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Ethnic Food



"Food is our common ground, a universal experience."
James Beard

Beard on Food (1974)

"A good breakfast is no substitute for a large dinner."
Chinese Proverb

Bao Ji: stuffed steamed or baked buns (manapua)
Bird's Nest Soup: congealed bird saliva, cooked in chicken broth
Black Bean Sauce: fermented black beans with ginger, garlic, rice wine and other
Bok Choy: a mild-flavored vegetable similar to celery
Char Siu: thick Chinese barbecue sauce of soybeans, honey, vinegar, tomato
              paste, chilis, garlic and other spices - used with grilled meats
Chop Suey: literally means odds and ends - served with rice or soy sauce
Chow Fun: wide, stir-fried noodle
Chow Mein: stir fried meat or vegetables served over crispy noodles
Chung Choy: preserved turnip
Congee: rice soup or porridge
Crack Seed: dried fruits mixed with salt, sugar and seasonings
Dim Sum: dumplings that are steamed, baked, or fried (many varieties)
Egg Rolls: deep fried mixtures of bits of pork, shrimp, and chopped vegetables in
              noodle wrapper
Five Spice: a variable combination of Star anise, cinnamon, and other spices
Fu Young: scrambled dishes
Gai Kew: baked or stir-fried chicken breast
Gau: sticky sweet rice cakes
Har Kew: fried jumbo shrimp with mushrooms and mixed vegetables
Hoisin Sauce: a thick sweet and pungent condiment of soybeans, peppers, garlic,
              vinegar and chilis
Hong Choi: Chinese parsley (coriander/cilantro)
Hor Fun: fried broad, thick rice noodles
Hot & Sour Soup: made with thin pieces of vegetables or meats, hot pepper, and
Hot Pot: foods cooked in a vessel of boiling broth at the table
Jai: monks food - a vegetarian dish
Jook: very bland rice soup (congee)
Kew: large size chunks of chicken, shrimp, or steak
Kung Pao: meat or tofu stir-fried with peanuts, mixed vegetables & chili peppers
Li Hing Mui: preserved plum
Lo Mein: wheat noodles similar to spaghetti
Lung Har: lobster
Lup Cheong: sweet, oily sausage
Lychee: fruit with sweet, smooth flesh
Mein: thin wheat noodle
Mantu: plain steamed buns
Mei Fun: thin rice noodles similar to vermicelli
Mein: thin wheat noodles
Mongolian Beef: sliced beef stir-fried with garlic, soy sauce, and scallions
Moo Goo Gai Pan: fresh mushrooms cooked with sliced chicken
Moo Shu: shredded vegetable mixture stir-fried with egg or meat in a rice pancake
Orange Sauce: made from cooked orange rind
Oyster Sauce: made from soy sauce, wine, starch and sometimes oysters
Peking Duck: roasted duck breast in a pancake with scallions and hoisin sauce
Plum Sauce: made from plums, bell peppers, sugar, vinegar, ginger & spices
Pot Stickers: meat or vegetable-filled noodle dumplings
Sa Cha: Taiwan sauce of shrimp, fish, peanuts, onion, garlic, chili peppers & spices
San Shien: a dish with 3 major ingredients, such as chicken, shrimp, and beef
Shrimp Toast: deep fried toast with shrimp, scallions and egg yolk
Siu Mai: steamed dumplings filled with ground pork
Soy Sauce: made from soybeans, wheat, salt and fermenting organisms
Spring Rolls: deep fried mixture of pork, shrimp, vegetables, bean thread,
              wrapped in rice noodle
Tofu: soft, moist soybean curd
Tow Goo: straw mushrooms
Water Chestnuts: crisp, bland edible tuber of an aquatic plant
Won Ton: deep fried stuffed dough
Won Ton Soup: pork dumplings floating in a salty clear broth flavored with herbs
Wor Ba: indicates an item served over "sizzling" rice
Yat Gaw Mein: thick, light-colored wheat noodles served in hot broth or a sauce
Yu Hsiang: a sweet, hot, spicy garlic sauce

Regional Cuisines:
Cantonese: Southern Chinese cooking of Canton Province characterized by subtle
Hunan: Northern regional cooking of Hunan Province - dishes are steamed,
              simmered, stewed or fried
Mongolian: characterized by boiled meats, milk products, limited vegetables,
                absence of fish
Peking: prevalence of wheat noodles, steamed dumplings, food wrapped in
Szechwan: West-Central Chinese cooking characterized by dishes seasoned with
                hot chili peppers

