Posted by Jo W. in , | 9:24 AM No comments
I still have a ton of pictures to share from my Hawai'i trip. Of scenery, friends, sea turtles, candids. Today, however, I'll just focus on the food. I'll get to the other stuff later, I promise. Kind of. Eventually.

I just like to talk about food, okay?

The first night we were in Kona, we wanted to find a little hole in the wall for some authentic Polynesian food. After hanging around at a small beach, we were getting hungry. It took us a while to find a place to eat. At first, we tried to find a restaurant called Rappanui. It turned out to be a tiny place in a strip mall, and couldn't accommodate a large party. So we had to look for an alternative. We ended up asking a local for a recommendation. This is a risky strategy, because his recommendation took us to a rather interesting place. I would have never considered going there, had he not have recommended it.

We were led to a tiny tiny kava bar, Kanaka Kava, tucked behind some larger restaurants on the busy street. We squeezed into a long, narrow table booth and the charismatic hostess offered us a bowl of kava. Being ignorant and excited for some Hawaiian enculturation, we ordered a big bowl of kava for the group.

Has anyone had kava before? Let's just say the flavor was very earthy. Like dirt. Bitter, bitter dirt. Mouth-numbingly bitter. Kava is a drink used by natives and hippies for relaxation, socializing, rituals, etc. Kind of like drinking booze. It has sedative and anesthetic properties, but apparently kava relaxes you, but doesn't impair mental clarity.

The worst part was we had that HUGE bowl of it, and it was expensive! I'm pretty open-minded, so although I didn't enjoy the taste, I kept drinking it to try to understand this stuff. I'm pretty tolerant to funky, strong, bitter tastes. After a while, my mouth felt numbed enough that the taste didn't bother me (don't know if that's a good thing or not). The rest of the group wasn't that receptive to the kava-drinking, and only a few of us ended up drinking the majority of it.

We were there for the food, though, and were told that the pupu platters were the thing to get. There was one with kalua pork, and a vegetarian platter. Since we wanted to try a variety of foods, we ordered two pupu platters with meat, and one veggie one.

This platter had kalua pork, taro, purple sweet potato, tuna poke, poi. They also came with salads, which had a delicious dressing. Everything was yummy, and we were so hungry that we cleaned every plate. I thought the taro was especially good, and the kalua pork eaten with poi.

This was one of the most memorable meals I had in Hawaii. It was an interesting experience, and I got to sample a variety of Polynesian/Hawaiian foods.


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