For those folks who wonder why it took me awhile to mention food this week, it’s not because I didn’t enjoy it. I ate some interesting things, but few that were quite weird enough to inspire a picture.
The Sunday night celebration put on by Hawaii Baptists featured kalua pig (basically, chopped whole hog barbecue with a salty flavor) and lots of home-cooking dishes. I sampled several, and took special delight in the salads and the wide variety of noodles.
For breakfast, I avoided the hotel’s $17 buffet and walked up to a local 7-11 store, where I tried manapua and what locals call pork hash (Chinese pork dumplings) most days, though once I opted for a bento box containing scrambled eggs over rice with tocino (a sweet flavored cured pork) and longasino sausage (I don’t know what was in it, but it was pretty good). Manapua (above) is a Chinese favorite, a steamed or baked white bun with meat filling. I had teriaki chicken and char siu (chopped pork in a flavorful red sauce), both in steamed buns.
My favorite place was a hole-in-the-wall local spot called “L&L Hawaiian Barbecue” in Waimanaloa. There are several around the islands. I ate some outstanding teriyaki chicken, mahi mahi, and shrimp. There, as at most other places, food comes with rice and a scoop of macaroni salad, heavy on the mayonnaise but delicious.
When I wasn’t involved in some sort of banquet related to the Baptist World Alliance (where the food was fine, but not unusual), I enjoyed the “Poi Bowl” at a nearby food court. I wasn’t carried away with their beef curry, but the kalua cabbage was outstanding. A simple dish, kalua cabbage is just boiled cabbage with kalua pork mixed in. Greasy, flavorful, and satisfying.
I’d had none of Hawaii’s famous pineapple until the final day, when I solved that problem by making a brief stop at the Dole Plantation for some pineapple whip ice cream, along with a bowl of fresh cut pineapple. From there I drove up to the North Shore, where I imbibed a feast for the eyes in the tropical beach scenes and bought freshly harvested and cooked shrimp from the back of a truck, which seems to be the thing to do in Kahuku.
A food odyssey ends, a diet begins.