Saturday, August 02, 2003

Aloha Festival

Today is the Aloha Festival in San Francisco out in the Presidio. That means mellow Hawaiian music, enchanting dance performances and most importantly, if you ask me--plate lunches.

Hawaii has a tradition of serving up a lunch that consists of a scoop or two of rice, a 1-part-mayonnaise-2-parts-macaroni salad an optional serving of poi and some kind of meat, chicken or fish. It could be hibachi grilled teriyaki, kahlua pig, lomi lomi salmon, chicken long rice, lau lau or any number of other specialities that are so popular in Hawaii. Why the plate lunch is so addictive I am hard pressed to explain.

Hawaiian food is a beguiling blend of Japanese, Chinese, Pacific Islander and Philipino cuisines. It seems to take the best of each and using local ingredients come up with dishes that are unique and mouth wateringly delicious. For a tropical place, baking also seems to be a popular pastime and there are wonderful bakeries all through the islands selling delicacies such as tropical fruit cakes, breads, and cream pies, cookies, sweet breads and malasada doughnuts. Some dishes are for the more adventurous, but there is something for just about everyone. Unless of course you are a vegetarian. Hawaiian food is heavy on the meat protein and starches which probably explains the large waistlines. Perhaps it's best that the Aloha Festival only comes once a year.