The Cuisine of Hawaii has a rich melting pot in how it is what it is today. With the Hawaiian Islands, the unique ingredients that fed the local inhabitants created a delicious backbone to the cuisine. Not all the ingredients were ‘local’ to the Hawaiian Islands but transplanted by the Polynesians, who brought with them sugarcane, sweet potatoes, yams, coconuts, and taro to name a few. Animals; chickens, pigs, cows, and other mammals also made the voyage to the islands, giving more than the coast, ocean, and shore could provide to the culinary bounty. What was native cuisine has now been influenced by the Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Korean, Puerto Rican, and Philippine archipelago. All these early explorers have infused different indigenous ingredients into the layers of food traditions | culture, cooking knowledge, culinary heritage to each plate of food served. From a restaurant or a family home, the Hawaiian food scene is celebrated for so many reasons. Now, add in the beer history, beer styles, and brewing knowledge into this cornucopia of food cultures, you get Hawaiian Beer Cuisine.
With recipes like Poke (Classic Poke, Wasabi Poke, Maui Poke, Spicy Tuna Poke) which use fresh fish to celebrate the days catch, to slow-roasted, in the ground, Tai and banana leaf-wrapped Kahlúa Pig, Hawaiian Style Teriyaki Beef Short Ribs, served with a Macaroni Salad, create lunch plates that derive from Japanese Bento Box ideals. Portuguese baking traditions influenced breads like Hawaiian Style Rolls and Guava Ginger India Red Ale Flavored Hawaiian Rolls, to the Chinese rice dishes like Spam Fried Rice, Chinese Style Sausage and Shrimp Rice, to Chinese-Style BBQ Pork used to make char siu bao. I’ve been inspired by the Hawaiian food culture to further the Hawaiian Beer Cuisine by creating a Thanksgiving feast attributed to the flavors of the Islands with recipes like Hawaiian Pineapple Mana Wheat Beer Brined Turkey or Dawn of the Red Polynesian Inspired Beer Brined Turkey, Polynesian Style Stuffing with Portuguese Linguiça Sausage, Polynesian Style Stuffing with Spam, and instead of a traditional gravy, I crafted a Roasted Pineapple Sauce, finishing with a Chocolate Coconut Porter Cream Pie.
Yet, what is a Hawaiian-inspired feast without a beverage? One of my favorite breweries in Hawaii is Maui Brewing Co. From Pineapple Mana Wheat Ale, Coconut Hiwa Porter, to their Big Swell IPA and Bikini Blonde Lager, all Owner and Founder Garrett Marrero brews bring a flavor of the tropics to each glass. If one is looking beyond beer, classic cocktails like Mai Tai Cocktail, Blue Hawaiian Cocktail, and Piña Colada can be made to accompany any Hawaiian meal. I used the flavors of the Hawaiian Islands, along with the Tiki culture, to craft Guava Coconut Foam, Passion Fruit Vanilla Coconut Foam, and Pineapple Orange Five-Spice Coconut Foam to make Beer Cocktails like Hawaiian Monk, Hoppy Lei, and the German Wave to bring the flavor and spirit to the Beer Pairing for a Hawaiian Feast!