Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Food Tour

{Thanks to Nancy and Andrew for being our guest bloggers today!}

Sunday was a good (bad for you) food day from start to finish.  We started on a Hole in the Wall Tour by Hawaii Food Tours.  We loaded on a Mercedes bus with a few other foodies and started off on our tastings.

This was the view we woke up to every morning...the sun coming up over Koko Head Mountain.

This is our first stop on the tastings was the Royal Kitchen famous for their Baked Manapua which is a Hawaiian-Chinese fusion based on the Chinese Bao Buns.  They bake theirs with Hawaiian sweet bread around different fillings.  The most traditional filling is char siu which is Chinese sweet roast pork, but other fillings are kalua pork, chicken, curry chicken, Portuguese sausage, Okinawan purple sweet potato, coconut and Chinese black sugar.

Next stop was at Liliha Bakery where we enjoyed Coco Puff pastries. - cream puff shell filled with a rich, buttery, creamy chocolate filling topped with Chantilly frosting.  They sell over 7000 of these per day.  The definition of Liliha - to be nauseated by rich and fatty foods.

Coco Puffs - cream puff shell filled with a rich, buttery, creamy chocolate filling topped with Chantilly frosting.

Now we are entering Chinatown. Hawaii has one of the largest and most unique Chinatowns in the entire US, and our tour pointed out a lot of the unique cuisines from various parts of Asia.
Our first stop was the Look Funn Factory, where rice noodles are made by hand and THOUSANDS are cranked out every day. Although not on the menu, there was even a cat to welcome us to the factory! We watched workers crank out noodles by filling large trays with just rice and water, then steam them into perfect, hand folded noodles for instant consumption!

We sampled the shrimp and spring onion roll and the roast pork and spring onion roll, all chased down with some fresh Korean BBQ. YUM!

Next was our exotic fruit tasting! The boys are pretending to eat a Rambutan, which is somewhere in the Lychee family. They look more like fuzzy alien balls than edible fruit! The trick is to peel back the scary outer skin to reveal the sweet, chewy fruit inside.

Next up was the longan, also named the "dragon eye" fruit. Tasted just like you would think a dragon's eye would too!

As if we weren't full enough already, we're back to noodles! These pepiau dumplings with spicy mustard were courtesy of the Char Hung Sut and were quite filling!

Next up, the ma tai su flakey pastry, or more commonly referred to as Chinese pot pie.
A favorite on the island is the Spam Musubi, a popular snack and lunch food (especially with chubby kids!) composed of a slice of grilled Spam on rice and wrapped in seaweed. These are very cheap and commonly found throughout the island in grocery and convenience stores.
Andy is getting full and starting to play with his food, which in this case is a local fruit known as the Apple Banana. It tastes nothing like an apple, and looks just like a banana but a bit more sweet. Just like Andy!
Back to pastries! This little golden brown bundle of joy is a coconut tart from the Rainbow Tea Shop and Bakery.
One of the neater places we stopped was the Sun Chong shop, featuring tons of dried fish and candies of all types. One of the more popular (strange) candies is called crack seed, and no it's not because Whitney Houston loves it. It's dried prunes that are seasoned and become chewy candy that kids and grownups alike love. They actually grind it down into a powder called li hing mui. It's red, tart, and Hawaiians put it on everything from pineapple to pizza.

Our last stop in Chinatown was the Char Siu House, where various meats hung on the wall and could be ordered in a dish with a rice filler. We sampled the Hong Kong style barbecued char sui (Chinese sweet boneless pork) as well as the "Five Layers of Heaven", which was like a fatty bacon with a crunchy outside. Truly a carnivore's delight!

Our last stop (finally! we were soooo full!) was Leonard's Bakery, famous for their Malasadas aka The Portuguese Doughnut. Served warm directly from the back kitchen, these golden puffs of moist and rich fried dough are rolled into granulated sugar.  Unlike some versions of fried dough that often weigh as much as a billiard ball, malasadas are light and airy, *if* they're not filled with one of their luscious home-made custards!

After gorging all day, a much deserved nap in the sun was needed back at the Outrigger Canoe Club. 

And as if we hadn't eaten enough this day, dinner was at a local hamburger joint famous for their nine inch burger patties and soft, homemade buns. Chase it down with a malt chocolate shake, and you've got the perfect day for anyone looking to stuff their arteries full of awesomeness!

Nancy and Andrew

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