Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hawaii: Malasada Mondays and Other Tropical Tales

For the last month our weeks have started on a sweet note: Malasada Mondays ~ a lyrical combination that has brought smiles to our faces and – big sigh – added a few pounds to our weight.

Malasadas, a favorite treat in Hawaii, were introduced here in the late 1800’s by Portuguese laborers from Madeira and the Azores who came to work in the plantations.

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Malasadas
Think donut holes – great BIG donut holes. Some served with a sugar coating and others sliced open and filled with melt-in-your-mouth custard.

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The temptations were great
DSCF1618 We’ve been lucky this year as our Hawaiian home at KoOlina has begun hosting one of the many Farmer’s Markets that take place throughout this island chain.

Although teeny in comparison to most, our market brings one Honolulu baker who serves up loaves of Hawaiian sweet bread and rolls filled with tropical flavors like coconut and pineapple. (He doesn’t have a retail outlet, but similar treats can be found at Leonard’s in Honolulu)

One of our favorite things about this one-time-kingdom-now-state in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is the diversity of people here and the customs and foods they’ve brought to this tropical paradise.

They came in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s as laborers to work in pineapple, taro, and sugar cane fields and related industries, from islands in the South Pacific, China, Korea, Japan, and Europe. Thanks to them bringing their foods and flavors from home, today’s Hawaii offers food lovers a feast of diverse culinary cuisine.

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Hot and spicy - Korean vegetables

An editor of mine, many years ago asked, “Can you get American food there?” (Yes, he was serious. And yes, you can. Col. Sanders is serving up buckets of fried chicken while Quarter Pounders are being grilled under the Golden arches and Big Box pizza joints are making home deliveries.) But why would anyone come here to eat that food when there’s so many other 'Ono grinds' (good food)  just waiting to be sampled?

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Waipahu Saturday morning farmer's market - O-'ahu
SPAM, I am

Some foods though just call out ‘Hawaiian’ in our minds. For instance, SPAM. That canned meat product is so popular here they have an annual SPAM Jam Festival!

IMG_20150124_105645_777 More SPAM®, according to one of the conference sponsors, is consumed per person in Hawaii than any other state in the United States, which makes it somewhat appropriate for their signature food festival, which in 2015 takes place May 2.

SPAM® stands for ‘spiced ham’; a product introduced in 1937 by the mainland  Hormel Foods Corporation.  The food cube inside the can is a mix of ham and pork shoulder and now comes in low-salt, spicy and original (simply salty) versions. It is believed to have been introduced by the service men stationed here during WWII.

Its popularity continues to grow. There seem to be new variations available each year! Costco, the big box U.S. chain store, sells it here by the case.

Two key statistics in the SPAM Jam news release caught my eye:
* nearly seven million cans of SPAM® are eaten every year in Hawaii.)

* in the decade since it began, the Waikiki SPAM® JAM, has become one of the most popular festivals in Hawaii. More than 20,000 attend the annual event.


Shave Ice

My Hawaiian friends are offended if I compare a Hawaiian ‘shave ice’ to what we mainlanders call a ‘snow cone’. The premise is the same for both, shaved ice that is flavored with syrups of various flavors.  Apparently – it is the way the ice is shaved that can make this treat a true Hawaiian melt-in-your-mouth (pun intended!) version or a lumpy mainland version.  And a trip to the island of O’ahu isn’t complete without going to the North Shore for a stop at Matsumoto’s for shave ice.  Lines often wind into the street from the shave ice counter in this 1950’s wood-frame grocery store that now sells only shave ice, tee-shirts and souvenirs.

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Matsumoto Shave Ice - an island favorite
Food Trucks:

And one can’t make a trip to the North Shore and not be tempted by the eateries that line the two-lane road through Haleiwa (a once-laid-back-surfer-town now teeming with tourists) While these photos were taken in Haleiwa, you’ll find food trucks tucked away in the most unexpected places around the island:

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North Shore O'ahu Food Trucks
When you travel do you stick to foods that you ‘know’ or do you ‘go local’? Tell us in the comments below or shoot us an email.  Thanks for the time you spent with us today ~ hope to see you again soon!  "Malamapono a hue hou" ~ Take care until we meet again!

Linking up this week:
Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Traveler’s Sandbox 
Travel Inspiration – Reflections En Route 
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening
Travel Photo Monday - Travel Photo Discovery

47 comments:

  1. Oh my, those malasadas look delicious!! I would definitely go for the pineapple filling - exotic and refreshing! I cannot understand why people choose to eat American fast food while on vacation, when there is so much to explore in the culinary world of their holiday destination. Their fast food isn't going anywhere; it will be there when they return, but their time in their vacation venue is limited, and so is their chance to taste its wonderful flavours!

