Yep. I am the kind of person who cooks on vacation. Especially if I am anywhere near a kitchen. Does that make me odd? I don’t think so. I think food is the quickest way to understand a new culture, so why not immerse myself in it.
Some people like to plop their butts down on the beach. And that’s just fine. I love the beach. But I love understanding a place just as much as vegetating in a place– so, as I said, I get into in the kitchen whenever I can.
To be fair this was not really a vacay kind of vacation. Because we are visiting friends who recently moved to Kona, HI. These friends like to eat and like to cook. So any time we spend together usually involves food and cooking. Oh yeah, and the card game Hearts. But, hey that’s just the kind of friends we are.
So, since I knew I was going to be in Hawaii and I knew I was going to be cooking I decided to bring my “A” game.
So one night late in our trip as I was laying in bed, I realized I had been awakened by an intoxicatingly sweet fragrance. Keep in mind this is Hawaii sweet aromas define the night air on the Big Island. I managed to drift fragrantly back to sleep, but I awoke the next morning hungry, happy and inspired to cook.
I am in Hawaii on the Big Island along the Kona Coast.
The ocean is wherever you look – and I can’t help but think of its relation to the food traditions of these islands.
When we think of seafood we tend to think fish first. There is fish aplenty in these islands. You can be sure of that. But there is vegetation from the sea too. It has the generic and slightly unappetizing name name of seaweed, but don’t let that moniker scare you off this delicious and healthy taste treat from the sea.
But if you just can’t get past the word I suggest you get to know this vegetable by it’s Hawaiian name, limu.
Here limu traditionally meant any type of plant living in the sea. But as Hawaiian words began to find their way into the vocabulary of English speakers that came to dominate the island limu has come to be known as any type of edible seaweed, of which there are several varieties.
One of these varieties is Ogo. Now ogo is the Japanese generic word for seaweed, but it has also been adapted by English speaking Hawaiians to mean a specific type of edible seaweed.
Today I have a seaweed salad using two types of limu: ogo and arame. More specifically I’d call it a slaw, and whether you choose to call the main component of this salad limu or ogo it is worth seeking out for the briny flavor and crunchy texture it brings.