Chinese Restaurants on: Big Island | Oahu | Maui | Kauai


"Eat until the lips protrude."
Philippine Proverb

Achara: pickled papaya
Adobo: pork or chicken in a vinegar and garlic sauce
Apritada: pork with pimento and garbanzo beans
Bangus: grilled milkfish stuffed with vegetables
Bagoong: pungent, salty shrimp or fish paste
Balatong: mungo beans and pork
Bibinka: coconut candy bars
Bitter Melon: spiny gourd - definitely bitter
Bunuelos: fried dumplings rolled in sugar
Caldereta: goat stew made in a spicy tomato base
Dinorado: reddish-colored mountain-grown rice having a nutty flavor
Dinuguan: stew of park, pork blood, tuba, vinegar, and sometimes intestine
Ginataan: salty vegetable soup made with mung beans, onions, coconut milk,
              fish, and fish paste
Gisantes: pork, tomatoes and peas
Halo Halo: dessert of coconut milk, ice, and fruits
Kaong: seeds from palms, pounded into butter or boiled
Kinilaw: raw tuna or other seafood prepared with tuba, vinegar, garlic, ginger and
               hot peppers
Kare Kare: beef stew in a peanut broth
Leche Flan: custard
Lechon: roast pig prepared in the Filipino style
Lumpia: appetizer similar to spring roll
Menudo: a stew made with pork, tomato sauce, and vegetables
Morcon: beef roll with sausage, eggs, carrots, and pickles
Pancit: egg or rice noodles 'n stuff
Patis: liquid fish sauce
Pinacbet: vegetables with shrimp or pork
Pinakbet: okra, string beans, tomatoes, shrimp paste simmered with fish or pork
Pochero: chicken and banana stew
Puto: steamed cup cakes made with sticky rice flour and coconut milk
Sarciado: meat or seafood in tomato sauce
Sinigang: white fish, shrimp or meat soup seasoned with horseradish
Tuba: The fermented juice of the coconut palm flower
Tupig: dessert of mochi rice flour and coconut milk

Philippine Restaurants on: Big Island | Oahu | Maui | Kauai | Molokai


"What you have, eat."
Hawaiian Proverb

Ahi: yellowfin tuna
Aku: skipjack or bonito tuna
Alaea: a type of sea salt containing reddish clay, rich in trace minerals
Butterfish: black cod
Chicken Luau: chicken cooked with taro leaf and coconut milk
Chili Water: mild all-purpose condiment
Haupia: coconut pudding
Kalua Pig: barbecued pork, cooked whole in an imu (underground oven)
Kaukau: a Pidgin Hawaiian word meaning food
Kiawe: wood of the algaroba tree used in cooking
Kulolo: taro pudding
Laulau: pork, butterfish, beef or chicken wrapped in taro leaf and steamed in an
              imu (underground oven)
Lilikoi: passion fruit
Limu: seaweed
Loco Moco: a fried egg on top of a hamburger on top of a pile of rice - all
              smothered in brown gravy!
Lomilomi Salmon: cold diced salmon, tomatoes and onion
Long Rice: cellophane noodles made from mungbean flour
Luau: a Hawaiian feast, named for the taro tops served
Mahimahi: dolphin fish (unrelated to the mammal)
Manapua: Chinese-style filled steam buns
Maui Onion: mild white onion, with sweetness similar to a Vidalia onion
Moi: threadfish
Naau: stewed beef intestines
Ohelo Berry: bright red, similar to a huckleberry
Ohelo: plant with edible berries
Onaga: red snapper
Ono: similar to mackerel or tuna
Opakapaka: pink snapper
Opihi: island limpets
Paina: the ancient name for a Hawaiian feast also referred to as a luau
Pipi Kaula: Hawaiian beef jerky
Plate Lunch: a meal consisting of an entree and lots of starch
Poha Berry: very tart, similar to a gooseberry
Poi: staple starch of the Hawaiian diet, made from boiled taro root
Poke: raw fish with seaweed and sesame oil
Puaa: pig or pork
Pupu: appetizer, hors d'oeuvre
Saimin: ramen-like noodle soup of local invention
Shave Ice: freshly shaved ice drenched in a sweet syrup - lighter and flakier than a
               snow cone
Spam: Hawaii's favorite canned meat - the less said, the better
Taro: a tuberous vegetable used to make poi
Uhi: yam
Uku: grey snapper

Hawaiian Restaurants on: Big Island | Lanai | Oahu | Molokai | Maui | Kauai
Our Luaus Index