    Thanks for sharing yours with us!

    xx
    Poppy

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    1. We are counting the days until we are back in Moussaka-Land! But for now those malasadas are keeping us quite content. Thanks much for your visit today, Poppy! Happy Wednesday to you. xx Jackie

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  2. Thanks a lot Jackie, I've drooled on my blouse! Just kidding...yum!

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    1. Good one Corinne and thanks for stopping by today!

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  3. Oh gosh, those gigantic donut holes look AMAZING!!! :-)

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    1. And it is amazing how much one can gain from eating them! ;-) Thanks for stopping by Krista!

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  4. Ha, I grew up with SPAM and still like it to this day! Though today I have to make a recipe that will offset the saltiness as I keep salt down in my foods. But, I don't skimp to affect the overall seasoning of the food. That said I've never had any of the variations of SPAM and I'm most definitely curious! Of course I could park at and scarf at a food truck all day long, Jackie! So that's it...bring me to Hawaii to warm up...then I can go with you and Joel to Greece! Ok...I will start packing... :)

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    1. Mike you would be numbed by the variations of SPAM available in Hawaii - and far too many food trucks from which to choose. . .I do think you need to come to Hawaii!! (then we'll focus on Greece!!) ;-)

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  5. I don't know how anyone can eat SPAM! But then I can't understand why one would travel overseas and not want to eat the food of the destination country either. It's one of the great things about travelling to eat the local food. Particularly from food halls and local vendors. But you can keep your SPAM and hotdogs if I ever come to the States. LOL
    Happy travels and thank you for stopping by my blog this week.

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    1. If you get to the States Jill I promise no SPAM or hotdogs. We do have way too many tastes for you to try to limit you to these! Thanks for the visit.

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  6. Are you a mind reader? I woke up yesterday morning with a craving for malasadas. It's weird because I haven't thought of them for a very long time, but I woke up wanting one (or two or three). All your delicious looking photos are helping. I think I'll need to book myself a trip to the Islands. I've been wanting to try Matsumoto's ever since I saw their Azuki Special on a PBS documentary about regional ice cream across the USA. And I'll try food trucks any day! (Hawaii looks much warmer than Greece.)

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    1. Hopefully I didn't cause you to wake up wanting malasadas! It will be an empty Monday for us this week now that we are back on the mainland and repenting for those 'sweet' starts to the week. Thanks much for stopping by Michele~

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  7. Hawaii isn't in my radar, but you had me at Malasada! ^0^
    the creamy filled Douhgnut like is making my sweet tooth ache! ^-^
    I love this series and hope you'll share more about it.

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    1. Hawaii isn't just any ol' state in the union that's for sure. It's culture and history -- and food -- is just plain fabulous! Thanks for the visit - hope you'll be a regular here~

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  8. Love the article, makes me home sick! Have some for me, Jackie & Joel! Peter

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    1. I could have pulled your homesick heart strings even more Peter had I written about the L and L Saimen burger or the poke treats we ate along the way. ;-)

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  9. Hi Jackie, what a yummy post. Those malasada looks inviting. I laughed when you said "why would anyone come here to eat that food when there’s so many other 'Ono grinds'..." I so agree with your sentiment. I find it funny when people asked if there were American foods in the foreign places we travel. Even if there is, we definitely won't touch it. We like to indulge with local cuisines when we travel. We like immersing into local culture and one big way to do that is through food. We like asking locals for restaurant recommendations, and that always turn out to be a great interaction.

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    1. We are so with you on the local foods, Marisol ~ I can't imagine going somewhere and eating the same stuff I can get back home. Of course we are back home and I just got off the scales. . .I will be back to veggies and water for awhile! Thanks for the visit~

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  10. those malasada looks delicious.It is interesting to read and know about some different food which I haven't taste before.
    Amila@leisureandme.com

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    1. Amila, how nice of you to take time to visit and comment! Hope you'll be a regular here!

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  11. We try to sample the local fare and have found some new favorites during our travels but I have no doubt the malasada would be at the top of my favorites list! How fun to read about Spams popularity in Hawaii and remember it from my own childhood as a tasty food. But, with all the other fabulous food and dishes on the island the spam would be easy to avoid!

