Happy Friday! I hope all of you in the US had a relaxing and scrumptious Thanksgiving yesterday and are enjoying all of the Black Friday sales right now!
Today’s Foodie Friday is a Hawaiian edition featuring a small sample of the food we ate in Hawaii last week. We would have gained about 10 pounds each from all the eating if not for all the hiking and walking around we did during the week we were there! I wanted to highlight the food we had that was uniquely Hawaiian – not that they can’t be found elsewhere in the world, but when people think of these foods, they think of Hawaii.
First off, dessert. I have an enormous sweet tooth, and the dessert we had on this trip was A+. My favourite was a tie between two desserts. The first was shave ice. No, that’s not a misspelling, Hawaii calls it shave ice and not shaved ice. I first heard rave reviews about shave ice from a YouTube food channel and thought, “What’s so special about a sno-cone?” Shave ice is no ordinary sno-cone. The ice is very finely milled – nothing like the coarse ice granules of a regular sno-cone. There is also the choice of getting just the flavoured ice, adding a big heap of vanilla ice cream under the ice, as well as getting any combination of toppings including condensed milk, azuki beans (red beans), or mochi balls.
We took a trip to Matsumoto Shave Ice, which is one of the most famous shave ice shops in Oahu (apparently Obama loves this place). The huge lineup we waited in could attest to how popular this place was, but the employees there were very efficient and we got our shave ice in no time. The portions were huge so we were originally going to share one, but because you can choose up to three different flavours on one serving and we wanted to try five, we ended up getting two separate ones. Neither of us are big fans of red beans, and we weren’t sure if we would love the condensed milk on top of our shave ice, so we decided we would get one with condensed milk and one without. My boyfriend’s was lychee and mango shave ice with ice cream, and mine was papaya, pineapple, and guava (gotta go with tropical flavours while in Hawaii!) with ice cream and condensed milk. We decided that shave ice without condensed milk was better, because the sweetness of the condensed milk masks the flavour of the syrups. Regardless, both were so refreshing, and a great treat on the hot day when we visited the shop.
I spent the rest of the trip playfully pestering my boyfriend to bring me back to Matsumoto, although I knew it wasn’t going to happen because it was an hour drive away. We ended up trying a shave ice stand called Island Vintage Shave Ice a couple of blocks from our hotel in Waikiki – while it was good and looked fancier with the pineapple, mochi and lychee bursting balls, it just wasn’t Matsumoto.
My other favourite dessert was Pineapple Whip, which we bought while on a tour of the Dole Plantation – again, the lineup was huge. I’ve tried another variation of Pineapple Whip in the city where I live, and while I love that version (it’s light and refreshing), it pales in comparison to the one offered at the Dole Plantation. While this one is a much creamier version, it’s still light and the flavour of the pineapple is extremely fragrant. They also top the Pineapple Whip off with fresh pineapple chunks, which was great treat.
We wanted to try some authentic Hawaiian food while we were there. Spam is HUGE in Hawaii. They have something called spam musubi, and the best way to describe it is ‘large sushi with spam instead of sashimi’. We visited a little store called Musubi Café Iyasume, which sold spam musubi as well as bento boxes to-go. The ingredients are very simple, but it tastes delicious. It was also there where we tried Poke (pronounced po-kay), a Hawaiian appetizer which is basically raw fish salad consisting of a myriad of ingredients including soy sauce, sesame, chili pepper, green onion.
As we drove through the coast of the island, we also stopped at a shrimp truck, which are very popular pit stops along the highways. The one we went to was called Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, and there was a massive lineup in front. They had a “No Refunds” hot & spicy shrimp which I wanted to try (the spicier the better), but since we were sharing the plates and my boyfriend does not share my love of spicy food, we ordered a full size of their shrimp scampi (pictured below), which is their bestseller, as well as a half size of their lemon butter shrimp. All of their plates come with two scoops of white rice. We weren’t overly impressed with the lemon butter (too much lemon, not enough butter), but the scampi was really mouthwatering.
With that being said, although we were able to try a lot of food, there were still many things we never had a chance to taste! Apparently, a week is just not enough time to eat all of the food on the island!