One of the nights in Honolulu we were too exhausted to go out hunting for dinner. Less than a block from our hotel (actually connected to the property) was one of those sushi conveyor belt places where the fish glides around their makers on a little track, and diners wantonly pluck and eat any dish their choosy hearts desire. Sadly, the generic sushi here was better than anything we get in Ithaca. The tuna seems so different than in upstate NY; it hasn't the least bit of metallic blood flavor that I usually find so appalling in tuna sashimi.
One of the best things about Hawai'i are these abundant onigiri, handrolls, and musubi that folks can pick up at any convenience store (7-11, Safeway, ABC Stores) for a quick snack or lunch. Just this fact alone makes me want to pick up and move to the Islands. I'm not kidding, it's seriously a huge motivator. Why can we only get dessicated hot dogs, Hot Pockets and Hostess fruit pies at our convenience stores? It's not fair. Here's a half-eaten spicy tuna handroll and some fruit eaten on our hotel balcony.
Below is an example of really bad saimin at the Kauai airport. We had delicious saimin at Hamura's Saimin Stand in Lihu'e, but I neglected to take a photo. We met this great local family at Hamura's who advised us on the best restaurants and beaches in the area, and also turned us on to eating BBQ meat sticks along with our saimin. Saimin basically tastes like the ramen that we make at home, except with thicker egg noodles and a hard-boiled egg instead of a poached one dropped in at the last moment before serving. The green onions, char siu and wontons all stem from Chinese cuisine, while the dashi broth and fish cake slices are distinctively Japanese. I also am enamored with the fact that saimin can be slurped down at almost any time of day at saimin stands all over Hawai'i. Much better than fast food burgers, although with comparable sodium counts, I'm sure.
Yet more Hawaiian food to come in another post...