Chinatown! For Fresh Fish, Produce, Ingredients and Cuisines

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Oahu Market, Honolulu

A Visit To Chinatown

by Rory Kealohi

One of my fondest memories growing up in Hawaii during the 60’s and 70’s was waking up early on Saturday morning, grabbing an empty cooler and heading to Chinatown for fresh fish, produce and other Asian, specialty ingredients and cuisines.

 Our venture would typically start with a visit to Liliha Bakery or Dutch Girl Bakery, both on Liliha Street. Their freshly baked pastries were so buttery, flaky and ono. It was just enough to keep our stomachs filled during our shopping adventure.

 Next stop, Chinatown, more specifically, Oahu Market. It was one of the very few places that opened at 6:00 am. Some of us went with dad and he headed down the seafood aisles checking out the day’s freshly caught fish which were often still in in the process of being offloaded and prepared for displaying. Nearby, the live crabs and lobsters would be scavenging around in knee-high aluminum fish tanks. This was also our go to spot if anyone of us got separated. In the meantime, the rest of us strolled with mom as she headed towards the meat section. It was apparent that they each had their favorite vendors to start with, barring anything that may have caught their eyes along the way.

 19830266_190308381503986_1638997883_oCoupled with the fishing trips dad would take me on it was here, at a very young age, maybe 6 or 7 years old, I learned the steps on how to identify fresh fish. (More about that in another article.)

By now, the Chinese Roast Pork, Chinese BBQ pork, and/or Roast Duck (whole, half, or by the pound) would have been bought and paid for by mom. I always remembered her saying to the butcher “No fat! No burn!” and on very rare occasions, “No! Not dat one!” She knew what she wanted; the leanest and meatiest pieces and that’s exactly what she got. The transaction was never completed without accepting the free sample they provided. Soon she and the rest of my ohana would be joining us at the crab tanks.

 19840093_190308374837320_239675824_oOur attention would shift to fresh produce section where we would pick up Chinese parsley (cilantro), green onions, bean sprouts, Chinese mustard cabbage (Gai Choy) and Bok Choy, while dad focused on anything he needed to compliment the fish he just bought.

 Now it was time to obtain the specialty sauces, spices and condiments that we would typically have stored in our pantry and anything else needed for the dishes dad planned on preparing that day such as dry mustard, fish sauce and dried shitake mushrooms and raw peanuts.

Our escapade was not complete unless we picked up some couple of custard pies from Lee’s Bakery on King St. and manapua (steamed pork buns) and pork hash from Char Hung Sut on N. Pauahi St. Although the custard pies were saved for dessert, the dim sum was enough to keep us tied over until dinner.

 Once we got home, we unloaded the SUV and stayed out of the kitchen unless called upon, usually to empty the trash, wash some dishes or grab a couple of porcelain serving platters from the China cabinet. We all knew that dad was in charge of the kitchen.

Here’s one of the simplest, quickest and ono dish dad always prepared:

 BOK CHOY & SPROUTS w/ AVOCADO SALAD

Serving Size: 6 – 8 

SALAD INGREDIENTS

2 TBS sesame oil

4 cloves garlic, minced or grated, or more to taste

2 tsp fresh ginger root, minced or grated

1 tsp chili paste (optional)

10 heads baby bok choy, ends trimmed and leaves separated

2 c bean sprouts (or 1 pkg Taro Brand Mung Bean Sprouts)

2 TBS oyster sauce

GARINISH INGREDIENTS

1 medium size avocado, cubed

1/4 c green onions, chopped

DRESSING INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup Japanese Rice vinegar

3/4 cup soy sauce

3/4 cup sugar

1 TBS grated ginger

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

SALAD INSTRUCTIONS:

Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat.

Cook and stir garlic, ginger, and chili paste in hot oil until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir bok choy into garlic mixture, add water, cover the skillet, and cook until bok choy wilts and is desired texture, about 2 minutes.

Add bean sprouts and oyster sauce and toss for about 30 seconds. Cover and remove from heat.

Cool in the refrigerator for 30 mins – 1 hour

Prior to serving, add garnishes and shake dressing.

DRESSING INSTRUCTIONS

Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Close the lid, and shake until well mixed and sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:

Be creative and don’t hesitate in adding any or all of the following complimentary garnish ingredients.

