FOOD IS UNIVERSAL, BUT CULTURE IS DIFFERENT
Hawaii is a melting pot of ethnicities. There is no one particular ethnic group that comprises the majority of the population, meaning everyone in Hawaii is a minority. This lovely mix of ethnic background provides a variety of rich cultural experiences, especially with food. As islanders from Hawaii, we have grown up enjoying dishes from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. Some particular only to the islands, and some not. Regardless, it was always the food that brought us all together, to gather, and to fellowship.
When we moved from Oahu to Washington State, we knew one thing was for certain – we would miss the food. Of course, we would miss our family, friends, and the culture, but you see food is a magical thing that can make you feel right at home, even if you are far from home. Since moving, I had to learn how to prepare a lot of our favorite dishes at home, whereas if we lived back home on the islands, we could easily drive up the road and pick it up if we were craving a particular dish. It’s not as easy as that here in Washington. Not only do we enjoy our favorite dishes at home, but we also enjoy them while we are on the road traveling as well.
As part of our culture, rice is an important ingredient to a lot of our dishes, and we need to have rice. The majority of the restaurants in Hawaii serve rice. When we took our first family vacation to the mainland and went to the nearby Denny’s and McDonald’s for breakfast – our kids stared at the menu in confusion wondering where were the meals with rice. It was quite hilarious. We also had to break the news to our daughter that the 7-Eleven’s on the mainland don’t carry spam musubi.
Traveling in our travel trailer not only makes us feel right at home with the comforts of home with things such as a bed, a shower, and the like but with good home-cooked meals we love – prepared right there in our kitchen on wheels and stocked with all of the ingredients and spices needed to prepare it. Even the rice. But don’t get us wrong, we do love to try new dishes in places we visit, but after a long day on the mountain skiing, hiking, or exploring, there is nothing better than to end the day with a good home-cooked meal that’s comforting to your soul – but right from your RV – that’s parked right out front or in close proximity to all that adventure.
Rice is a staple item in our RV’s pantry. The best thing about rice is that I don’t need electricity to actually cook it, nor do I need an actual rice cooker. Since our RV operates on propane, I can easily cook rice in a simple pot with a lid and some water. Rice in its raw form is also easy to store -just put it in an airtight container just as you would store beans or pasta.
Meal planning is a simple way to stay on budget while traveling. It also helps with making sure you are stocking things you need and avoid bringing extra weight you don’t need. Most of the meals I like to prepare are simple, like a nice piece of ribeye steak (seasoned with black pepper and Hawaiian salt). Some require specialty items from Hawaii, but not all. The key to any island-inspired dish is how you prepare it that makes it unique.
One of our favorite island dishes we enjoy on our travels is Poke. Poke is really easy to make and all you need is a block of ahi tuna (I buy it frozen and defrost it by soaking it in a bowl of water when I’m ready to prepare it), quality sesame oil, shoyu (soy sauce) and some green onion as your base. You can add mayo and sriracha to make a simple creamy/spicy version or add some Noh’s Hawaiian Poke Mix. You can serve it pupu-style as is, over rice and make your own poke bowl, over some greens for a tasty salad, or the island way by making it a plate lunch style and serving all of it with your choice of protein. The possibilities are endless.
One island-inspired dish we made while traveling were these katsu-style razor clams – with clams we harvested from the coast of Washington. These clams are so tasty and they go well over a bed of rice sprinkled with furikake seasoning with a side of greens drizzled with our favorite homemade Sam Choy oriental dressing. Yum!
During our travels, we have enjoyed many local dishes that reminded us of home. Although we were far from home experiencing new horizons in a travel trailer, we felt right at home enjoying meals that made heart’s content.