|I may be a Loli, but you won't catch me eating Pocky.|
Here we are, chugging along on the blog train thanks to my superfluous amount of free time. In case you missed the past two days, I'm knocking out the 30 Day Lolita Challenge, which I started a few years ago and never finished!
Today's prompt is especially exciting to me, because not gonna lie, I like to eat. xD
It's time for... 10 of my Favourite Foods! And hang on to your seats, because being from Hawaii, there'll be a little bit of everything on here.
In Hawaii, there is something we call a "Mixed Plate". It's about a lunch sized portion, with foods from the different ethnic backgrounds in Hawaii. It can have a little bit of Chinese food, Filipino food, Japanese food, of course Hawaiian food, and so on. Some people say America is a "melting pot"? In Hawaii, we call ourselves a "Mixed Plate". As such, the foods you see here may be from several different countries, or a conglomerate of ethnic flavours we call "local" food.
Now... release the food porn!!
1. Lihing Mango
This is my favourite crack--I mean snack! It's sweet, salty, chewy, and stains your fingers red because of the lihing powder. Not very safe for Lolita, but great to throw in your bag for work, school, or beach.
You can also buy lihing powder in the stores. It's great on fresh pineapple, or pretty much any fruit! I even sprinkle some on my Dole Whip (pineapple soft-serve) when I get some.
Gah, I love Curry! Especially Japanese curry. I had to clarify, because there's several types of curry available in Hawaii. But my favourite savory flavor is Japanese curry, like they serve at our local Coco Ichibanya. (Their recipe is a secret, but I think I've made a better one!)
Not to brag, but I'm sort of a pro at making my own curry from scratch. I don't like to use the curry roux/bricks you find at the supermarket, because it is mostly oil and not that healthy. So, I decided to experiment and combine my favourite parts of several recipes. I'll often make a big batch so we have leftovers for lunch and dinner all week. And if you're tired of just curry over rice, you can 'dilute' it in some home made dashi broth and serve it as a soup/stew over soba or udon noodles.
My secret ingredients are grated Fuji apples, and a little bit of red wine. I also love to add locally grown veggies like sweet potatoes.
However, Thai Curry is also delicious, but a little creamier since it is usually made with coconut milk. I only really eat it if I'm going out for a nice dinner with my husband. Two of the best places (I know of) to get Thai Curry in Hawaii are Souvaly Thai and Opal's.
|Red and Yellow Curry from Souvaly Thai.|
Though really, my favourites are Bibimbap and the little kimchi dishes they serve before the meal.
Did you know, all kimchi dishes are served in odd numbers, because even numbers are bad luck?
Bibimbap is basically mixed julienned veggies, barbecued meat (usually beef, but I request chicken) and an over-easy egg on a bed of white rice. I love it because it's got choke (a lot of) veggies and it's ono (delicious)!
|Bibimbap and assorted kimchee from Mililani Barbecue.|
My husband is half Chinese, so I learned to love Chinese food. I only eat it on special occasions, because it usually requires a lot of oil to cook, and I try to eat healthy.
When my husband's grandma came to visit us, she taught me recipes she learned living in Taiwan, such as dumplings and green onion pancake. I also like to make Mapo Tofu, but modify it to be a little bit healthier (using ground turkey instead of minced pork, etc.)
I also love kailan ("Chinese Broccoli") with oyster sauce, and all kinds of dim sum!
In my humble opinion, the best place for Chinese food on Oahu is Little Village Noodle House in Chinatown.
5. Japanese Food
How could I get away without listing Japanese food? It is my favourite cuisine. There are lots of recipes filled with fish and vegetables, and it is very fresh here.
Though I'm pretty non-discriminatory with Japanese cuisine, my favourite is admittedly sushi and zaru soba. When I was a student in Japan, I practically lived off the kaiten (revolving) sushi restaurant across the street from my apartment.
