Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Pig Leaves

Today's Hawaiian food treat was some specially prepared pork. It is first wrapped in Taro leaves (don't ask me what those are - maybe from Taro tree?), then an outer layer is wrapped using tea leaves. The whole thing is cooked (steamed?) for a long time. I am told this is typical food you can find at a Hawaiian Luau, to which I have never been. You remove the tea leaves and throw them away, but you eat the pork and taro leaves together.

This pork was served with some chicken soup, which had an unusual squash - it was clear. Also, rice and two kinds of kimchi that my friend's mother (she is Chinese) prepared for us. One was traditional style made from cabbage, and another what I think we called moo-kimchi (무김치) in Korea, it is made from turnips. At least I think it is turnips. In Korea, I saw fresh moo, tasted fresh moo, and had moo kimchi. But I was never 100% clear that a moo was a turnip, mainly because in America I almost never see nor eat a turnip - I wouldn't know one if it hit me on the head.

I will say that the combination of this pork and kimchi had an EXCELLENT flavor. I think now that kimchi with ANY pork makes an delicions combination.

Hawaiian Pork - with Outer Tea Leaves Posted by Picasa

Hawaiian Pork - with Inner Taro Leaves, Ready to Eat Posted by Picasa

Chicken Thigh and Squash Soup Posted by Picasa

I went to the store today to exchange my broken pepper shaker. It came as a set - salt and pepper together, so I went into the store with both of them to exchange. There was nobody at the desk, but two lady clerks were talking at a cash register with no customers. I explained my problem, the pepper shaker was broken. She said, no problem, and the lady by the cash register picked up the identical item, still wrapped in plastic, and handed it to me! I was shocked - how did she have the exact item I wanted right there at her register? Normally I would have to go find a replacement item on the shelf, and bring it to them for the exchange. They just smiled at my confusion, so I shook my head, thanked them, and left. Maybe the Hawaiian store clerks are reading my blog? Weird experience....

Let me wrap up today's post by elaborating some on the beauty here in Hawaii. During my earlier visits, I tried to photograph some of the scenery, but I was always disappointed in the results. You simply cannot capture the beauty of this island on film or a movie. For example, every day I drive along the rim of the most beautiful canyon. Just to catch a glimpse of it will take your breath away, much less to stop and spend a few minute enjoying the scene. The film just cannot capture the panorama of space, colors, smells, sounds of this sight. Especially it cannot capture the sinking feeling in your stomach as you stand on the edge of steep cliff looking over this vast and deep canyon.

Last night, I drove to work after dark, and when I arrived, my eyes were well adjusted to the night. When I got out of my car, I could not believe how many stars I could see in the Hawaiian night sky. Being on a small mountain, away from any other lights, and with a clear sky, the heavens looked like they were having a party. I saw what must have been the milky way, something I cannot see from my city, along with thousands and thousands of stars. I just stood and stared into the sky for about 5 minutes, it was so beautiful. And I didn't even consider getting the camera - no way to capture this experience. I will have to only remember it in my mind.

So to conclude, Hawaii definitely has some good points. And after over 15 trips here, I can still enjoy some of them.

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