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Need ideas for a Hawaiian side dish

There is a Hawaiian-themed potluck on Sunday for which I am signed up to bring a side dish, but I seem to be drawing a blank on this one. I've done a bit of searching on the Internet, but all I seem to get are either things that require ingredients I can't really get here or things that just don't sound too appealing. What would be good to make for a Hawaiian side dish?

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    1. Don't know if you would call this a "side dish" or maybe an appetizer: Spam on a stick! The Hawaiians love their Spam. I cut it into cubes and thread it on wood skewers along with pineapple chunks, red onion, and green peppers. Slather it with teriyaki sauce and grill over charcoal. Can be made ahead of time and served warm or cold.

      Another idea--more of a side dish--might be bacon fried rice. Google for recipes.

      1. Is the side dish supposed to be veggie based, a salad, or just something other than "main dish"?

        My mom makes a yummy cold noodle salad with the somen noodles (think angel hair spaghetti), sliced cucumbers, and a dressing made with sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar (I start with equal parts of the liquids, add sugar to taste and then adjust until I'm happy).

        Fruit salad with pineapple would be nice. Or you could make a Waldorf salad but mix coconut milk into the whipped cream.

        It could just be because my memories of visiting relatives in Hawaii involved going to this little bakery with the best creampuffs -filled with custard, not whipped cream - but you could bring mini creampuffs.

        What's more Hawaiian than Spam? There have to be a million Spam recipes out there! You can make Spam musubi by taking a slice of Spam (cut it in half to make mini musubi) and placing it over a block of rice and then wrapping nori over it. Oh, pan fry the Spam first.

        1 Reply
        1. re: leanneabe

          I don't think anyone is going to be too picky about what I bring. I actually thought about Spam musubi as a possibility, and I do happen to have some Spam around the house I've never figured out what to do with, so I might give that a try.. I'm not sure how many people out there associate Spam with the islands though...

        2. macaroni potato salad. It is standard on most plate lunches.

          1 Reply
          1. re: septocaine_queen

            On a sort of salad-related note, I've made this potato-crab salad before and everyone really liked it. The description claims it's a standard on lunch plates in Hawaii, but the comments disagree a bit. Either way, it was definitely a hit when I served it.


          2. How "traditional" are you supposed to be? Is it "true" hawaiian food (ie poi, squid luau), more post contact (lomi salmon, pickled onions) or contemporary (teri steak, mac salad). Sweet potatoes are not widely known to be hawaiian, but were a staple - almost as much as poi, for most polynesians, especially the purple variety (purple once you cook them). They are more commonly known as Okinawan sweet potato now.

            1. http://alohaworld.com/ono/index.php - ho brah... plenny kine kau kau hea

              http://www.alohafriendsluau.com/recip... - all da regular kine luau stuffs

              http://www.hisurf.com/Luau/Luau2.html - da kine luau stuffs

              Can get long rice whea you stay or wot? Oh... you prolly know 'em as "Rice Noodle" If can, den chicken long rice stay real popular, dat or da sweet potato like i wen say in da oddah posting. but get plenny kine stuffs in dose links.

              3 Replies
              1. re: KaimukiMan

                lomi lomi salmon, chicken long rice, ahi poke iz ono! i say "all pau!" =) okay so i wasn't born there but i've lived and returned there enough to get by (hahaha well, not enough.. i could stay forever hahah)...

                another take on the spam musubi (used to eat spam, but now i don't), would be portuguese sausage musubis... i actually like mine with furikake in the middle with the sausage...

                1. re: KaimukiMan

                  *checks Altavista for a Pidgin -> English translator*

                  Long Rice is something that is readily available around here, and I've got most of the ingredients for that on hand, so that might be worth a try. Tanks eh?

                2. As others have noted, there really are a variety of things you could make that qualify as "Hawaiian," as there are a lot of influences in the Islands -- Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Portuguese, in addition to foods that are native.

                  Do you know what the host is making as a main dish?

                  I have a couple of Hawaiian cookbooks [The Foods of Paradise by Rachel Laudan and 50th Anniversary Best of our Favorite Recipes 1946-1996 from the Maui Association For Family and Community Education], and if I were you, I'd probably go with a side dish that was more Asian in nature. Spam musubi or macaroni salad would be fun, but might not be the best compliment to the main dishes served by the hosts.

                  Both of the books that I have contain recipes for greens with sesame-soy dressing. Here's one recipe:

                  1 lb greens (watercress, spinach, etc.)
                  1 T. sesame seeds, lightly toasted to bring out aroma
                  1 T. sugar
                  2 T. soy sauce
                  1 T. mirin.

                  Blanch greens very briefly in salted, boiling water. Drain immediately. When cool, squeez out excess water. Mix sesame seeds, sugar, soy and mirin in a bowl. Adjust quantities to taste. Add to greens and toss. Serve at room temperature. Serves 4.

                  Other side-dish recipes common to both books are tempura sweet potatoes, several dishes with lotus root, burdock and daikon, and as noted by another poster, dishes make with Okinawan sweet potatoes.

                  A good fruit salad featuring Hawaiian fruits (pineapple, banana, papaya, guava, passionfruit, etc.) would be really nice.

                  And of course, there is always steamed rice -- but hopefully the hosts are making this.

                  Sure you can't do a dessert instead? You could make shave ice or malasadas.