Hawaiian Cuisine

Multi-Layered Cuisine
Luau’s, Poi, Poke, Tikis and Spam

“Mangoes of golden flesh, with turpentine

Coconut Palms

“Peel and odor. Plums of inky stain
“And the pucker of persimmons….” — Genevieve Taggard, “The Luau” [1]

“Shrimps, sea-urchins, lobsters, crabs and various kinds of shell-fish, as well as sea weed….” — Henry M. Whitney, Hawaiian Guide Book, 1875 [2]

The Paradise of the Pacific is truly Continue reading

Rendang

Minangkabau Legacy
Jungle-Proof Meats

“CNN has named Rendang, a traditional dish from Padang, West Sumatra on the World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods, beating out French croissants and American donuts.” — Jakarta Post

The Minang ethnic group of Sumatra are known for their matrilineal society, the world’s biggest women-run social structure anywhere.

They are also famous for their elaborate folkways and evolved cultural patterns, including their food. One of their dishes may be the tastiest in the world, as CNN found. Continue reading

Edward Schafer and Spice Route Travelers — III

The Manila Galleon and the Third Route
Tomatoes, Chili Peppers and Beche de Mer

“Tang cookery sounds like modern Japanese cookery — plain food, sometimes raw, with few savory mixtures or interesting sauces.” — Edward Schafer

 

“The best of modern Chinese cooking developed in relatively modern times under the influence of foreign taste and customs, in particular those of India and the lands of the Desert and the Isles.” — Edward Schafer

Malayan on the Silk Road

Curly Haired Man, Malayan
Silk Road, Tang Dynasty

We sometimes forget how many of the foods we associate with Pacific Rim cuisines today were not native to much of the region in the oldest times and have migrated back and forth along the ancient trade routes. Continue reading

Sea Cucumbers/Beche-de-Mer/Namako/海鼠

Sea Grub or Sea Mice?
Solomon Islands Currency

beche de mer or sea cucumbers

Beche de Mer
Frozen, Chinese Origin

You see them in Asian markets.  They do look like cucumbers, and are typically about six inches long in the fresh state.  Sometimes they are sold dried.  The dried form is usually black and rock-hard, and only a few inches long.Despite the name, they are not a vegetable and are not related to cucumbers.  They are a kind of seafood.

A common name is Sea Cucumbers, from their shape, also Trepang, or Bêche de Mer, from the French word for “sea grub.” Continue reading

Bento I — Bento Boxes

Makunouchi to Third Meal
Eki Ben to Artist Palettes

“Tradition-hallowed, honest-to-cherry blossom, real bento provide delightful picnics.” — Nina Froud [1]

Lacuer Bento Box

Lacquer Bento Box

Bento is a characteristic Japanese way of packing up a quick meal to eat on the go.

Technically a Bento box is a container, usually metallic, but often made of lacquer, wood,or Continue reading

Pacific Rim Cusines – Overview

Cooking – The Oldest Art

Chinese Tang Dynasty art from Silk Road

Chinese Men in Foreign Dress
Tang Dynasty Figures from the Gobi Desert

Our focus is the food and cooking of the Pacific Rim, but it is also a story of human history. As Brillat-Savarin said, “Cooking is the most ancient of the arts, for Adam was born hungry.”

With such a wealth of culinary styles, ingredients, cooking methods and national ways, how can we make some kind of order out of this ocean of recipes? It’s a good idea to create a kind of grid or structure to group the major national cuisines that we will feature in this Site. Continue reading

Lumpia – The Best Party Snack

Lumpia Shanghai,
The Best Party Snack

When people talk about Filipino food, one dish that always comes up is Lumpia Shanghai, the crispy egg roll appetizer or side dish with its unique sweet and sour dipping sauce.

Chicken and pork adobo, cardereta,or pancit may be national dishes of the Philippines – depending on whom you talk to – but lumpia has to be the best snack food from that country.

It’s popular not only in the Philippines but wherever people have had the chance to try it, in Filipino restaurants or homes anywhere in the world. What is it that makes this dish so popular? Continue reading