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Chef Roger Mooking recently traveled to the United States and Jamaica, and returned with tons of photos and stories about the incredible food culture. We hope you’ll be inspired to explore different cuisines and exotic ingredients this summer. We’ll be publishing a new post every Thursday over the summer, so stay tuned and enjoy Roger’s fourth post below! Make sure to also check out Roger’s latest solo album, Feedback, available on iTunes.

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The island of Oahu in Hawaii has a very strong Asian influence. Filipino, Japanese, and Korean culture are very prevalent – along with the native Hawaiian culture. Oahu is also a very popular travel destination for Southeast Asians looking for a beach vacation.  To represent and satisfy the crowds, it is not unusual to walk into a corner store or a gas station and see a display of steamed Char Sui Bao.

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Usually, you’ll find this treat at Dim Sum or a Chinese bakery; this was definitely the first time I’ve come across steam buns at a gas station. Another common local treat is called Musubi, which is a slice of warm Spam on top of sushi rice wrapped with Nori.  I tried a teriyaki flavoured version and while I’m not a fan of mystery meats, locals are crazy about it. Musubi is also found all over the island in the most unusual of places.

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Another convenient treat is Udon (a type of noodle) with a variety of goodies like meatballs, fish balls, fish stick, and fish cake. Food is a Hawaiian obsession and maybe that’s why I got along so well with everyone I met. Imagine my surprise to find yet another friendly islander at a corner store pushing me toward the greatness of their Udon in broth when I just went in to pick up a magazine. I could get used to this.

 

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