 Mandarin Oranges

 Toasted Walnuts, Almonds or Cashews

 Dried Cranberries

 Cubed or Sliced Meats such as Char Siu, Roasted Chicken or Chinese Roast Pork

 Chinese Parsley (cilantro/coriander)

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Mauna Loa

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Mauna Loa

by Philip Scott Wikel

 

viscous

smoldering

oozing through vents to depths

no diver dares

 

molten

glowing

heat so hot that touching

no midas tries

 

soldering

joined together by melting

stitching patches of

cooled and cracked

 

an island chain forming

rock and iron

and the greenest of life

worn smooth by water and time

 

viscous

air thick with love

and bound by aloha

Fade: A Surfing Poem

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Dewey Weber, 1964

Fade by Philip Scott Wikel

A Surfing Poem

 

knowing the wave

so well as

to turn left

and fade

on a right breaking face

 

knowing

 

drop knee turn

in the trough

and pulling the rail high

and toward trim,

a clean line

and a rocket sleigh ride through the section

 

knowing

 

the elasticity of a rubber band and

the distance it can stretch

before it breaks

 

knowing

 

the elasticity of life

and pushing

‘til you know

enough

and when

to pull the rail toward perfect trim

Coming Home to Maui

screen-shot-2017-01-30-at-12-59-00-pmComing Home to Maui:

Talking Story with Philip Scott Wikel

“On a white sandy beach in Hawaii”

– Braddah IZ

We’re coming home to Maui; I you, he, she, they and us.

Most importantly the Born and Raised are coming home to a new vision of Maui. A new vision much like the one held by the Kanaka Maoli ancestors; an independent Maui only interdependent with the greater Hawai’i Nei.

This would be a new/old Maui that grows, hunts, fishes and herds and ultimately feeds its own; a sustainable Maui. This Maui won’t need barges from the US, diesel fuel for electricity or a cultural identity defined by a foreign culture.

These people have reawakened (or perhaps have just been silenced) to following Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka ‘Aina I Ka Pono. Remember: The missionaries once outlawed the hula surfing and the Hawaiian language. Successive generations of foreigners have sought to outlaw being Hawaiian at all. They also bought up land faster than the Kanakas could say “this isn’t right.”

The Kanaka Maoli and the Born and Raised are not an exclusive group. They seek to be inclusive. All who love Maui and the “Aina, those who wish to steward and nurture her, heal her and bring her home as we all learn to share her.

Many are returning to Maui from far away. One time tourists who had a love at first sight, travelers of the world who found “none bettah,” water folks, fisherman, farmers, and so on. Those who still believe it is their kuleana to contribute to Maui’s well-being in a myriad of ways: Spreading Aloha, nurturing the soil, cleaning up the ocean, cultivating community and envisioning Maui as a beautiful microcosm and model of sustainability for the world.

Within these folks are those who’ve chosen to turn their backs on the US and the nine to five grind; the feeling that their lives had become “just doing time.” They spend their days on the beaches keeping them clean while scratching out a subsistence living. These are happy people free of social and societal limitations and restrictions. They’re quick to throw a shaka, share a meal, talk story or offer kind words that deepen the meaning of Aloha with every word and actions.

Kanakas, tourists, travelers, shore casters and farmers. The tourists who get it, travelers who’ve felt no choice but to come back to Maui No Ka Oi, shore casters who’ve fed us for millenia; whose meditative and essential work inspires a closeness to the ocean and reminds us to relax, take the time to do it right, and smile knowing your home is one of the very best. Farmers new and old will now work toward healing Maui of the cancer of sugar cane, replant with things we need, and take the long view toward the Seventh Generation.

All and all this can be seen as a divine collaboration, the composition of a new symphony, a song that will be easily sung without effort as we tread lightly into the future.

A Hui Ho!

At Play On The Reef

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At Play On The Reef
by Philip Scott Wikel (Waikoloa)

A south swell strums softly
across the reef
it’s summer in winter
if only in brief

the coral is tickled
and surfing kids rise
anticipating the rush and
the thrill of a ride

They stand on the tide
the white curling mist
with whistling spindrift
a swirl and a hiss

They giggle and wriggle
and manage the glide
become one with the ocean
and feed their insides

For a child it’s pure
no hinderance of vision
they feel everything at once
and know only their mission

to ride salty waves
to smile and cheer
today is the best day
“the swell is here”

www.mauisaltandsage.com

Puka Hunting

Puka Hunting

by Philip Scott August

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We comb the beach for pukas

we are fishers of shells

bound by love’s umbilical

as we sift, scratch, and dig for treasure

I go to one end

and she the other

meeting in the middle

we find ourselves children again

and blend as friends and lovers

we make a competition of it

and I declare the lead

yet very quickly the duel is lost

to awe, and the exaltation of discovery

she, me, we, sand, sun and surf

the light of the eternal tryst

a fusion in time unbridled

Coming Home to Maui

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-1-55-30-pmComing Home to Maui

Talking Story with Philip Scott Wikel

“On a white sandy beach in Hawaii”

– Braddah IZ

We’re coming home to Maui; I you, he, she, they and us.