Did you know that sushi started as a low-class food? I learned that when I watched a documentary called "Jiro Dreams of Sushi". Here, there are restaurants that charge $18+ a roll for sushi! Yet it used to be sold in food stalls on the streets!
I, am not wealthy enough to pay $18 a plate for sushi. I usually get my sushi from the local kaiten sushi places, my personal favourite being Kuru Kuru Sushi in Aiea.
Though if you'd like a mid-ranged bento of sushi and many other Japanese foods, the food court and beer garden at Shirokiya is where you want to go.
|An ahi nigiri and zaru soba bento from Shirokiya.|
Uh oh, I am getting hungry all ready...
Though I'm not well-versed on Vietnamese cuisine, I have a love for Pho. It's a light and refreshing rice noodle soup served with all kinds of vegetables, and garnishes such as peppers, mint leaves, lemon wedges and a variety of sauces.
My personal favourite is a vegetable Pho with thin slices of tofu, or sometimes shrimp Pho. But it's often served with a beef-base broth and thick slices of meat.
Fun fact: "Pho" is said to come from the French word "feu", meaning fire- perhaps because it was made in a pot over the fire. However nowadays, at least in Hawaii it is pronounced "fu", as in "fun" or "F*ck yeah!" So when I saw a restaurant called "Pho King", I found it pretty hilarious.
Side note: Pho is the best Hangover food.
7. Anything from Downbeat Diner!
Our go-to spot after a night of partying in Chinatown. They often have live bands next door at Downbeat Lounge.
I love their vegan options! My all-time favourite is their Vegan BLAT ("Bacon", lettuce, avocado, tomato). As if to spite me, my husband orders The Carnivore.
Coincidentally, they make a bad-ass Bloody Mary as well, when they host Sunday Brunch.
Finally, something Lolita, they cry!
The truth is, I don't have much of a sweet tooth, except for two things: Macarons and Froyo.
There are a couple places to get French Macarons on Oahu, my favourite being La Tour Cafe.
However you can also get them from Sugarlina Bakery and Cake Works (Where I got my wedding cake from).
|The spread at Sugarlina Bakeshop in Aiea.|
... especially Dole Pineapple whip, a sorbet-like delicacy you can only get at the Dole Plantation or at certain places downtown. Sometimes Menchies, my favourite build-your-own-froyo restaurant has Dole Pineapple whip "on tap", but it's gone in a flash.
|Dole Whip at Ala Moana Center.|
Okay, so it's not a food. But I'm going to be honest here... there was a point in my life when I wouldn't eat anything, except maybe five or six specific foods. It was part of a super hardcore dieting and exercising thing I was doing, and while I was super thin, it was dangerous. I wouldn't let myself even have plain rice or more than a slice of wheat bread in a day. I was even vegan, but not for moral reasons, but because I was so driven to lose more and more weight.
That is no way to live. When I moved to Japan, I was forced to try new things as a source of protein, such as yogurt, real soy milk, fish, and eggs. Though not completely "healed", I allowed myself to experiment with new foods and really enjoyed them. I got to try sweets like Taiyaki, dango, and soft serve ice cream, which I would have never allowed myself to have before.
Finally, I came back to Hawaii and met my husband. When we started going out, he would take me to all these different restaurants merely because I had never tried that kind of food before. I learned that a lot of the foods were mostly healthy, or could be made healthy at home. I also learned how to make a variety of new things at home to save money and have fun with my husband.
A couple of years ago, this post would have looked completely different. It would have probably been a long list of fruits and vegetables, and nothing more.
I may not be as thin as I used to be, but I am proud at how far I've come in taking care of myself, and eating the right things. It's not only good for you to eat a variety of foods, but it's also really fun!
On that note, I just got back from the gym writing this and am now hungry as hell! xD It's time for me to grab some lihing mango or whip up a snack. It's rainy today, so maybe curry or miso soup?
|Bring on the food coma!|