Snacking at 36,000 feet Hawaiian style

Snacking at 36,000 feet Hawaiian style

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It’s been said that Hawaii is the most isolated populated destination in the world to live, so that means to get anywhere from there, you are in for a long flight – around 5 1/2 hours.

And if you know anything about locals from Hawaii, the most important question to answer before you board any flight is, “What kine food we going take?” or translated from Pidgin, “What kind of food are we going to take on the plane?” Yes, local people from Hawaii love their food. When planning a party, the first topic to address is the menu. When going to spend the day at the beach, the only topic is, what are we taking for lunch and snacks? You get the idea.

So, what do locals take when going on a long flight, because you know, the airline food may just not be enough or may not be satisfying. From what I have seen, it can be anything from a full-on plate lunch to bags of “Hawaii-kine snacks.”

A plate lunch is usually a styrofoam container with 3 compartments filled to the brim with lots of white sticky rice, macaroni salad (the kind made with mayonnaise), and one or two or three or sometimes even more selections of local favorites like teri beef, shoyu chicken, fried mahi, and kalua pork, just to name a few. Or it could be the ever-famous Zip Pac from Zippy’s restaurant: rice with furikake (a seaweed and sesame seed condiment), spam, fried chicken, teriyaki beef, mahi mahi, and yellow daikon (an Asian pickled turnip that is fairly odorous but very tasty).

The possibilities are endless when it comes to plate lunches – from Hawaiian food to Filipino to Korean to Chinese, or how about a container of chili over white rice? Sure, you could bring a burger, but why? How about a manapua instead – a Chinese steamed bun (in China called a bao) filled with a red savory pork mixture – or everyone’s go-to snack – a spam musubi (a block of white rice topped with a slice of spam and wrapped in seaweed). By the way, be aware that the smell of your kim chee, if that’s part of your Korean plate lunch, might get a wrinkled-up nose from fellow non-local passengers. Kim chee is fermented cabbage, and cabbage alone has its own unique odor, but when fermented, well, it’s “ono” (delicious) but has a “perfume” all its own.

There are a couple of snacks foods though, that are no-no’s when it comes to being in a confined area. One is cuttlefish – dried squid – that will reek throughout the entire cabin of the airplane the minute it’s opened. It smells exactly like what it is – dried-up fish. Okay so squid is not technically a fish, but it comes from the ocean and has that fishy smell. The other is arare, also known as mochi crunch – a Japanese shoyu-flavored rice cracker. Why this expels such a strong scent into the air is not clear, but even in a movie theatre, if someone opens a bag of arare, everyone in the theatre knows. Now, locals don’t find these odors offensive in the least bit, but we adore spam and seaweed and anything and everything from the ocean, so the smells that gets our gastric juices flowing and our mouths watering, is probably not part of the mainstream.

For snacks in a bag, favorites include:

Red Li Hing Mui – dried plums (also called seeds) that have a sweet & sour, salty flavor

Fried Nori – tempura-battered and fried pieces of seaweed sheets

Hurricane Popcorn – popcorn and arare, sprinkled with furikake

Wasabe Green Peas – fried green peas with a crunchy wasabi (Japanese horse radish) batter

Almond Cookies – Chinese style

Oh, the possibilities are endless! In fact, how about this? Why not wear your snacks around your neck as a lei? Honestly, yes, we do that, too! How’s that for hands-free travel snacks?

© Linda Hohnholz

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