Beyond Spam: The Basics of Hawaiian Cuisine
Photo By: Leigh Anne Meeks ©2015 all rights reserved
Photo By: Thanks for taking your time to look. Sher Yip
Photo By: Matt Boone ©2008 Matt Boone
This is a Japanese-Chinese soup of thick wheat noodles in broth (dashi or chicken), sprinkled with scallions and loaded with toppings such as char siu pork, Spam, shredded omelet, fishcakes or Portuguese linguica sausage. Dedicated saimen shops, though fewer now, were once one of the most-visible emblems of Hawaiian food culture.
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This unreasonably delicious union of the Japanese rice ball (musubi) and America's favorite canned luncheon meat (Spam) is a popular fast snack throughout the islands. It's made by frying a slice of Spam in soy sauce, then sandwiching it between blocks of pressed sushi rice seasoned with furikakke (a funky, umami-powered Japanese sesame seasoning). The entire construction is wrapped in a sheet (or band) of nori seaweed.
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Holeless yeasted doughnuts brought to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants, malasadas are made from a brioche-like dough, and they are both eggier and richer (from milk and cream) than your average doughnut. Though a simple dusting of sugar, cinnamon sugar or li hing (a sweet-tart pickled-plum powder) is traditional, many shops serve malasadas filled like jelly doughnuts; haupia (coconut pudding) is a local favorite.
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Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
Another Portuguese contribution, Hawaiian sweet rolls are fluffy and squishy like a potato roll, with an alluring sweetness and a hint of citrus flavor. As slider buns, these are tough to beat. They're already widely available under the King's Hawaiian brand.
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