Hawaiian Food (as Amy asked)

So Amy asked me to post updates about the food research paper I'm doing in Hawaii, and I'll do it here.

I haven't actually left yet (I fly out Saturday) but I'm trying to get ideas and things for the paper. Since I'm writing for classes on ethnic studies and immigration, I'm gearing it around questions (I have to justify my work, right?)

-How has each wave of migrants contributed to contemporary Hawaiian cuisine?
-How much of contemporary Hawaiian cuisine can be traced back to pre-settlement Polynesian mores?
-Is Hawaiian food any healthier than mainland cuisine? Why?

...if you guys know anything about Hawaiian food, or know where to look, post! Kthxbai.

Forums: 
Kittae's picture

Postulant

What's up with spam sushi?

MeiLin's picture

Most High

Don't knock the spam sushi unless you've tried it. For some reason there have always been a lot of Hawaiians in Oregon (we even have a city named Aloha, though locally we pronounce it "Alowa"), and so you get Hawaiian food around here a little. Spam sushi is goood. But then, I like spam. :nerd:

ETA: Hawaii's spam fixation dates to WW2, I believe. I'm sure Sook can be more ethnographical-like.

Kittae's picture

Postulant

Maybe it would be tasty if it were fried spam. 'Cause fried spam is some kinda redneck deliciousness right there. But the show I saw the sushi in (Anthony Bourdain, maybe?), they didn't cook it! I don't wanna describe spam this way, but it seems like it'd be too sweet to go with rice.

I dunno. Maybe I'll go buy some spam when we stock up on sushi rice. = P

Amy's picture

Supplicant

Kittae wrote:
What's up with spam sushi?

Sushi is usually cooked rice with raw foods added for flavor & nutrition. Hawaiians love pork, Raw pork = BAD, Pre-seasoned pre-cooked pork shoulder bits (aka spam) = Good.

Prefer Octopus sashimi myself, but hey, I at least get it. Japanese fast food + Hawaiian cultural tastes = Spam Sushi.

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

An episode of Top Chef that took place in Hawaii, and there was some information in it about the food and history of it.

Checking google... it says the Season 2 Finale (2 episodes) were in Hawaii.

Amy's picture

Supplicant

Excellent questions, that I'm betting will have lots of surprising answers. I can't wait to see what you discover. Don't forget to get recipes too.

V's picture

Embodiment

Consider looking past just the restaurants. If they're anything like my area, there's a danger of finding tourist traps that sell what people *expect*, like most every "Chinese food" joint in the US. They don't have to sell authentic Chinese cuisine--they just have to sell what the average American expects to find.

Hole-in-the-wall or local spots are a start, but my suggestion would be to try and tap the blue collar industry--either the lunch trucks ("roach coaches") that serve large businesses like Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, or better yet, what the locals actually pack and bring themselves. See if you can find a construction site where a good chunk of the workforce seems to be natives. Ask to speak to the foreman, *briefly* explain your project and ask if you could chat with the workers during their lunch or break. You might get a couple good interviews, suggestions, or even leads on the more authentic local restaurants. If you do try the job site thing, tho--be concise (they'll probably be busy) and make every effort to not be in the way.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

You want I should ask advice?

Sook's picture

Yes! Mahalo, sis.

Sook's picture

contact info, if your friend is a restauranteur? I'm harmless, promise Smile

MeiLin's picture

Most High

I've asked her for advice, and I'll PM you with it.

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

Will have some more info comming at ya, but where in the state will you be?

Sook's picture

City and County of Honolulu mostly, though I'm sure we'll do our best to go up and down the rest of Oahu as well. The University is in the neighborhood of Manoa, so if you can find stuff near there, that'd be ideal WOOOO!

Amy's picture

Supplicant

want to check out cooking schools. It's a long shot that they might be able to help you, I admit, but hey you never know.

Amy's picture

Supplicant

You might want to try and learn about the way the changes in diet have affected the over all health of the natives & each wave of immigrants. I know that many Native peoples on reservations often suffer from things like diabetes, high blood pressure, and other things that had been virtually unknown prior to European foods being introduced to them and replacing traditional foods.

Amy's picture

Supplicant

http://www.hawaiifoodtours.com/hawaiianfood.html

Has a great article on traditional Hawaiian foods & how healthy they are & why.

( I likes google more than wiki for research)

Yeti's picture

Devotee

Most of what I know about Hawaiian food is a few decades old and sort of small in scope. I think historically the cuisine is similar to Polynesian settlements in that the climates are fairly similar, so tropical fruits and fish are prevalent in both [in fact, I think Hawaiians consume more fish per capita than any other state population, but I don't have a good reference for that]. Hawaii also has starchy native staples like taro and breadfruit. I believe pigs were brought to Hawaii very early on, but mostly limited to the royalty until that aspect of the culture subsided. I know that at various points Portuguese and Scandinavian (sailors), Chinese and Japanese (originally as workers, so more permanent) made cultural influences, but how obvious the influences remain today I don't know. The Spam holdovers from WWII have already been mentioned. I would expect that like any modern community there is a fair amount of blending of both the traditional local cultures and world influences.

I hope you have a great time while you are there!

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