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Aug 2, 2007 07:44 PM

Hawaiian Ingredients???

I'm hosting a Polynesian dinner for my cooking club in a couple of weeks and working on the menu. We've never ventured into Island cuisine before, but it sounds like a wonderful idea for a poolside dinner.

Wondering where we might get some of the more unusual ingredients for some of the dishes...if they are even available in the area. The closer to the SF Valley the better...but hey, if we have to travel, we have to travel! I contacted 99 Ranch Market and the only ingredient they said they had was the Okinawa (purple) sweet potatoes.

Where might we find, if anywhere...

Hawaiian Sea Salt (the reddish colored one)


Taro Chips (bagged)

Aloha Shoyu (soy sauce)

Ti Leaves or Banana Leaves

Green Papayas

I'm sure the places to look are Asian Markets...I'm just not very familiar with any. Any suggestions for good "one stop shopping" spots?

Thanks very very much!


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  1. Can't help you with the rest of the ingredients, as I'm in NoCal, but in the Bay Area Trader Joe's is currently carrying both the red and black Hawaiian salts.

    1. Marukai market has taro chips, Aloha Shoyu and Hawaiian red sea salt at all their locations (downton Little Tokyo location at Weller Court you don't need to be a member to shop there).

      1 Reply
      1. re: monku

        Yeah, sounds like you might have some closer leads, but Marukai definitely has many of these (not sure about ti leafs)-- at least at the Gardena location. There's quite an extensive selection of Hawaiian items there. (It's a flat fee of $1 if you don't have a membership)

      2. Hawaiian Sea Salt (the reddish colored one) Depending on how fast you need it, it's for sale on Ebay from a number of sellers. (How do you use it???)


        Taro Chips (bagged) -- Bristol Farms sells these and I believe I've seen them at Whole Foods

        Aloha Shoyu (soy sauce)

        Ti Leaves or Banana Leaves -- Latin groceries

        Green Papayas -- Indian groceries

        2 Replies
        1. re: mar52


          I'm using the Hawaiian Sea Salt for Kalua Pork...rub the pork butt with the salt and liquid smoke, tie up in Ti leaves or Banana Leaves and seal in foil in a roasting pan in the oven. Never made it (can be made in crock pot also I've been told without the leavs). I understand the Hawaiian Salt has a milder flavor to it. For such a simple dish, I wanted to get the ingredients as authentic as possible.

          Thanks for the info!

          1. re: rowjo

            have done in the crock pot and the oven, never used the leaves but also use kosher rock salt. love it

        2. Isn't there a Hawaiian Market on Valley Blvd a few blocks west of San Gabriel?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Burger Boy

            It's called Hawaiian Market, but it isn't a Hawaiian market....mainly a Chinese market. Don't ask me why.

            1. re: monku

              It's called Hawaii market and it's Taiwanese.

              That said, the OP needs a Japanese market -- which are not in evidence in the SFV, more's the pity. However, a short drive to West LA (depending on timing, anyway) will render you at Nijiya, Safe-N-Save, or even Mitsuwa. Thai markets (try Bangluck on Sherman Way west of Coldwater Cyn) will have the green papaya, taro and banana leaves.

              99 Ranch in Van Nuys totally has banana leaves -- they're usually folded and on a styrofoam tray in an inconvenient corner of the produce section, or else you can get them frozen (this makes them turn black, like bananas themselves, but it still works), and they usually have taro, and I've seen green papayas there too. You must have got a real winner in the headcase dept. when you called over there...

          2. i'm from honolulu and can tell you that there is no native hawaiian dish with green papayas in it...but we do snack on slices of green mango dipped in shoyu/lemon juice/black pepper.
            an easy dish for you to make would be poke: cubes of ahi tuna, sliced onions and chopped scallions with a splash of shoyu and chili pepper water (everyone has their own take on it). lomilomi salmon is a cold salad --also easy and delicious--salt salmon (you can use lox), chopped tomato, scallions, onions, and a small can of tomato juice. good luck!

            2 Replies
            1. re: at4

              I think the green papaya dish was maybe Samoan or Fijian or from the Cook Islands(we're trying to get a couple of dishes from outside Hawaii that are still Polynesian). We are making Poke...that's why I wanted the Shoyu. I'm doing an "oven" Kalua Pig...some Tongan Otai fruit drink, macaroni salad (of course!), sticky rice, maybe some Okinawan sweet potatoes (I think that's a Sam Choy recipe), a recipe for macademia nut hummus (probably not very traditional...but I bet it's great with Taro chips!), some fresh pineapple/mango...

              I'm considering a Spam dish...maybe sam Spam Musubi. And we'll probably make Blue Hawaiian Cocktails...unless you have any other suggestions for a good Hawaiian cocktail (at least the Blue Hawaiians were concocted in Hawaii). Thought about getting some Hawaiian beer also...we usually have wine with our dinners...but that just doesn't seem appropriate for the menu.

              In our group, the hostess plans the menu, makes the main dish and usually something else. Then everyone else signs up for the other recipes so that it becomes like a potluck. Wanted to add another fish/seafood recipe...something grilled perhaps, but haven't found a recipe I really like. The lualuas look good, but maybe a little work intensive. We sometimes have dinners with really really complicated recipes...and I thought we should be a little more relaxed and kick back more for this dinner. The cool part will be using new ingredients and trying new dishes.

              thanks for the help!

              1. re: rowjo

                you can always do a pineapple wine and as far as another drink, i love lava flows