"He whose belly is full believes not him who is fasting."
Japanese Proverb

Ahi: yellow fin tuna used for sushi
Amazu Shoga: pickled ginger, sliced thin
Arare: crisp rice crackers seasoned with soy sauce
Azuki: sweetened red or black beans
Bento: a take-out picnic meal
Daikon: a member of the turnip family (similar to radish)
Edamame: whole boiled soybeans
Fugu: raw blowfish with poisonous parts
Furikake: a flavoring accent of seaweed, salt, sesame
Harusame: cellophane noodles made from mung beans
Hijike: seaweed leaves used in soups and salads
Kamaboko: fish cake made from white fish
Kanten: gelatin dessert made out of seaweed
Katsudon: fried pork cutlet
Kombu: seaweed processed as a cooked noodle
Kuromame: black beans
Maki-sushi: sushi items rolled up in seaweed
Manju: sweet bean paste buns
Mirin: sweetened rice wine
Miso: thick fermented soybean paste
Mochi: also called sweet or sticky rice (made into cakes)
Musubi: rice ball wrapped in seaweed
Nabeyaki Udon: wheat noodles in hot broth topped with vegetables & seafood
Namasu: salad of vegetables in a vinegar sauce
Nigiri Sushi: molded rice balls topped with raw fish
Nishime: vegetables with pork or chicken
Nori: dried, compressed seaweed
Okazu-ya: "Okazu" means side dish - "Ya" means shop.
              Casual storefront restaurants serving carry-out foods that reflect the ethnic
              mix of the Islands
Okonomi Yaki: an omelet or pancake with highly variable toppings
Onaga: ruby snapper
Panko: flour meal used for breading
Ramen: slender wheat noodles in broth topped with meat, vegetable, or seafood
Saimin: noodle soup
Sake: rice wine
Sansho: a ground spice from a type of prickly ash shrub
Sashimi: thin slices of very fresh salt water fish
Sekihan: rice and red beans
Senbei: sweet rice crackers
Shabu Shabu: meat and vegetables in a simmering broth
Shiitake: large mushrooms with dark caps
Shira Ae: vegetable and tofu salad
Shoyu: a salty liquid flavoring made from soybeans (soy sauce)
Shumai: small steamed dumplings
Soba: slender buckwheat noodle
Somen: thin and delicate rice noodles
Suimono: clear fish stock soup
Sukiyaki: meat, bean curd, vegetables cooked in soy sauce and sugar
Sushi: cold vinegar rice garnished with raw fish
Tako: octopus
Takuwan: pickled daikon or turnip
Tamari: an aged, fermented soy sauce
Tempura: vegetables, meat, or seafood quick-fried in light egg batter
Teppanyaki: style of dining where chefs cook food at your table
Teriyaki: soy based, sweet and salty flavoring used on beef, chicken and other
Tobiko: orange-reddish roe of the flying fish
Tofu: white soybean curd
Tonkatsu: breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet
Tsukemono: pickled vegetables
Udon: thick wheat noodles
Umeboshi: very salty, sun-dried, long-aged, pickled sour plums
Unagi: eel
Wakame: dried seaweed reconstituted and used in salads or soups
Wasabi: similar to horseradish but green and hotter
Yaki Tori Kushi: chicken on a stick

Japanese Restaurants on: Big Island | Oahu | Maui | Kauai


"Eating is Heaven."
Korean Proverb

Bulgogi: gingery barbecued beef
Bap: steamed rice
Bibimbap: rice and vegetables topped with grilled meat, chili paste, & fried eggs
Chap Chae: stir-fried vegetables, meat, and noodles
Chigae: hot soup or stew of various mixed ingredients
Chop Chae: stir-fried noodles and vegetables with soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil,
              sugar and meat
Chun: vegetables, meat, or fish quick-fried in a light egg batter
Daegu: codfish
Dak: chicken
Doenjang: fermented soy bean paste
Gook: a broth-like soup with rice
Kal Bi: barbecued short ribs marinated in a shoyu and sesame blend
Kang Jang: flavored soy sauce
Kim Chee: heavily seasoned pickled vegetables
Kochu Jang: chili pepper sauce
Kogi Guk: beef soup
Kook Soo: noodles in broth with meat and vegetables
Maeuntang: very spicy soup
Mandu: stuffed dumplings, similar to won ton
Naengmyon: cold buckwheat noodles
Namul: salad of lightly cooked vegetables
Nurm Juk: meat, kim chee, and vegetables on skewers
Pul Goki: Korean-style barbecued beef
Saengsun Chun: fried fish
Sangchu Sam: rice ball with hot sauce
Sinsollo: meats and vegetables in a broth
Songphyun: pastry filled with bean paste
Taegu: seasoned dried codfish
Won Bok: pale cabbage
Yak Kwa: deep fried dessert rolled in honey
Yak Phab: dessert of sweet rice, nuts, seeds and dried fruit
Yakiniku: style of dining where you cook food at your table
Yook: beef

