This is why I would quickly weigh 350 pounds if I lived in Hawaii. While it’s a relief to escape the chilly weather, and there are countless activities we love (more on this later), food in Hawaii is something of an obsession for me. That’s the Saimin Special at Hamura’s in Lihue above, an army-helmet sized bowl of deeply flavored broth, noodles, roast pork, wontons, fish cake, bok choi and various other delicacies. On the counter, they have homemade chili-pepper-infused vinegar to season the soup, as if it needed more flavor. But when in Rome…
I’m also constantly “foraging” for the best Spam musubi, with the ones at Fish Express in Lihue usually taking top honors. But this time, because of the book event, we had a few days on Oahu, which meant several visits to the food court at Shirokiya. There, I found the best Spam musubi so far: Warm rice, seared spam, thin layer of egg, takuan (pickled daikon radish) and still-crisp nori wrapper, topped off with a light dusting of tart-savory shiso (beefsteak plant) furikake. Oh, man.
Also at Shirokiya (we went twice), I found fresh made takoyaki, which is a chewy, grilled dumpling with octopus inside. They drop half a dozen dumplings hot off the grill into a tray and cover it with teriyaki sauce, wasabi-mayo, toasted sesame seeds and a huge pillow of aromatic shaved, smoked bonito (the stuff that looks like cedar shavings) fluffed across the top. Max umami.
I could go on and on about the smoked pork ramen with broth made with the pan drippings, or the coconut-chocolate-coffee-macadamia nut ice cream at Lapperts, or the fried rice and egg breakfasts, but I think I will wrap this up with one of my all-time favorites: Chili-pepper fried chicken at the Village Bakery in Hanalei. This is light, crisp fried-chicken thighs which you then cover with sweet/hot ginger, chili soy sauce. I look forward to it year ’round, and it does not disappoint. Just posting these shots makes me hungry all over again, but I think I better go eat some vegetables…and think about jogging.