One of the really cool things about Hawaii that I don’t see people writing about much is its incredible snack foods. People from all over the world have made Hawaii their home and this cultural diversity, coupled with Hawaii’s amazing environment for agriculture has produced some incredible snacks: here are some of my favorites.
Chinese immigrants brought a tasty snack originally called cha siu bao to Hawaii. Here they are called manapua, which means “pork cake” in the local dialect of Hawaiian pidgin. In Hawaii, they have been modified with many local twists. For instance, instead of the typical char siu filling, in Hawaii, they may be filled with local foods like kalua pig or curry chicken.
One of my favorite snacks is chocolate covered macadamia nuts. Chocolate is made from the cacao tree which originated in South America, while Macadamia Nuts grow on Macadamia trees which are originally from Australia. Both types of trees are grown in Hawaii, but Hawaii is, of course, better known for Macadamia Nuts. When you put the two of these together you get a signature Hawaiian snack.
Shave ice is another excellent treat that is perfect for a sunny place like Hawaii. It consists of finely shaved ice that is topped with sweet fruit flavored syrups. The syrups are brightly colored and come in all of the colors of the rainbow. Just about the only downside to them is that they can turn your tongue blue, or green, or whatever color you happen to be eating. But fortunately the effect is not permanent.
Pineapples are neither pine nor apples. How they got their name was a complete mystery to me for the longest time, until I learned that pine cones used to be called pineapples a few centuries ago. When Europeans saw their first pineapple they gave it its name because they resembled pine cones. Pineapples come in white and yellow varieties and, for me, they have the perfect blend of sweet and acid flavors that make a perfect snack on a hot day.
As you can see, Hawaii offers a wide range of tasty treats. But there is much more to Hawaii than these yummy snacks. In Hawaii, you can swim with the dolphins or even see a live volcano up close. Hawaii is also home to a number of beautiful flowers like ginger and anthurium flowers. And it has many special animals like the Monk Seal and the Nene Goose. I hope that you get a chance to visit and see some of these amazing things for yourself.