When dining in Hawai´i, a lot of the more affordable options you will encounter are in local food restaurants (local kine grindz, brah). We point out in the dining chapters that local food is generally combinations of Hawaiian, American, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino and other cuisines. Of all these, Filipino dishes will most likely be the least familiar to the new visitor. Names like Longaniza and Pinakbet, without any further description, may be alien enough to dissuade a diner from branching out into the comfort food of the Philippines. Many of these dishes are hearty and meant to fuel a rigorous work day while others can be surprisingly healthy (eggplant is way more versatile than most western cooks give it credit for). Though you may not be at work, a full day in the ocean can wear you out more than you might realize. Besides, don’t think about calories and cholesterol, you’re on vacation!
Probably the most prevalent Filipino dish you’ll see is Adobo. Though originally a Mexican dish, the Filipino version has earned its place on island menus. Usually seen as pork or chicken adobo, this stew-like fare uses a vinegar base with salt, soy sauce, pepper, garlic and other spices to make a flavorful and long lasting meal. Longaniza is a pork sausage, often served for breakfast with fried rice and a side of vinegar for dipping. Pinakbet is also popular in Hawai´I due to the abundance of fresh, local produce. Okra, eggplant and tomatoes are almost always a part of the dish but squashes, gourds and various other firm fleshed veggies can find their way in too. It is really tasty when done well. Finally, one more favorite that is not seen as often as the others is Tortang Talong. It is an eggplant omelet and one of the best, local breakfast dishes we have come across.
It is easy to stick to more familiar foods when in the resort areas. We like a little (okay, a lot) of adventure with our relaxation and this extends to meal choices as well. Most local food is very budget friendly and goes hand in hand with exploring a new place, different from what you know back home. Have fun and enjoy!