Monday, August 27, 2012

The Aloha spirit from a can

Before our trip to Kaua'i last week my wife went through the best guidebook about the island (known colloquially as the "blue book") and highlighted and bookmarked a number of places and restaurants she thought looked interesting. On our first morning on the island we went to breakfast at a place called the Kountry Kitchen—a little diner in the town of Kapa'a (on the east shore). Although the island isn't that big,  two lane roads, 25 MPH speed limits, construction, and morning "rush hour" made it take 40 minutes to get to the town where it was, Kapa'a. The wait at the restaurant was over half an hour (in part because of its popularity and in part because there were only about 15 booths in the entire dining area).

While we are far from natives, this was our third Hawaiian trip, so we were experienced. Of course, to the eye of the locals we certainly appear to be pure Haoles (and I suppose, technically, we are). Although I am not the most adventurous eater there are moments when I adopt a when-in-Rome attitude, and when I ordered my simple breakfast of eggs and hashed browns, for the accompanying pork product I chose an option popular on the islands that I never see on the menu back home: Spam.

Now, I'd grown up with that meat being prepared (sliced and fried in a skillet) probably at least once a month, and although I hadn't eaten it in longer than I can remember it wasn't any big deal in my mind. However, when I ordered that our waitress made a facial gesture and a sort of hum that clearly connoted being slightly impressed with my selection.

That wasn't what I was going for—I merely ordered what sounded good in that moment—but I must admit there was something satisfying about having gotten that reaction.

And I must admit: That Spam was the best part of the meal. How much of that was the mere taste and how much was nostalgia and how much was a tiny bit of not feeling like a complete tourist, who can say?

But the takeaway: If you want to fit in where the locals eat, order the Spam.

(If you really want to fit in, order rice instead of potatoes. But I didn't feel the need to fit in that much. I simply wanted hashed browns, which conceivably should be allowed whilst one is on vacation.)

1 comment:

  1. Don't forget to check out hamura's saimin place! It's a legit local spot! You kids have fun!


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