Tag Archives: Hawaiian Food

Oven Roasted Pork Packages

A few days ago we talked about Kalua-style oven roasted pork. I made up 7 pounds of pork butt or shoulder; the house smelled just glorious! I figure, ya’ know, if you’re going to heat up that hot box in the Summer ya’ might as well make it worth the effort.

The brand of prepared Kalua Pig that I WAS  buying (our Asian Market USE TO  bring it in from Hawaii) is sold in a 12 ounce plastic tub, about the same as a quart sized deli-container. Seeing as I am frugal shall we say, I have a large selection of variously sized disposable bowls. I weighed out each portion to the 12 ounces that we are accustom to and froze the bundles of goodness overnight in the deep freeze that’s out in the garage. In the morning, I pulled down my vacuum-sealer and went to work.

Kalua Pig Packages

I wound up getting 6 equal portions for later consumption, minus of course the mandatory tasting of the finished product by the grand poobah (aka DH) and well to be truthful, I had a few bits too. The cook needs to make sure that the food that comes out of their kitchen is edible, right? Or as my mother use to say, “I want to make sure I’m going to poison anyone”.



It’s A Luau!

The Mother of all invention is need!

Having moved away from Hawaii to the Desert South West, Hawaiian Food is not plentiful.  When we first started coming here many years ago, there wasn’t much of anything, period.  Then we moved here permanently.  We found a couple of restaurants that served, kinda-sorta’ Hawaii style food, but, MEH…  Next, we found a market that carried some of the ingredients to make the dishes from back home.

A little less than two years ago, an Asian Super Market from the Phoenix area opened in Tucson.  That may not sound fantastic, but they carry many items that I had been looking for.  I keep a list of different staples that we get each time that I make the trek in to Tucson.

Not long ago, my dear husband and I happened to be in the neighborhood and decided to stop in to get a few of our staple Hawaii grocery items. But, alas, they had very few.  So, I set out on my culinary quest to make on my own.

The featured dish at any style Luau is the Kalua (kă-loo-ă) Pig.

In Kaneohe, where I’m from, our neighbor two doors down had an Imu (e-moo) or underground pit oven, permanently dug into their back yard, no really! Drove us all wild! The smells coming from their house about four to five times a year were phenomenal. The family was nice enough to let a few of us Kalua our Thanksgiving and Christmas Turkeys and Hams. Oh my gosh, my drooling right now.

I should probably describe Kalua Pig or what some folks here on the “mainland” call Kalua Pork.  Think of an uber moist, tender, juicy, smoky pulled Pork. YUM!  I had tried the oven-method once before when we still lived in Kaneohe and could easily find all of the ingredients. Here in the Desert South West, it’s been a struggle. So maybe, I should give you a basic recipe at this point so you have a point of reference.

Pork Butt

Sea Salt

Liquid Smoke

Ti Leaves (the all green ones only), enough to wrap the meat up like a burrito *

For each pound of Pork use: ½ Tablespoon of salt; ¾ Tablespoon Liquid smoke

Pre-heat the oven to 500⁰

Rub the Liquid Smoke all over the meat and then sprinkle evenly with the Salt.

Wrap the meat in your leaves and then in heavy duty foil

Place in a baking pan/dish; into the oven for 30 minutes, reduce the heat to 325⁰

Bake for an additional 3 ½ hours

Allow to cool, unwrap and discard the foil and leaves (save any juices)

Shred the meat how you like, either by hand or using two forks

*You can substitute with Banana, Taro, or Spinach leaves, but it’ll taste a bit different

I found Banana leaves here in the Desert.


Hawaiian Food In The Middle Of The Desert?

Yesterday was ALOHA FRIDAY! That means we gotta have some kind of ‘local’ or Hawaiian food if you will. I don’t remember if I mentioned that I met this man in our small neighborhood that is from Honolulu, but anywhos… He and his wife invited us to lunch.

Lani’s Luau In Tucson Arizona

When my husband and I first moved to Arizona, we had heard of this joint and had gone to visit once before, but it’s a long drive from our house and we just never made it back there.