Korean Restaurants on: Big Island | Oahu | Maui | Kauai


"Food is an important part of a balanced diet."
Portuguese Proverb

Acorda: bread soup
Arroz Doce: sweet rice
Bacalhau: codfish cakes
Braoas: round sugar cakes
Broa: cornbread
Bulo Do Mel: honey cakes
Caldeirada: seafood stew
Caldo Verde: kale and potato soup
Feijao: beans
Linguica: spicy pork and red pepper sausage
Malassadas: sweet doughnuts - sans hole
Morcela: blood sausage
Pao Doce: sweet bread made with eggs and butter
Peri Peri: a hot and sour sauce made of hot chili peppers, garlic, onions, tomatoes,
              horseradish, and lemon juice
Pudim Flan: custard
Sabula de Vinha: pickled onions
Soupa de Feijao: bean soup
Vinha D' Alhos: fish or pork in vinegar and garlic


"Food is the most primitive form of comfort."
Puerto Rican Proverb

Arroz Con Pollo: rice with chicken
Adobo: simmered chicken or pork in a marinade sauce of vinegar, garlic, pepper,
              and chilis
Bacalao: salted codfish
Chicharrones: deep-fried pork skin
Gandules: pigeon peas
Lechon Asado: roast suckling pig
Mofongo: mashed fried plantain with pork rind
Paella: casserole of saffron-flavored rice, meat, seafood and vegetables
Pasteles: banana paste and pork or beef wrapped in corn husk or ti leaf and boiled
Pastelillos: fried ground beef turnovers
Pescado en Escabeche: pickled fish
Polvorones: a cookie
Ponque: pound cake
Recaito: mild green seasoning mixture made from peppers, cilantro, and garlic
Sancocho: vegetable stew
Serenata: codfish salad
Sofrito: a thick sauce produced by sautéing a variety of vegetables, herbs, spices,
              then adding tomato sauce
Sopa Borracha: sponge cake with rum sauce

Puerto Rican Restaurants on: Oahu | Maui


"Eat standing, eat walking."
Samoan Proverb

Esi Fafao: baked papaya stuffed with beef
Palu Sami: taro leaves baked in coconut cream
Pee Pee: coconut cream
Poi Olu: breadfruit poi
Povi Masima: salted beef brisket
Taufolo: mashed breadfruit and coconut milk


"To eat is human, to digest - divine."
Thai Proverb

Bahmi: egg noodle made with wehat flower
Banh: ribbon-shaped rice noodles
Bhet: duck
Blah: fish
Bu: crab
Gaeng: curry
Gai: chicken
Galangal: aromatic vegetable in the ginger family
Geow: won ton
Goong: shrimp
Grapao: sweet basil leaf
Gratiam: garlic
Guay Tiew: fried flat rice noodles
Gwaytio: wide, flat noodles
Hoi Oab: steamed mussels
Hom Pah: shrimp wrapped in fried wonton
Kai Yat Sai: pork stuffed omelets
Kana: the leafy greens of Chinese broccoli
Kao: rice
Karee: yellow curry
Kati: coconut
Keaw Nam: spicy wonton soup with pork and vegetables
Kee Mao: noodles with fresh basil leaf
Khai: egg
Khiao Wan: green curry
Khing: ginger
Krung Gaeng Ped: pork and vegetable curry
Lad Na: stir-fried rice noodles with meat and broccoli
Larb: chicken salad with onion and lemon juice
Ma-Muang: mango
Med Ma-Muang: cashew nuts in a sir-fry
Mee Krob: salad with fried noodles
Moo: pork
Muk: squid
Nam Pla: fish sauce
Nam Prik: hot sauce
Neau: beef
Phak: vegetables
Phed: hot, spicy curry
Satay: beef, pork, or chicken on skewers with peanut sauce
Saparod: pineapple

Sticky Rice: a dessert of rice and syrup with mango
Takrai: lemongrass
Talay: mixed seafood
Tom Yum: spicy lemongrass soup with shrimp and meat
Takaw: tapioca - coconut cream dessert
Woon Sen: beanb thread
Yum Nua: grilled beef salad with onions and lemon

Thai Restaurants on: Big Island | Oahu | Maui | Kauai


"Eating and mating are human instincts."
Vietnamese Proverb

Banh Pho: ribbon-shaped rice noodles
Bo: beef
Bun: thin rice vermicelli
Cha Gio: deep fried spring rolls
Ga: chicken
Goi Cudan: summer rolls
Goi-Ga: chicken salad
Mien: bean thread
Nam: water, broth, sauce, or juice
Nuoc Mam: fermented salted fish sauce
Pho: beef noodle soup served with sprouts, herbs, chilis, and lime

Vietnamese Restaurants on: Big Island | Oahu | Maui | Kauai


Then all around from far away across the world
he smelled good things to eat
so he gave up being king of where the wild things are

Maurice Sendak

Where the Wild Things Are (1963)

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