A Little Hawaiian Vocabulary - We're here on the Big Island again (visiting Kona), and it struck me that knowing a few Hawaiian words can come in handy while visiting the islands. Aloha ...
Saturday, April 24, 2010
For a couple years, Dan & I have been meaning to check out Pac Island Grill down in Federal Way - a Hawaiian Style BBQ place that has live music every weekend. Dan's on a number of Hawaii-related email lists, and on one of them he gets updates on what's going on at Pac Island. With the closures of three of our favorite Hawaiian restaurants in the Seattle area, we had all the more reason to make the trek south and visit Pac Island for an Aloha fix. Since the restaurant is just one exit away from Dan's folks house, we stopped there on the way and Don & Carolyn joined us for dinner.
Dan recommended the Loco Moco ($9.25) to his dad, Carolyn went for the Kalua pork plate ($8.95), and Dan tried out their award winning Loli-loli chicken ($8.95). I couldn't make up my mind between all the delicious-sounding choices, but settled on a combo plate of Loli-loli chicken and pork Lau Lau ($10.99). And of course, all the plates came with two scoops rice and a scoop of mac salad.
Lau Lau is a piece of pork butt, topped with a small piece of salted butterfish, then wrapped in taro leaves (known as luau), then the whole thing is wrapped in ti leaves. Sometimes the taro is replaced with spinach, and the ti replaced with banana leaves, depending on availability of ingredients. Traditionally, the lau lau is then placed in an imu pit to cook, but more commonly now it's steamed for many hours. The butterfish essentially melts after the 4-6 hours of steaming, and lends wonderful flavor and moisture to the pork. The taro leaves also become soft, so that when you open the little package of ti leaves, you can mix the pork, butterfish and spinach together and enjoy.
Everyone, myself included, really enjoyed their dinner - though the loco moco was so big Don only ate about 1/3 of it, saving the rest for later (and a little room for dessert). We also enjoyed the lively entertainment, courtesy of Grooveline Hawaii.
While Don enjoyed a small bowl of ice cream ($2.95), Dan & I split a piece of Pineapple Upside-down Cake ($3.75) that reminded us both of the pineapple squares he made back at Christmas.
Pac Island Grill doesn't have a full bar - so no Mai Tais or Pina Coladas - but they do serve wine and beer, including Kona Brewing Co. favorites. And between the decor, the food and the music, you'll feel so transported to the islands that you won't even miss the cocktail.