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    1. It is funny that we avoid -- without problem - SPAM all year long but when we get to Hawaii, I always buy a can to try. This year I tried the Teriyaki flavored one which really didn't taste bad but the flavoring turned it the color of dog food. . .next year, chorizo flavored for sure! Thanks for the visit!

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  12. Wow, now I want some of those donuts. Both kinds please, YUM! I like to try out the different food trucks, they always seem to have some kind of yummy local food.. Great post, thanks for sharing.. Have a happy day and week ahead!

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    1. Hi Eileen - I know you would LOVE the malasadas! Have a great week ahead as well and see you soon 'here and there' ~ Jackie

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  13. Oh my what an interesting blog you have. Great post! I always like to try local because that's the reason for traveling---LOL!
    Thanks for visiting my blog. Lovely weather in the PNW right now.
    MB

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    1. And what fun to discover your blog. Always fun to find other blogosphere folks close enough for a real life visit one day! Loved your scenes of spring! Jackie

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  14. Wow....the mango variety looks amazing......I'm glad I'm nowhere near them!

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    1. We tried the mango and the coconut and both were fabulous!! Thanks for stopping by!

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  15. Wow....the mango variety looks amazing......I'm glad I'm nowhere near them!

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  16. I'm sorry I can't taste all those lovely marvels...I don't think I could eat just one!! Wishing you well!

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    1. They were so large we split them but yes, the gluttony side of me wanted it all to myself and of course, I wanted every flavor! Thanks for the visit, Cathy! Hope you'll come back again!

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  17. This is a treat. I would love to have them.

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    1. Thanks for visiting Rajesh - I must get over to your blog before the week is out! (You'd love the malasadas!)

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  18. Koreans love spam. The flavors that are available are unbelievable. A spam gift set is a favorite Chusok and New Years gift. I've re-gifted more than my fair share over the years. Some needs to learn to spell kimchi...haha. You know me, I eat a lot of local when I travel. I always love a good food truck. Thanks for linking up this week. #TPThursday

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    1. As I wrote above, I tried the teriyaki flavored SPAM this year and while it tasted fine, it looked the color of dog food. I'll try a different flavor next year! Thanks for the visit and thanks for hosting #TPThursday.

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  19. Wow my husband would love to sink his teeth into these. I think he should start his own blog about his sweet eats around the world. I know that some south sea islands have taken spam into their own cuisine in a big way. I myself don't see the attraction.

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    1. Oh Jan if he likes sweets, he wouldn't stop at the malasadas. . .he would have bought the coconut banana bread pudding with cherry compote on top or the pineapple custard cinnamon rolls. . .just to name a few!

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  20. Oh such yummy looking treats. I love to try the local food when I travel, but I would be saying "no thanks" to the Spam....

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    1. SPAM isn't so bad. . .when it is fried at least. . .but I am with you, I'd take a malasada anyday!

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  21. Lovely to read your post and see this, also, that: "today’s Hawaii offers food lovers a feast of diverse culinary cuisine." Hope that one day to find such delights in my city, too!! ( you know I tried to do myself some kimchi ...some time ago!!!)
    Glad, also, that you liked my post about the march tradition of "Mărțișor" and I hope you feel wonderful in Greece where I saw how wonderful you've decorated the home (in a previous post) and that you have an amazing "secret" garden, as well!!
    So: Have a Happy March and a Warm Spring time!

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    1. Oh hello Alexa and thanks again for that wonderful post about the First of March - I hope you had a wonderful day and have a great month ahead as well!

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  22. Yum, don't the malasadas just look like calories beckoning? That's funny about Spam being so popular, it was eaten when we were younger but now with reading labels I don't think it will be on my plate again! Actually I find it kind of sad that commercialization has been introduced with fast food places in Hawaii too.
    Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday Jackie.

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    1. Oh we ate so many many of them and now are back to veggies and fruit and our 'normal' healthier diet. . .not half as much fun to greet a Monday morning with yogurt and a banana! Thanks for hosting us all Judith!

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  23. From Marcia Mayne at Inside Journeys comes the following comment that somehow disappeared from here yesterday:
    "The name - malasada - alone would make me want to try at least one. I'm a pounds magnet these day so I'd have to stop at one.




    I agree with you on McDonald's. In fact, I had a conversation with an acquaintance recently. He travels widely so I was surprised when he said he eats McDonald's when he travels. What's the point, I asked him, of eating the same thing you can eat at home? When I travel, I want different experiences and that includes indulging in new and different foods." (Thanks for letting me know, Marcia!)

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So happy to see you took the time to comment. We read them all - and each is much appreciated. We hope you will be a regular here and comment often!

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