Eating Local in Hawaii: A Local Bite Update

Eating Local In Hawaii: A Local Bite Update :: Faulk Farmstead

Curious what I’ve been up to on this blogging hiatus?  Family:  Nurturing of relationships, bonding with kids…  VACATION!

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We were fortunate enough to spend 11 glorious days on the island of Kauai.  Gorgeous.  We snorkeled, swam, ATV’d (is that a word??), relaxed, and ate.  Yup, ate.  You KNOW food was on the top of my list!
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Almost 100 days ago, our family started on a challenge to eat locally.  Remember Local Bite?  Although we weren’t able to do so for the entirety of our vacation, it still played an important role in how we decided what and where we were going to eat.
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When we first visited Kauai back in 2011, we happened upon a local restaurant that specialized in local foods – out of this world local foods.  Would you believe I have spent the last three years dreaming about returning to that very place?  On this visit, it was a MUST that we returned to the Hukilau Lanai.  I will say – It did not disappoint!   After kicking it off with a cocktail of limoncello sweetened with local honey, my salad arrived – fresh local greens, candied macadamia nuts, fresh tomatoes, and a preserved lemon vinaigrette.  The crowning pride of the salad?  Fried local goat cheese.  Earthy and splendid.  For my entrée, fresh seafood of course!  Every single item was outstanding!
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For those visiting the island in search of local foods but don’t know where to start, I also found a great website while on the island: Kaua’i Grown.  This website is a helpful resource for those looking for local foods, whether it be for a farmers market, a restaurant featuring local foods, or a local farm.
One of the many great things on the island was the abundance of farmers markets.  On any given day, except for Sunday, you could find a farmers market selling local foods somewhere on the island.  The fresh fruit?  Out of this world.  We filled our bags with lychee, bananas, papayas, pineapples, and mangoes consistently throughout the week.  My breakfast on an almost-daily basis?  Fresh fruit and coffee, of course!
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Aside from the traditional farmers markets, there were also craft fairs galore where you could find local wares to purchase from their individual tents – handmade jewelry, woodwork, hand-sewn clothing…  Absolutely gorgeous.  My favorite find of the trip was at one of these very places.  There was a woman and her young daughter – likely the same age as my little homesteader – selling fresh lychee from their home property and…..  HONEY!  Yes!  Raw, local, Hawaiian honey.  The lady beamed with pride as she spoke of harvesting her own honey.  Her daughter grinned from ear to ear as her mother told me of how her young daughter was in charge of manning the smoker to calm the bees.  I was happy to oblige when she excitedly offered me a taste.  She explained that her honey may taste different from what I am used to – that it was darker and richer.  The taste was explosive in my mouth – like honey and molasses.  I snatched up a jar for $5 – a steal in my book, as I had never tasted anything like that before.  In hindsight, I wish I could go back and purchase all of it – it would have made her day and mine too!
Eating Local In Hawaii: A Local Bite Update :: Faulk Farmstead
Nearby our resort was a tiny market that sold beverages and freshly made Hawaiian fare.  The Pono Market.  Funny thing about this market?  When the hubs and I were on Kauai three years ago for our wedding, we needed a marriage license.  Our officiant that we had hired via phone had set us up an appointment to pick it up.  Her instructions?  Go to the Pono Market, head to the cashiers counter and ask for Mark.  He’ll take care of you.   Um…  We are going to a convenience market for our marriage license?  We walked into the tiny store full of curiosity – I saw coolers full of manufactured beverages.  A cool case filled with fish.  A hot section with freshly made kalua pig.  Oh, and the walls were covered with pictures of happy couples that had received their marriage licenses here.  Well, on a small island, things aren’t quite done the same as back home.  After that trip, I now drive around town with a bumper sticker on Lucy that reads “I got my marriage license at the Pono Market.”  No joke.  Ok, ok, I digress.  What was a leading up to?  Ah yes, local food.  In the cool case at the Pono Market was the best poke ever.  EVER, EVER, EVER.  For those that don’t know, poke is a Hawaiian raw fish salad.  While the husband prefers the traditional poke they sell there, the little homesteader and I devoured the spicy poke.  Raw ahi, onions (white and green), dressed in a delightfully creamy spiced sauce.  Our half pound of the spicy stuff lasted less than 24 hours.  Amazing stuff, there.  Nothing has come close.
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Although we were fortunate enough to be staying at a condo-type resort that included a full kitchen, the hardest part for me about eating while on vacation was not having MY kitchen.  It wasn’t feasible for me to purchase all of my normal cooking spices and condiments while on vacation – and I didn’t plan ahead to bring anything either. At least I know now what I will do differently next time when packing to make my culinary endeavors easier.  We DID, however, end up with more mahi mahi and ono than we could eat after my husband’s fishing trip off the island.  Really, can anything beat fresh fish?
Eating Local In Hawaii: A Local Bite Update :: Faulk Farmstead
Not the most appetizing cell phone pic, but trust me – this was AMAZING fish and tropical salad!
Overall, I feel that while we weren’t able to eat local 100% of the time, we did a dang good job with what we had.  We were able to embrace the local, in-season foods and center our eating around them.  Our kids were introduced to new foods and flavors – and they loved every bit of it.
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I’m curious…  What do YOU do when on vacation visiting another area to eat more local?  Do you pack local foods of your own?  Share with us in the comments!  I’m always looking for ways to improve this way of life!  🙂
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5 thoughts on “Eating Local in Hawaii: A Local Bite Update

  1. I am dreaming of Hawaii, what a beautiful view in my minds eye. I don’t particularly think of it as looking to eat local before, but I guess I do. I enjoy different experiences and that includes cuisine. I always thought that the idea of going away for a vacation was to experience the differences.

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