When I visited Oahu last month, I couldn’t help but notice that traditional Hawaiian cuisine had an influence on Asian and American culture, which sets it apart from the foods most commonly associated with the mainland. Here are some of my favorite fusion dishes that combine the best of both worlds!
While I have had various types of poke in Southern California before, the local and authentic one from Hawaii is the best. Thanks to the islands’ relative location to the ocean, seafood is an important part of Hawaiian cuisine. This gave the dish its benefits as the seafood had a fresh taste and sweetness. Combined with the citrus vinaigrette, salty limu (Hawaiian seaweed), spicy and sour raw onions, white rice and crunchy edamame, the Hawaiian poke was an explosion of flavors and textures.
Although simple, Loco moco is one of the most famous Hawaiian comfort foods, and the reason is not surprising. Hot rice (a staple in Asian cuisine) is first topped with a beef patty (common in Western cuisine) before being topped with a creamy brown sauce made from beef broth, soy sauce and various other Asian flavors. Finally, a fried egg cooked to your liking is added. This dish is extremely tasty (especially when the runny yolk is mixed with the sauce) and is suitable for any time of the day.
A variation on Japanese ramen, saimin is another must-try Hawaiian comfort food! In the bowl, thin egg noodles (“sai” in Chinese) (“min” in Chinese) are garnished with sliced scrambled eggs, char siu (Chinese braised meat), kamaboko (fish cake), spinach and green onions before serving with a ladle. with a hot and flavorful broth made from ingredients such as kombu (a type of seaweed), bonito flakes, dried shrimp and shiitake mushrooms.
A popular dessert, Hawaiian shaved ice is ideal in any season because the weather never drops below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Although many cultures serve crushed ice (Japanese kakigori, halo-halo, Korea’s pat bing soo), the Hawaiian version of the cold dessert is unique due to the fine texture of the ice cream base. Instead of being crushed, the ice is finely grated, resulting in a powdery, snowy consistency that allows the syrup to be absorbed more easily. Popular flavors of sweet frozen dessert include ume (apricot), li hing mui (plum powder), and lilikoi (passion fruit)!
If you ever have the chance to visit Hawaii, be sure to try these dishes, which are reminiscent of both Asian and American flavors!
Contact Erica Jean at [email protected].