Most importantly the Born and Raised are coming home to a new vision of Maui. A new vision much like the one held by the Kanaka Maoli ancestors; an independent Maui only interdependent with the greater Hawai’i Nei.

 This would be a new/old Maui that grows, hunts, fishes and herds and ultimately feeds its own; a sustainable Maui. This Maui won’t need barges from the US, diesel fuel for electricity or a cultural identity defined by a foreign culture.

 These people have reawakened (or perhaps have just been silenced) to following Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka ‘Aina I Ka Pono. Remember: The missionaries once outlawed the hula surfing and the Hawaiian language. Successive generations of foreigners have sought to outlaw being Hawaiian at all. They also bought up land faster than the Kanakas could say “this isn’t right.”

 The Kanaka Maoli and the Born and Raised are not an exclusive group. They seek to be inclusive. All who love Maui and the “Aina, those who wish to steward and nurture her, heal her and bring her home as we all learn to share her.

 Many are returning to Maui from far away. One time tourists who had a love at first sight, travelers of the world who found “none bettah,” water folks, fisherman, farmers, and so on. Those who still believe it is their kuleana to contribute to Maui’s well-being in a myriad of ways: Spreading Aloha, nurturing the soil, cleaning up the ocean, cultivating community and envisioning Maui as a beautiful microcosm and model of sustainability for the world.

 Within these folks are those who’ve chosen to turn their backs on the US and the nine to five grind; the feeling that their lives had become “just doing time.” They spend their days on the beaches keeping them clean while scratching out a subsistence living. These are happy people free of social and societal limitations and restrictions. They’re quick to throw a shaka, share a meal, talk story or offer kind words that deepen the meaning of Aloha with every word and actions.

 Kanakas, tourists, travelers, shore casters and farmers. The tourists who get it, travelers who’ve felt no choice but to come back to Maui No Ka Oi, shore casters who’ve fed us for millenia; whose meditative and essential work inspires a closeness to the ocean and reminds us to relax, take the time to do it right, and smile knowing your home is one of the very best. Farmers new and old will now work toward healing Maui of the cancer of sugar cane, replant with things we need, and take the long view toward the Seventh Generation.

 All and all this can be seen as a divine collaboration, the composition of a new symphony, a song that will be easily sung without effort as we tread lightly into the future.

 A Hui Ho!

Aidan James: One of the Ones…

18810_831205506954916_4632523923777864689_nAidan James is a fourteen year old singer/musician from a place steeped in tradition with its culture, music, and dance – Hawaii. The ukulele is part of that tradition and Aidan’s instrument of choice. However, he’s doing something different… Aidan brings the ukulele beyond its traditional Hawaiian roots. Equipped with a looping station and effect pedals, Aidan strives to push the limits of the ukulele by incorporating its distinct sound into a pop/rock/folk sound.

With experience beyond his years, Aidan James first came to recognition when a YouTube video of him performing quickly earned millions of views. Currently, his YouTube videos have collectively over twenty million views. His musical journey has taken him across the US and Japan to include a performance for a crowd of 30,000 people at the NFL Pro Bowl in Hawaii and an appearance in the current CBS hit show “Hawaii Five-0”. Aidan has shared the stage with the likes of the band Train, Jack Johnson, and Mick Fleetwood.

Soul Redemption a.k.a. Moroni or “Bradda Mo”

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Soul Redemption (aka Moroni, or Bradda Mo), has been compared to reggae singers; Luciano, and Lucky Dube; but it is his uniquely Hawaiian musical roots, reggae foundation, and charismatic lyrical delivery that Rootstime production wanted to highlight and bring to the world on the iDrop Riddim (aka Rootstime Riddim): Various Reggae Artists compilation album with Soul Redemptiontrack: Love Is.

Hear him sing “Hawaii 78” in the Maui AMPFest below.

The Inaugural (AMPFest) Aloha Maui “Mixed Plate” Video Fest

The Inaugural Aloha Maui “Mixed Plate” Video Fest (AMPFest) is less than two weeks away. We’re working with Aidan James and Ekolu Kalama and it should be a fantastic lineup. In addition to our local greats, we’ll have musicians from Germany, China, Portugal, France, India, The Phillipines and the mainland. It’s all about spreading the Aloha Spirit around the world. The event is May 15th. Here’s the intro video: