–and consequently don’t have access to poke bowl
There’s nothing worse than being away from the islands and craving local food. Whether you’re abroad or lost on the mainland, drooling over the thought of a poke bowl, poi, laulau, or even something as simple as saimin can definitely leave you feeling lonely and homesick. Island food is succulent, flavorful, and absolutely ono, but it’s so hard to get when you’re on the mainland. Go to any Foodland Sack and Save in Hawaii, and you have poi and poke at your fingertips. Walk into your local supermarket on the mainland, and you find a section of seafood with ridiculously high prices of fish (and let’s not forget to mention the not-fresh fish tastes like mud), and a tiny aisle labeled “Asian,” which usually holds exotic foods you’ve never heard of or seen in your life before (except, maybe, the can of coconut milk and the sweet chili sauce).
The great news is that you can still have a taste of home while you’re on the mainland. Sure it isn’t going to be exactly the same as home, but if can, can! With a few key ingredients that I’m sure you can find at your local supermarket, whip yourself up a batch of something from this list!
Also, if you’re not sure how to make some of these, click on the links below the pictures for the recipes.
You know it. The delicious taste of salty spam, combined with hot rice, furikake, and wrapped in a perfect little box shape never disappoints.
I think every local mom makes it different, but every fried rice HAS to have the basics: rice, spam, eggs, green onion, and shoyu. I know if my mom was getting creative she would add vegetables, like carrots. My aunt used to put in frozen peas and I wasn’t a fan BUT no matter. Fried rice is fried rice and it tastes like home regardless.
It isn’t the same without poi, but it IS possible to make this on the mainland. Find the salmon, then dice up the onions and tomato. If anything, you could eat it with rice.
This is a little more advanced but it sure is delicious. The longer you let the chicken marinade, the better! Enjoy it with rice for an ono homestyle meal!
You literally can’t go wrong with this formula:
Rice + hamburger + egg + gravy = broke da mouth
The nice thing about it is that you really can make Kalua pig while on the mainland. Just get a nice pork butt, rub it with some Hawaiian salt (well, any salt will do if you no more rock salt), and stick it in the crockpot. The kalua pig comes out tender and juicy. For those who like their kalua pig on the dryer side, you can oven-roast it, and it tastes just as good!
The perfect side to any dish, mac salad is easy to make. Remember when you had to make mac salad for luaus? It was probably the most complicated of the dishes even though it has only a few ingredients. While mac salad sure isn’t healthy, it does taste like home!
Chili, Hot Dog, Rice
Remember Zippy’s chili? A can of Stagg chili will do just the trick. There aren’t red hot dogs on the mainland, but any hot dogs will taste good if you have it with some chili and rice. Want beanless chili? Stagg’s got that too!
Crab Sushi (California Roll)
If you are craving the Japanese delights, this is the perfect thing to make. The only thing you might have a problem finding is the seaweed. All you need is rice, mayonnaise, imitation crab, avocado, and cucumber. Easy enough, yeah?!
Spam, Eggs, and Rice
Since no more Portuguese sausage on the mainland (unless you’re lucky), spam works just fine. The salty taste of spam in the morning, coupled with ketchup, eggs, and rice is the best way to wake up and get a hearty (but not super healthy) start to your morning. You’ll probably feel full and fat as a beast, but it’s the best breakfast delight.
While I probably haven’t thought of everything you can make on the mainland, there’s nothing better than tasting something to remind you of the local delights Hawaii has to offer. It’s hard living away from home but you can always find ways to taste local foods, even if it’s as small as buying King’s Hawaiian Sweet bread.
Can you think of local favorites that you can find ingredients for on the mainland? Comment below and don’t forget to subscribe for more fun articles on living the HI life on the mainland!