I have never written anything food related in my life but decided that I wanted to do so now to give people a “taste” of life here in Honolulu, Hawaii. Rather than talking about some fancy dish, I’ll talk about this particular food that we all know and have tried once in our lives…”POPCORN”.
Most people when they hear the word popcorn, associate it with the movies. It’s a staple snack that we all like to munch on while we’re watching our favorite flick. Some are purists that like to eat it plain, while others sprinkle on that cheese or garlic flavored seasoning; the rest just mix it with their favorite candy snack.
Here in Hawaii, what we like to do is to mix MOCHI CRUNCH (KAKIMOCHI) and FURIKAKE or LI HING seasoning with our popcorn.
Mochi crunch, or kakimochi (kah-kee-moe-chee) as we commonly call it, is a snack originally created in Japan; it’s a type of bite-sized Japanese cracker made from rice and coated with soy sauce. In Japan it’s normally called arare (ah-rah-ray) or senbei (sen-bay) and it usually comes in different shapes. It was introduced to Hawaii in the 1900’s by the Japanese plantation workers and has been a staple snack amongst the locals since then.
Furikake (foo-ree-kah-kay) is seaweed diced into tiny flakes mixed with sesame seeds, salt, sugar and seafood flavoring. It’s usually sprinkled on top of cooked rice for flavoring.
Li Hing was brought over to Hawaii by the Chinese plantation workers. Li Hing is dried, pickled plums seasoned in food coloring, licorice, salt and sugar and has also been a life-long snack here in Hawaii. It’s truly an acquired taste; the best way to describe it is it’s a combination of salty, sweet, sour, tart and tangy.
The coating on the plums is what most of us like the best about eating this snack, so much so, someone had the bright idea to just sell it in powder form. We usually sprinkle it on fruits, candy and shaved ice to give it added zest; others even concocted drinks with it.
I don’t know who started the trend or when it originated but someone in our lovely state decided to mix the two ingredients with popcorn and voila…it deliciously worked! The soft crunch of the popcorn, the hard crunch of the kakimochi, the scintillating taste of the li hing powder and the earthy flavor of the furikake…mmm…delicious! We even have ready made packets so that we don’t have to buy the ingredients separately.
For those who have a sweet tooth, this might not be for you because it’s more on the salty side. When I say salty, I mean more like when you eat a regular potato chip kind of salty. But this way of eating popcorn is commonplace in Hawaii when we’re at the movies or even chillin’ on the couch at home watching our favorite TV show.
It might not look too appealing but if you’re ever in Hawaii, give it a try. I always say, “Try first, complain later.” You might like it, you might not, either way you can at least tell your friends and family members that you got a little taste of Hawaii.