Looking to give its passengers the most authentic taste of Hawaii, Hawaiian Airlines is taking some unusual(but totally logical) steps to give all passengers the true, unabated and uninhibited first class, Hawaiian experience.
Instead of offering typical the same “chicken or beef” that all airplane meals are usually comprised of, Hawaiian airlines will begin offering foods that truly reflects the diverse cultural backgrounds that make up Hawaii. The cuisine is largely influenced by the numerous cultures that has inhabited the islands. Polynesians were the originators followed by the Portuguese, Americans, African Americans, as well as Chinese and Japanese. As a result, the Hawaii you see today is a rich multicultural tapestry woven by all these different ethnic influences and frankly, we are the beneficiaries as the the food is a stark reflection of that.
From Banana Pancakes to Kare Kare beef, Hawaiian airlines’ meals highlight the tropical allure of Hawaii. You can feel and taste the exotic dimension of Hawaiian culture ranging from Japanese to Chinese to Filipino.
Kare Kare is particularly exotic. This Filipino beef stew is an homage to the Filipino influence on Hawaiian culture. What Hawaiian Airlines’ chef planners may not have known is that Kare Kare is itself a Filipino adaptation of an Indian curry dish. While Filipinos aren’t very big on spices, they did substitute the coconut/curry stock with a beef broth and peanut thick slurry paste. Indeed, the very name ‘kare kare’ is the Pinoy version of ‘curry curry.’ Kare kare beef is quite an ironic choice by Hawaiian Airlines. It aims to highlight Filipino culinary culture by highlighting a Pinoy dish with Indian/Malaysian roots. This definitely highlights the very multicultural and diverse world of global cuisine.
Besides kare kare beef, Hawaiian airlines features loco moco chicken and, most interestingly, spam musubi. Spam musubi is probably its most Hawaiian offering. Why? Spam musubi is a genuine fusion and adaptation of cultural culinary blending in the Hawaiian context. First, it is a nori-bound musubi. This, of course, is an obvious borrowing from Japanese cuisine. Next, spam. Spam is an all-American processed meat product that was supposed to withstand a long time of shelf storage without refrigeration. Loaded with salt and preservatives, it represents everything that’s so optimistic and strangely scary about US mass manufacturing technology and food culture. Short for ‘spiced ham,’ spam is more than ham, it is its own distinct product. Spam musubi’s spam component is a Hawaiian adaptation of Portuguese sausage. Finally, there’s the rice. This brings home the Asian component. All told, spam musubi tells the history of Hawaii in one nice, tasty, oh so delectable compact form.