One of the pleasures of visiting Hawai’i for me is tasting the foods that are difficult to impossible to get here on the mainland, and I do not mean just the typical Hawaiian dishes such as kalua pork or poi. I am not the biggest fan of poi, the mush of boiled taro stems; I imagine if I would taste wallpaper glue (not that I ever have tasted it or have the desire to do so), it would taste like poi. But to get the Hawaiian culinary experience, I usually eat poi at least once on my trip.
What I really look forward to are the snacks that are not usually listed under Hawaiian cuisine. These include the wide variety of fish jerky. While on the mainland jerky seems to be limited to beef and turkey and possibly deer, fish jerky seems to rule supreme based on the many varieties offered in all supermarkets.
Coconut seems to be another favorite – whether fresh or dried.
Of course, there are always Spam and macadamia nuts, so the next “logical” step is of course to combine the two for Spam-flavored macadamia nuts.
A common Hawai’i favorite for tourists and locals is shave ice (no, Hawai’ians do not call it shaved ice). I learned from Wikipedia that the main difference to a snow cone is that the ice is shaved and not crushed for shave ice. In contrast to a snow cone, shave ice is fluffy and seems to retain the flavor syrup better than a snow cone. The shave ice creates a light snow-like substance that rivals the consistency of fresh powder that skiers seek.
The ultimate experience and new find on the recent trip was the Sugarloaf Pineapple Phrosty at the Kaua’i farmer’s market at the Kaua’i Community College. A frozen piece of the white sugarloaf pineapple is run through a juicer to create a frosty without any additional sugar or dairy. The result is divine and should seriously be listed as one of the reasons to consider moving to Kaua’i. I wonder whether Kaua’i Community College is accepting transfers…
I was so distracted by the amazing taste that I never took a photo of the pineapple phrosty. Look for the stand at the Kaua’i farmer’s market or check them out online: http://www.kauaisugarloaf.com. Here is a photo from their website: