WHAT I ATE ON VACATION

 

with a Recipe for Deep Fried Crawfish Musubi

 

Because we are so consumed lately with the building of our empire,  the Wife and I decided that we would only take the family on one vacation this year.  Sooooooooooo, we made sure it was a really, really good one.

 

Maui Wowee Baby!

Maui Wowee Baby!

 

 

And at times,  on these grand leaves of absence,  it can be rather difficult for me to sacrifice decent meals for the “greater good”.  Of course that greater good being the management of a 2-year-old who needs to nap everyday,  a 12-year-old who would survive on chips and cookies if I let him,  and perfectly lovely in-laws who just want to spoil these children.  Oh, and the Wife/Co-Manager of all of this Goodness.

 

 

Kids and In-Laws

 

 

But, after one too many previously frozen croissants at the resort, something had to give.  Luckily for me, and because my family appreciates good food too, I got to roam around a bit and get a taste of the yummy local stuff.

Here are a few highlights.

 

Leoda's

This awesome place is just East of the town of Lahaina off of the Honoapiilani Highway.  I ate here THREE times in one week.  The Wife was so smitten with the super fresh Ahi Tuna Sandwich (pictured at top) that we had to get her another on our way to the airport.  The Reuben Lumpia (right middle) was such a cool idea that it has inspired me to create my own messed up lumpia at the restaurant.  I’ll keep ya’ posted on that one.  And, the super-garlicky Pork Hoagie (bottom right) with provolone and stir-fried Choy Sum was my favorite.  Dress anything with garlicky pork drippings and I’m there!

 

In fact,  we were so taken with this place that we celebrated the 2-year-old’s birthday with one of their ridiculous Banana Cream Pies.

Cha Cha B Day

We also sipped on a local winery’s version of Pineapple Wine at our little impromptu party which was actually pretty good with the pie.

 

From a place simply called The Fish Market,  I enjoyed THE BEST Ahi Poke of my life!

 

Ahi Poke

 

 

If you’re hanging out in downtown Lahaina make sure to skip the crappy chain restaurants hugging the coast and hogging the ocean views,  by heading to Aloha Mix Plate.  Solid, local cuisine.  Extremely reasonably priced.  Aaaaand amazing ocean views.

 

Aloha Mix Plate

Yes, in case you weren’t sure,  “mix plate” means it’s time to get your carbs on.  Every plate comes with a prepared meat, 2 scoops of rice and a scoop of macaroni salad.  The Mochiko Chicken (bottom left) was addictive in a General Tso’s sorta way.  The Laulau (top right) is a personal fave.  Kalua Pig was piled up on a sandwich with Guava BBQ (bottom right).

 

And speaking of Kalua Pig,  we made it to a really fun Luau where we got to see the pig being unearthed!

kalua pig copy

 

 

By far the most BOMB meal we had was at Star Noodle.  Though I might be a little biased as the the kitchen is manned by fellow Filipino Chef Sheldon Simeon.

 

Garlic Noodles

More Star Noodles

Starting from the top and going clockwise:  Garlic Noodles,  a stellar version of Banh Xeo,  Chicken Teriyaki,  Prawn Tempura,  Pork Belly Buns,  Pohole Salad.  Everyone thoroughly enjoyed everything. My only regret is that I didn’t make it back there,  sans kids. Next time!

 

But probably by far the most iconic Hawaiian treat that the kids and I enjoyed was Musubi.

 

Spam Musubi

 

The standard musubi consists of a slice of fried Spam, rice and nori.  But we tried other flavors too:  Teriyaki Chicken, Egg and Spam, Fried Shrimp.  I thought they were all just OK.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Growing up a Pacific Islander, I am no stranger to Spam as we always had plenty of salty canned meats in our pantry.  Vienna sausages,  potted meat,  canned tuna and of course,  good ol’ Spam were always stockpiled at our casa.

Canned Meats

 

 

 

Hell, it can’t be that bad if Superstar Chef Roy Choi is the spokesperson for the stuff!

Roy Choi and SPAM

 

 

And have I ever mentioned that I have shared a meal or two with the actual heir to the Spam throne himself?

 

Jim Hormel

James Hormel

 

Yep, the man himself,  not to mention our first openly gay U.S. Ambassador.  Jim and his partner at the time were big fans of my crab cakes back in my fine dining days.  A lovely man indeed.

 

 

Anyway,  as I was munching on my Summer holiday musubi and kept wishing it was better,  I decided that I should make my own eff-ed up version.  So here is my Filipina Y’at rendition of the stuff.  I can guarantee that if you decide to make this yourself it will be:

1.  Delicious.

2.  Not necessarily good for you.

3.  A bit of a pain in the ass to make,  but much cheaper and easier than flying to Hawaii.

 

 

Deep Fried Crawfish Musubi

You don’t have to put the fried slices of Spam in these, but I actually like the stuff and the saltiness plays nicely with the plainness of the rice.  This recipe should make 6 full size musubi which is an ample snack or sliced up, appetizers for 8 or so.  

 

Before you begin, you’re gonna need one of these:

sushi press

This is a rectangular sushi press.  If you live in an area where you have access to Asian markets (particularly Japanese) then you are in luck. I’ve also seen them in the occasional grocery store as well.

 

For the Musubi you will also need:

1 Batch Crawfish Filling (recipe follows)

Six 1/4″ Slices Spam,  Fried until Crispy

About 4 Cups Cooked Short-Grain Rice

Six Strips of Nori

2 Cup Rice Flour

2 Eggs Beaten

2 C Breadcrumbs, preferably Panko

To assemble,  lightly oil the inside of the press.  Place a strip of nori inside press.  Place a slice of Spam on bottom of press.  Place about a 1/3 cup cooked rice on top of spam.  Place about 1/4 cup crawfish filling on top of rice.  Top crawfish filling with another 1/3 cup rice.  Wrap nori around the musubi.  Chill musubi for about 20 minutes.

 

musubi production

Crawfish Musubi

 

Lightly press musubi in rice flour, then coat in egg wash,  then press into bread crumbs.  Deep fry in 350* oil of your choice until golden brown,  about 3 minutes.

 

Fried Crawfish Musubi

 

Crawfish Filling

1/2 LB Whole Crawfish Tails, Chopped Coarsely

1 TSP Minced Garlic

3 TB Minced Scallion

1/4 C Cream Cheese

1 TSP Sriracha

1 TB Sambal Oelek

Salt to taste

Mix together and keep chilled until ready to use.

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2 comments on “WHAT I ATE ON VACATION”

  1. avatar
    Jenny Reply

    Looks like a wonderful vacation! Do you know where one might be able to find crawfish in San Francisco? What do you think of the quality of frozen crawfish tails? Are they tasty enough to use?

    • avatar
      brenda Reply

      Jenny,

      You can find decent frozen crawfish tails at Sun Fat Seafood in the Mission. They should work fine for this recipe since the tails are being made into a spicy filling for the musubi. I have not seen fresh whole crawfish or local crawfish tail meat in any retail markets here is SF.

      🙂 Brenda

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