Those of you who have been lucky enough to travel to exotic or far away locals, you are lucky. When I travel, I really enjoy digging and searching out what the locals eat and like. Take Hawaii. Most might think of teriyaki, pineapple or that ever popular side...poi. No thanks. But by paying close attention you will find those may be a typical part of meals, other lesser known items are very much a big part of the island's food stuffs.
"Plate Lunch" is a mainstay in the islands, consisting of a protein such as fish, pork or chicken, always a scoop of mac salad and always "two scoops rice". It's fun to find some hole in the wall place, off the tourist trap area. If you see cops, construction workers and/or area restaurant crew eating there, pull over. Although this place is not one of those, it's one we like, beachside, good food and cheap-"er" than most places. Another staple is "poke'", which means "small pieces"in Hawaiian which is raw fish mixed with other ingredients, typically ahi tuna with perhaps onions, seaweed, spices, soy sauce. The tuna could be substituted with raw salmon or cured "tako" (Hawaiian for octopus). Another popular food is Spam musubi, what looks like a form of a poor man's sushi, made with seaweed, rice, spices and grilled Spam in a sauce. Spam is huge in Hawaii, made popular after WWII when the GIs ate it and it became a local staple. Spam musubi is so popular in Hawaii, it is the only place where you will find it for sale...in McDonalds!
Today, we have a special rare treat as I was lucky enough to contact a world traveller who has spent much time on the Islands, and I asked her to come into the studio as a guest blogger. All the way from Pullman Town, Miss Kayla.
Me: "Welcome Kayla, thank you so much for stopping by"
Kayla: "Well thanks! Glad to be invited."
Me: "So I understand you are going to make something for us today"
Kayla: "Ya, this one's an adventure for the taste buds! We're going to be cookin' up Spam musubi."
..... Alright, well just to start us off let's not have any preconcieved notions about Spam. Think of it like a hotdog! Riiight?! Now you're coming around to it. You will need sticky rice, nori (seaweed), low fat and low sodium Spam, furikake, and teriyaki sauce mixed with sugar (to fry the Spam in). Furikake is an asian spice that is traditional to use on musubi's but can be replaced or added to. Basically you'll want to lay down a piece or nori and in the middle of it layer some rice, sprinkle that with furikake, slap on a piece of fried Spam, and then add more rice. Wrap the ends of the nori around it and you're good to go (the sicky rice will hold it snug)!
Me: "Fantastic...but how does it taste? I mean, Spam...and seaweed? Really? Sounds like a salty, fishy, gotta grow up with it taste. Us haoles gonna like it?"
Kayla: Well I too was nervous at first, but because you fry the Spam in the teriyaki and sugar mix that is a big factor to what the musubi is going to taste like. In terms of the seaweed, it is definitely a salty/ocean taste but is very subdued in this dish because of the Spam, while the rice adds nice texture to pull it all together. A motto I like to live by "don't knock it till you try it".
Me: Sweet. Totally awsome. My bruddas are gonne like da chow and get a chock of Span mushubi, poke' for da beach...latta.
I served this up with a plate lunch...for dinner. Some teriyaki kalbi ribs on the barbie which are beef ribs cut across the ribs, macaroni salad and of course, two scoops rice.
Music choice to cook by: Jake Shimabukuro. We saw him at a Jimmy Buffet concert in Maui one year, a fantastic ukulele player...ever heard Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" on a uke?