Our new friends came and picked us up and Mister New Friend drove, over an hour, in to town way over on the East side of Tucson.

Uber-cute place, nothing fancy, but that’s exactly the type of places we like, just honest, solid, really food. Of course having Hawaiian food sure does help in my book! I had a heck of a time deciding on my lunch order, everyone else, no problem. I tend to do that and my husband explained to our new friends about my passion for food and the blogging thing. I wanted to wander around, take pictures and talk with Lani herself. Leilani and Zane Dowling are the owners and operators of Lani’s Luau and they do a great job! Zane wasn’t there yesterday, but we met him on our last visit. Funny, Lani remembered all of us having come in before.

Mister New Friend and I both ordered the #9 plate, Kalua Pork, Pork Laulau, Chicken Long Rice, Lomi Salmon and poke. I requested any extra of 1 scoop rice, a small poi and potato-mac salad, Mister New Friend had the green salad and medium poi.

I spied in the cold-case up front, Aloha-maid canned drinks, oh baby! Gotta have me one POG! (Passion-orange-guava drink) WHAT!? No MORE? SHOT! Well, the Iced Tea is pretty ONO (delicious) too.

Lani's Luau in Tucson AZ

Funny enough, Missus new Friend and my husband both ordered the Teriyaki Chicken, well DH added the Mahimahi to his chicken plate.

Lani's Luau in Tucson AZ

We all stayed and chatted and had a very nice Aloha Friday eating very delicious Hawaiian food, watching a video of a hula completion back home in Hawaii and wishing we were there. Mahalo Lani and A HUI HOU… until we met again.



Fried Saimin, My Kind Of Beach Food

I could eat Fried Saimin any time of day or night, it’s so ONO (delicious). WHOA! Did you hear that? That was my stomach, that’s how much I like this dish. I never thought to make it myself; back home in Hawaii you can get it even at the gas station. I know, I know the jokes about gas station food, but in Hawaii there’s a company that only makes grab-n-go foods for gas stations, and they are very good.

On our last trip home, every day we went to the beach, duh! And on the way I made DH stop to get something to take with us on our long days of baking in the sun; it was a tough job, but someone had to do it. A favorite place for me is Zippy’s, a family restaurant with take outs and at most locations a full service restaurant and bakery. I counted no less than 4 times I got Fried Saimin or noodles. When we got home I did several searches on the Internet and morphed a recipe I like, maybe you will too.

Zippy’s Fried Saimin @ the BEACH!!

Zippy’s Fried Saimin @ the BEACH!!

Fried Saimin or Noodles

1 pkg. fresh Yaki Soba noodles (I get JFC Intl. brand, no sauce included)

1 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil

¼ C. Water

Prepare the noodles first, by heating the oil in a large non-stick pan over medium; add all 3 individual servings of noodles in along with the water. Wait a few minutes and loosen the noodles with tongs, tossing gently, until they are just warmed. Place in a large bowl and set aside.

Now let’s build:

½ – 1 C. matchstick Carrots (I buy the bagged stuff)

¼ of small Cabbage, shredded

½ of a pkg. Bean Sprouts (mung bean is best)

6-8 stalks Green Onion, chopped reserving some for garnish

1 6oz. pkg Kamaboko, sliced into large matchsticks (see photo below)

Approx. ½ lb. Char Siu or Chinese BBQ Pork, sliced (also see photo below)

Toss all of the above ingredients with the warm noodles.

You need a sauce:

½ C. Water

3 Tbsp. Soy Sauce (I go with Aloha brand Shoyu)

2 Tbsp. Oyster Sauce

1 tsp. Sesame Oil

<edit, I totally forgot>  1 tsp. – 1 Tbsp. Dashi, to taste

Combine your sauce and pour and toss with your noodles. Set aside to allow the sauce to be absorbed into your noodles mixture.  <edit – So sorry, I forgot about the dashi or the dried soup mix that usually comes with a package of Asian-style noodles.  If not, you can always look for that separately, it’s a great seasoning for other things too.>

Garnish with a handful of chopped Green Onion and more Char Siu. Serve warm or at room temperature.  Leftovers are excellent for breakfast.

Kamaboko or Steamed Fish Cake

**Tasty Additions-crispy fried SPAM!!!  Glorious SPAM!!

The Best Place To Eat On Oahu

Each of Hawaii’s main islands has their own unique preferences in food. For instance, on Kauai, folks like a glob mayonnaise on their bowl of chili and rice. I was brought up on Oahu and for me the best place to eat, well at least if it’s Hawaiian Food, is Young’s Fish Market.


My DH is from the East Coast and little did I know when I first met him, that he enjoyed the local foods as much as I did. One of the first times that he offered to bring me lunch at work, he asks, “Do you like the Laulau, Kalua pig or combo plate from Young’s”, are you kidding me? The combo of course! I like this guy, a lot!

Hawaiian Food @ Young's Fish Market

I know that you’ve probably heard of that other place down on Kapahulu Avenue, but buddy-boy, they do not come even close to Young’s. Each time that we’ve gone home over the past 5+ years, we must make a pilgrimage to Kalihi. They’ve moved since we left, but we knew that; we go to their website to drool every so often, here in the middle of the desert.

So let’s have some lunch!

Laulau Plate @ Young's Fish Market


This is DH’s plate, the Laulau plate, Pork if you please. It comes in your choice of Beef, Chicken or Fish. Along with, Lomi Salmon or Mac Salad (remember the Zippy’s Macaroni Salad? YUM!), Pipikaula (Hawaiian Beef Jerky, delish, moist and tender not tough and chewy), Sweet Potato and Poi or Rice. DH doesn’t like Poi.

Mini #2 plate @ Young's Fish Market

This Is Mines One! (really, that’s how we say it)

I opted for the Mini #2 Plate.  Kalua Pig (pork), Lomi Salmon or Mac Salad and Poi or Rice. I think you can figure out what I chose.

Opihi or Sea Limpets @ Young's Fish Market

Then we need to have a couple of sides to round out the table. This my friends is Opihi. These are sea limpets that taste just like the sea.  (Isn’t that funny, I don’t care for escargot)

The Perfect Bite!!

The perfect bite in the World for me! Take a spoonful of Poi and then place a single Opihi on top. I couldn’t show this photo to my sister, this her perfect bite too, but she lives in Los Angeles.

Squid Luau @ Young's Fish Market

The other side that we ordered was Squid Luau. Oh MY!! It’s quite simple, squid, taro leaves and a bit of coconut milk all braised together in perfect harmony.

Pork Laulau @Young's Fish Market

The Pork Laulau was so juicy with the right proportioning of taro leaves wrapped around that massive nugget of piggy, then it’s bundled up in a Ti leaf and steamed. You don’t eat the Ti leaf. Think of it as a Hawaiian Tamale.

Okinawa Sweet Potato

The Sweet Potato is really an Okinawan Sweet Potato or what I found here in the middle of the desert is called the Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potato. That’s right, the color on your monitor isn’t going nuts, it’s PURPLE. If you can find this type of sweet potato in your neck of the woods, get it. It’s nothing like you’ve ever tasted.

Poi! No, it's not library paste

POI! Yup, love it! I must have this with a sprinkle of Hawaiian Sea Salt, and yes there is difference from other salts. It’s one bite Poi to each bite of whatever else on your plate.

Now you may be saying to yourself about now, why did we order so much food?

1) We’ve only been back home three times in 5+ years

2) We share everything on the table

3) The leftovers can always go home with you

4) I’d order more, but then …

HMM, if they only had their liquor license.  I’d be REALLY happy with an ice cold beer in one hand and my spoon in the other. (SSSHHHH, don’t tell anyone, but we did that one time. We got our food to go, had a six pack stashed in the cooler in the car and headed to the beach at sunset, PERFECT!)