Wonderful Recipes and Amazing Food – Hawaii Regional Cuisine

Categorized as Maui Vacation Information

During my last stay on Oahu I stayed at an Oahu Hotel and ate out at some extremely wonderful restaurants that were serving such delicious food that I wanted to learn more about it. Well, it turns out that the food that was being served was known as Hawaii Regional Cuisine, and this type of cuisine combines all of the best qualities of the Hawaiian Islands.

Hawaii Regional Cuisine began on Maui in August of 1991 had its origins when twelve master Island chefs formed an association to develop a world-class cuisine that has now won major international culinary awards.

These twelve chefs that conceptualized “Hawaii Regional Cuisine” are Sam Choy, Mark Ellman, Alan Wong, Beverly Gannon, Jean-Marie Josselin, Amy Ferguson Ota, George Mavrothalassitis, Philippe Padovani, Peter Merriman, Gary Strehl, Roy Yamaguchi, and Roger Dikon.

This new cuisine centers around fresh local fish and vegetables as well as exotic Island fruits, and utilizes a blend of culinary techniques from both the Eastern and Western traditions.

The multicultural techniques of Hawaii Regional Cuisine derive from the rich history of immigration in the Hawaiian Islands, when waves of foreigners from many different countries, including Europe, Asia, and South America, arrived to work on the sugar plantations.

The elements of Hawaii Regional Cuisine are taken from the various ethnic dishes brought by immigrants: malasadas and sausage from the Portuguese; char siu, tofu, and soybeans from the Chinese; sashimi and wasabi from the Japanese; sweet breads; and bagoong (fish sauce), jicama, and marungary from the Filipinos.

Many dishes of the new cuisine are a blend of these and other cultural elements—including Hawaiian, Sāmoan, Korean, and Spanish—such as might have developed in the community cookhouses of the plantation villages in the Hawaiian Islands from the end of the 1800s through the first half of the 1900s.

Hawaii Regional Cuisine has now become a movement, and this modern cuisine emphasizes creative uses of ingredients such as ginger, soy, and garlic to create tasty and aromatic dishes that are increasingly popular with residents as well as visitors.

The new Hawaiian cuisine differs from local-style food such as one might find at a lūau, or traditional Hawaiian feast, which usually centers around kālua pig cooked in an imu (underground earthen oven), and traditionally includes poi (mashed taro root) and such fare as opihi, lomi salmon, squid, and chicken long rice.

The uniqueness of Hawaii Regional Cuisine is largely due to the use of fresh Island products, such as lobsters and coffee from Kona, fern shoots from Waipio Valley, asparagus and basil from Maui, fiddlehead fern shoots picked in the mountains, mint grown in Waimea, goat cheese from Puna, and guava-smoked lamb from Hawaiian ranches.

Other distinctive Island ingredients include palm hearts, breadfruit, macadamia nuts and Hawaiian Vintage chocolate. Coconut milk is used in traditional dishes such as haupia (coconut pudding) as well as for creative new uses, such as Island-style coconut milk curry sauce and other flavorful fare.

Fresh Island fish comes in many types, from the standard favorite of ahi (tuna), to opakapaka (snapper), opah (moonfish), and shutome (swordfish). Other seafood utilized in Hawaii Regional Cuisine includes prawns and scallops prepared with a variety of innovative sauces.

Freshly caught ahi may cut into poke, seared, and then served with shoots of pīpīnola (native Hawaiian squash root), or served with lilikoi shrimp butter,. Dessert might include such tropical treats as lilikoi chiffon pie.

I have been delighted to experience this Hawaiian Island Cuisine during my stay in the Islands. Tonight I am going to stay at a great Maui Vacation Rental near some fine restaurants and I can’t wait to go out and experience some more of this delicious Hawaii Regional Cuisine.