Saturday, April 1, 2017

My Hawaiian Junk Drawer

Hawaii has a lot going for it. Billboards are illegal, healthcare is almost universal, and the British Union Jack on the Hawaiian flag harks back to a time when these were the Sandwich Islands.

Hawaiians consume more Spam than any other population in the world. You find it on "mixed plates" throughout the state, accompanied by chicken or pork or fish, and scoops of rice and macaroni salad.

Fast food chains like to localize their menus. KFC in Hawaii did not find success with its Colonel's Aloha Mixed Plate sandwich with Spam, rice, and macaroni salad wedged between two pieces of fried chicken.

An attempt to bring a Korean fast food sandwich to Honolulu's Koreatown was even less successful. In South Korea, Wendy's serves Lolppang gang-aji seutail, which roughly translates to Bun, Doggie Style. A carefully pixelated video (NSFW), keying off the Gangnan Style video, went viral throughout East Asia. The powerful American Kennel Association threatened a nationwide boycott in the USA.

I avoid luaus and poi. I will not line up at a buffet table then subject myself to a frenetic stage show. Poi is a tasteless taro paste, often served at luaus, but better used to hang wallpaper.

The now-closed Queen Elikapeka Hotel tried a lower price point, $49, for its luau, making up the difference with tips. To differentiate themselves in a crowded market, the hulu dancers managed to incorporate a stripper pole. As part of the "Bridal Dance" grand finale, the "brides" fanned out into the audience: dollar bills were OK in the waistbands, but there was a $10 minimum for the coconuts.

The luau, and eventually the hotel, went belly up because of a skit. Volunteers from the audience were invited onstage to be "cooked" in a huge pot. This greatly upset local sensibilities, and the protests and bad press kept audiences away.

A disgruntled employee revealed the poi served at the luau was made of actual wallpaper paste left over from a major remodeling 19 years earlier. The hotel settled a class action lawsuit for the temporary neurological problems caused by an anti-mold agent in the paste.

Many Hawaiian hotels are named after Hawaiian kings and queens. The Queen Elikapeka Hotel was named after the British Queen Elizabeth to honor her visit to the islands in 1979. Things did not go well: the royal yacht Britannia ran aground on a reef in Kealakekua Bay, Hawaiii Big Island, near the point Captain Cook met his untimely death at the hands of the locals 200 years earlier. Fearing a repetition of the events of 1779, the Duke of Edinburgh locked himself in the ship's safe room and refused to budge until they were back in open water.
The rare silversword abandons roots as it "walks" up to 1,000 yards during it's 90-year lifespan