From the way we grow it to how we consume it to how it can pave innovative new paths for the future, the food this issue celebrates highlights local people’s unique relationship to what they eat.
Editor’s Letter: Of the things I miss most about the places I’ve been, food is among the top three. When thinking of Sri Lanka, I miss the sweet yet spicy sambal, a blend of freshly grated coconut, tomatoes, chili and garlic; of Indonesia, salty nasi goreng fried rice contrasted with the crunch of fresh cucumber; of Japan, the melt-in-your-mouth sushi from fish quivering on the docks only hours before; of Los Angeles, greasy carne asada burritos from late-night Mexican joints at 2 a.m. When thinking of Hawai‘i, after living in Los Angeles for four years, I missed limu poke piled atop warm white rice; the chili chicken mixed plate from Zippy’s; oden filled with daikon and fishcake from Marukai; ochazuke with furikake and fried ahi belly.
Wherever we find ourselves, it’s easy to proclaim the food on our plates at that moment as “the best [insert food] ever!” Delicious food can be found in every region of the world, but I don’t think there is anywhere else where we are more closely tied to the food we eat and the people we eat it with than in Hawai‘i.
Here, food is representative of the rich traditions that make up our diverse state, of a people who found a way to mingle as strangers and wound up becoming family. Hānai, the traditional Hawaiian custom of taking care of a child even though he or she is not your own, influences the makeup of our food and how we share it with others. People we have just met immediately become aunties and uncles, and we are only too happy when we can share that which nourishes and delights us with the “family” we meet.
From the way we grow it to how we consume it to how it can pave innovative new paths for the future, the food this issue celebrates highlights local people’s unique relationship to what they eat. And if Instagram is any indication, local people love to grind.