Monday, August 18, 2008

Hawaii Journal Day 6: Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam (and Pork)

Day 6: Friday

Breakfast: Ode on a Spam Musubi

Oh, to embrace the salt and the pork,
With a pillow of rice and a casing in nori,
I run from Okazuya with plastic spork,
To bask in your wondrous canned pig glory.

The glistening skin sweating with soy,
beckons me from the glass case at Seven Eleven,
I yearn to embrace your fatty pig-joy,
And ascend into Monosodium Glutamate heaven.

Some turn askance and say they can't love you,
You're just an amalgam of stray hooves and snouts,
But I say there is none that can stand above you,
The island breakfast treat, I cannot live without.

Every vacation, I run around eating Spam musubis. In the past, some of my favorites have been Caryn's Okazuya and those carried by the supermarket in Haleiwa. This year, I tried musubi at the ABC Store (Waikiki), Diamond Head Market (Spam and Egg), Fukuya Deli (2710 S. King St.) and Gulick Deli (1512 Gulick Ave.). Of those four, my favorite was Fukuya, which had well seasoned Spam and a good rice/Spam/nori balance.

Lunch: Gyotaku

We grabbed bento box lunches from the Gotaku Japanese restaurant. Highlights included mochiko (fried) chicken (top left) and a nicely spiced, if a bit dry, salmon (top right). A solid, if not thrilling, take out lunch.

Dinner: Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin

For dinner, we decided to continue our porcine theme with some tonkatsu, Japanese deep fried, breaded pork cutlet. Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin is a new, local branch of a small Japanese chain (three stores in Japan, one on Waikiki). The highlight was the pork tenderloin katsu. A tender, lean cut of pork tenderloin, panko breaded and double fried to crispy perfection. Dab it in Ginza Bairin's home brewed dipping sauce and enjoy. The traditional gin-katsu, pork loin, is a bit more fatty and less tender than the tenderloin. We started with some similarly fried oysters and also got a serving of the enormous fried shrimp which were nearly the size of corn dogs.

Yet another porky sensation in Hawaii, though at a price. The pork entrees, which include miso soup, pickles and rice, run from $15 to $20 and $32 for the special Kurobuta Pork loin, which we did not try.

Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin
255 Beach Walk
Honolulu, HI 96815
(808) 926-8082

Tomorrow: Side Street Inn

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