scrolled through the 'Where to Dine' category, you may have wondered what exactly
constitutes 'local food'. Or maybe you thought we were referring to poi, coconuts, and
pineapples; something you might get at a luau. Local food seems to be little bit of the
best fast food from many Pacific Rim countries with a special Hawaiian twist. The best way
to describe local food is to give you a sampling from the menu of a local restaurant.. A
favorite dish is Shoyu Chicken, which is chicken that has been marinated in a Shoyu (soy)
sauce with ginger, garlic, and honey or sugar. The chicken is then grilled or barbecued
for an ono (delicious) lunch. But it's still not local food until you add 2 scoops of
white rice and some macaroni salad. Another favorite is Chicken Katsu, breaded deep fried
chicken served with a Katsu sauce. Each time I try Chicken Katsu at a different place the
sauce changes. Some probable ingredients include, shoyu, plum sauce, ketchup, and who
knows what else. Remember to include the rice and macaroni salad.
Another menu choice that seems to be strictly local is the "Loco Moco". A loco moco includes a beef patty on a bed of rice with an egg covered in a brown gravy. It comes piled high with enough food for four tourists or a very big, very hungry local.
delight is Kalbi ribs. Kalbi ribs are crosscut ribs that are marinated in a local, very
secret sauce. The meat is hidden among the bone and must be coaxed out before it is eaten.
You really need to try these when you're in Maui.
Then we come to one of the strangest local items, Spam musubi. Spam musubi is a sushi roll filled with Spam. If you hadn't heard, Hawaiians are the number one consumers of Spam in the world.
An item that can be found in any local food spot, as well as Hawaiian McDonalds, Jack-in-the-box, and other fast food chains is Saimin. Saimin is soup made with noodles, fish broth, char sui, green onions, fish cakes, and other assorted condiments.
And finally, another local favorite, which you won't find at a plate lunch joint, but will find in most restaurants and at Safeway and Foodland, is Poke. Ahi Poke is fresh raw Ahi (tuna) marinated in a sesame, soy, and green onion. Also try Tako Poke which is made with octopus instead of ahi. Try them both they're wonderful.
If you're on the islands you should definitely make it a point to have local plate lunch or dinner.