Hawaii Will Always Be Home
I was born and raised on Oahu, now living on the Mainland. With the exception of going back for a funeral last year, it's been a very, very long time since I've been home. This is my way of visually reminiscing about what I recall from and miss about Hawaii.
Now I understand how unhealthy it was to grow up on super-salty snacks like Li Hing Mui (salted, dried, preserved plums), but as a kid these were the same as how Mainland kids must have thought of snacking on Twinkies and Ho-Ho's. The best stuff came from the Crack Seed Center at Ala Moana Shopping Center. Still crave this stuff every once in a while. The Mexican version, "Saladitos", are just not the same.
Kau yuk, red braised pork belly. Rich, luscious, fatty. Oh, man. Reminds me so much of Patti's Chinese Kitchen plate lunch specials at Ala Moana Shopping Center. Lunch here was a reward for my sister and I if we were sell-behaved while she was shopping. I can't believe they closed down after so many decades. I hear that Panda Express cut in their business. That's just disgusting. That someplace like that could put a true family Chinese food establishment out of business makes me sad.
Every other weekend I'd take the bus with my Mom (and sometimes my sister) to Chinatown. She'd shop for fish, produce and meat. I still remember how the butchers would give me bits of char siu to snack on when I was little. If money wasn't too scarce, we'd stop by a Chinese restaurant and have some dim sum or maybe just some egg custard tarts.
How can one have fond memories of a fish market? Somehow, I do. I remember going to Tamashiro market every other weekend with my Mom to pick something up. I remember slipping on the wet floors, and being grossed out by the live frogs. But this place still reminds me of childhood and home.
The surf at North Shore. I never surfed, but loved watching friends go out there. I'll always remember how when there was a hurricane or tsunami warning, my Mom would tape up the windows in preparation. My friends would be telling me they were getting their boards ready.
Went to at least three field trips to the Bishop Museum in Honolulu as a kid. The schools never chartered a bus since it was (kinda) walking distance. It's one of those places that I never fully appreciated until I grew up and moved away. Now I remember all the things I saw there and realize how flippin' amazing it was.
I guess I always loved cooking shows. This was probably my first: "Let's Go Fishing" on KHON-TV in Hawaii showed host Hari Kojima out on fishing trips in the local waters, then going back to the kitchen to show you how to cook up the day's catch. It was fun, real and got you into the mood to eat some good seafood. I was sad to learn that Hari Kojima passed away recently off cancer.