Favorite Holiday Food in Hawaii

Guest Post: Ruth Elayne Kongaika

Here in the Hawaiian Islands, the holidays are not complete without plenty of great food. In our home, we usually have the traditional American food, and since there are so many different cultures here, we also have a potpourri of other delectable food items. This is necessary to please all the guests, and to share with the neighbors. At Thanksgiving, besides the turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, you may find on the table some Hawaiian Pork Chops, Hawaiian sweet bread, and one of my favorites, mochi (yummy dessert made of rice flour). Christmas is more than ham, potato salad, fruit salad and pies, but also consists of laulau (taro leaves, corned beef, onions and coconut milk), raw fish, otai (watermelon, mango or apple drink which you scrape and add coconut milk and sugar) and pineapple bars, just to name a few of the possibilities.Loco Moco

In Hawaii, the word for delicious is “ono”. Sometimes we mix the two and say the food is onolicious! One particular tradition that seems to be carried over is the tradition of Christmas morning breakfast. A fast bowl of cereal will not do. This holiday feast consists of New Zealand sausages, bacon or ham, omelets, rice (gotta have rice), pancakes, waffles, or bread pudding. Real locals will go for Loco Moco which is a hamburger patty, two scoops of rice topped with gravy and covered with fried eggs. It could also have a macaroni salad on the side.

Here in the islands, we don’t eat until we are full, we eat until we are tired! So for some of us, breakfast may extend all the way until dinnertime. Never mind gout or diabetes during the holidays – that is what the New Year Resolutions are for! Just make sure your high blood pressure and other medications are on hand! Santa is more likely to find a whole suckling pig waiting for him than a little plate of cookies and milk.

Many Hawaiian families go all out and dig an imu (underground oven) where they may cook their turkey, ham, laulau, root crops like sweet potato or breadfruit and fish. Often they cook a whole pig in this traditional Hawaiian oven. The men do most of the heavy work, which is great for the women, who busy themselves with the desserts.

For those of you that like pork, but do not know how to make an imu, here is a great recipe for Hawaiian Pork Chops that is sure to please most palates:

Hawaiian Grilled Pork ChopsHAWAIIAN PORK CHOPS

Six lean boneless pork chops

One tablespoon prepared mustard

Two tablespoons white wine vinegar

One tablespoon hoisin sauce

One half teaspoon salt

One eighth teaspoon pepper

One 8 ounce can pineapple chunks in juice

Two tablespoons cornstarch

Two tablespoons water

One papaya, peeled, seed and sliced

Place chops in crockpot. In small bowl, combine mustard, vinegar, hoisin sauce, salt and pepper. Drain the juice from the pineapple chunks and add it to mustard mixture. Reserve the pineapple chunks. Pour the sauce over chops in the crock pot. Cover and cook on low for five to six hours or until the meat is tender. Remove chops and keep warm. Turn to high. Dissolve cornstarch in water in small bowl and stir the cornstarch mixture into the juices in the crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the pineapple chunks and papaya. It is best if the papaya is firm – not mushy. Serve the pork chops and add coconut and macadamia nuts if desired. Yum!

Depending on where your ancestors are from, in Hawaii you may eat kimchi, malasadas, adobo, curry, or dim sum. I have acquired a taste for most of them (except kimchi), but my kids love it. Merry Christmas to all, and make sure you get your fill of onolicious holiday treats.Santa at Waikiki

Ruth Elayne Kongaika was raised in the mainland, USA, but has been living in the South Pacific for the past forty years. She enjoys trying to capture the beauty of the Polynesian islands through her photography, painting and writing. She has a blog which shares some of her art and favorite subjects at:


email: kongaikr@byuh.edu


Speak Your Mind


Plugin from the creators of iPhone :: More at Plulz Wordpress Plugins