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A Taste of Hawaii: Loco Moco, Garlic Shrimp and Poke

Need some recipe ideas? Get some inspiration from the places to which SI Swimsuit has traveled.

Since we are all working from our couches, sitting in our PJs and snacking on whatever pantry staples we have left, some creative culinary inspiration may be needed. We here at SI Swimsuit are fortunate to have the opportunity to travel the world, taste local cuisines, sample delicious cocktails and spirits made famous by the regions we have visited and open our palettes to all the amazing flavors the world has to offer. I love nothing more than traveling to a locale and learning all about the regional cuisines and how to make them. Let’s take a look back at some of the places SI Swimsuit has traveled to and revisit the delicacies and drinks we have sampled along the way with some recipes to help you create them.

A few weeks ago we headed to New Jersey to learn about some local delicacies like pork roll and disco fries. Now let’s head across the U.S. and the Pacific to the island of Hawaii. Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places on earth, from the black sand beaches of Maui, to the mountains of Kauai, to the North Shore of Oahu -- it will blow you away in both scenery and food. SI Swimsuit has traveled to the islands 11 times, and over the years, I have had the pleasure of going to Hawaii on training trips in college and with my former roommate who, lucky for me, was born and raised in Oahu. From malasadas at Leonard's Bakery to poke I still dream about from Ahi Assassins, Hawaii has some of the most delicious food on earth and you can whip up a taste of Hawaii in your own kitchen, paradise not included.

Loco Moco - This comfort food made with ground beef, rice, a sunny side up egg and gravy is one of my favorite things to eat when in Hawaii. It was created in the 1940s at the Lincoln Grill in Hilo and has been a favorite ever since. It’s especially great in the morning with a nice cup of coffee and a tropical breeze on your face. If you’re stuck in the city like me, just make this recipe in your kitchen and stand in front of your AC unit (same thing, right?). This recipe is simple and is the perfect meal when you want something quick, satisfying and comforting.

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Photo courtesy of Just One Cookbook

Photo courtesy of Just One Cookbook

Garlic Shrimp - You have not tasted anything like Hawaiian garlic shrimp straight from a food truck (my favorite is Giovanni’s). It will leave you smelling like garlic for days, but it’s worth it. My former roommate made this once in our tiny New York City kitchen and the garlic scent stayed for weeks. Check out this recipe to make it at home, and if you’re heading to Hawaii soon, do not miss Giovanni’s.

Poke - The best poke I ever had was made in an Oahu strip mall at a place called Ahi Assasins. They quite literally cut the fish right in front of me, tossed it in some secret shoyu sauce, and placed it on some sticky rice. Now while you won’t get that fresh-from-Hawaii fish feel now, you can still whip this up in your home with some sushi grade Ahi tuna from your local seafood market (just be sure it’s sushi grade). This recipe is as close as I have come to replicating my Kaneohe experience. (Make a batch of some sticky rice for the full package.)