of the Hawaiian diet, meaning that many who live here regularly enjoy these foods regardless of what culture it originally came from. While the list is long, we have chosen a few, from among the most popular, that visitors will definitely want to try, if you haven’t already!
• Poke- a Hawaiian treat of marinated raw fish (or other seafoods such as octopus, crab, etc). It is very popular with all ages and is delish! Don’t let the fact that the fish is raw stop you from trying some of the many varieties found in markets.
• Kalua Pig- roast pork Hawaiian style, tender and ono (good)!
• Laulau- pork, fish, or chicken wrapped in taro leaves, then in ti leaves, and steamed, again a very popular Hawaiian dish!
• Kalbi- Korean style bar-b-q ribs – it’s the marinade that makes these ribs some of the best you will ever eat!
• Musubi- a Japanese treat that you will find in most food stores and even at the quick stop markets, it is always a favorite with kids!
• Chicken Katsu- these Japanese style breaded chicken cutlets are fried and served with a special katsu sauce and often part of a plate lunch with the traditional two scoops rice and one scoop macaroni salad.
• Pancit- Filipino style noodles. You will find that there is a noodle dish available from almost every culture, but this is definitely one of the more popular.
• Chicken Long Rice- while common at Hawaiian luaus this is actually a Chinese noodle dish. The rice noodle looks different because it is clear, but it tastes delicious!
• Manapua- another Chinese treat, this steamed bun with char siu pork filling is something you find everywhere.
• Portuguese Bean Soup- often served with Portuguese sweet bread, this is the equivalent of chicken noodle soup in terms of comfort food, but made with beans, ham, and veggies.
• Saimin- Hawai’i’s quintessential noodle soup has become a staple in the islands .
• Loco Moco- Uniquely Hawaiian, we are not sure where it first started, but the story goes that it started on the Big Island. Wherever in Hawai’i it began, it has become a regular, and very popular, offering at any local plate lunch place. It is a hamburger steak topped with a fried egg, then topped with gravy, served with rice and mac salad. Good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
We could go on and on, but this gives you a good start to trying some of the many different types of Kaukau found in Hawai’i.
So let’s go eat!