Tasting the history of Hawaii

by Jon Cana, ABS-CBN News


SAN FRANCISCO — Hidden inside a secret location in San Francisco’s Mission District, the history of Hawaii came to life through an unlikely medium: a pop-up dinner.

Chef Eric Pascual and TV host Lanai Tabura, Fil-Ams with roots in the aloha state, recently collaborated for a unique dining experience entitled ‘Hawaii: a Culinary Crossroads.’

While pop up dinners may seem to be the latest hip and trendy activity, this one in particular is serving a history lesson of resilience and solidarity of different communities, including Filipinos.

Beginning in 1850, Hawaii’s plantation owners began importing labor, starting with the Chinese. To prevent laborers from organizing around causes like poor working conditions, plantations diversified their workforce, bringing in Japanese, Koreans, and eventually Filipinos.

Fast forward to today, and that same history is reflected in the night’s menu — from Chinese ginger chicken, Japanese katsu, Korean short rib kalbi, and Pinoy pinakbet and bibingka.

“There’s a story and history behind each dish. I wanna share my inspiration behind it, and the flavors are an experience through my interpretation,” said Chef Pascual.

Diners learned about the history behind each dish — stories of resilient immigrants that ultimately became the foundation for Hawaii’s cuisine and culture of today.

“Koreans gave us kalbi and kimchi and all these pickled vegetables. The Japanese gave us tempura and all these other things. The Filipinos gave us lechon and pork, and all different styles of vegetables. That’s where it all changed and became Hawaiian-style food.

“A lot of people they eat food on an everyday basis but they don’t know where it’s from,” said Tabura. “We have so much amazing food from Hawaii, but it’s not just from Hawaii, it’s from all these different ethnicities and the plantation days.”

While the temporary restaurant set up shop for just three nights, it left a lasting impression on its attendees, not just with its flavors, but with education as well.



7 Comments on this post.

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  • Santiago Del Mundo
    10 July 2017 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    About time we see some real story….”Tasting The History of Hawaii”… These is about real IMMIGRANTS…the most dedicated and hard working immigrants…too bad it was overshadowed by phony-shallow-self righteous stories of illegal immigrants…

    • h
      10 July 2017 at 11:01 pm - Reply

      @Santiago Del Mundo, funny how in the hell did the subject “Tasting The History of Hawaii” come up? As a food subject. I should know I live on the island of Maui, and my dad came to Maui in 1946 right after the war, to work for HC&S. And had live in the plantation camp, growing up with Hawaiians, Japanese, Filipino, Whites,Koreans,they use to cook in the back yard they BBQ and any dish they wanted to cook. Now if you want to talk about illegal people in Hawaii that is Filipinos, they said they are about 21,000 illegal Filipinos in Hawaii right now. So is that the subject that you was trying to comment on?

      • Arbi
        11 July 2017 at 11:21 am - Reply

        @h – lean back further and see if you can get the chair to flip. Uneducated Fool!

        • h
          12 July 2017 at 12:04 am - Reply

          @Arbi, why you are smart, can you talk good American English or you talk like a “DUMB” Filipino form Philippines. Why would you put comments down like, you smart. I’ll tell you something Filipino. And this is true we Americans can’t stand you Filipinos from Philippines, because you all think your smart, but do the shit jobs in America, because you all “STUPID.” No brains but like show you smart, but everyone laughing at you all. Can’t understand you all when you talk English. Even the food you all eat like “PIGS.”

          • Arbi
            12 July 2017 at 1:01 pm -

            H, you’re slow as molasses running uphill in January. Fool!

        • h
          12 July 2017 at 12:08 am - Reply

          @Arbi, forgot to tell you “GO FUCK YOURSELF ASS HOLE JERK.” And this is coming from a American. You ass hole.

          • Arbi
            12 July 2017 at 1:55 pm -

            continuing to live up to your reputation, an “absolute garbage”.