Cooking lessons

By BRIAN DUFF  |  June 13, 2007

Staying skinny is hard, and the rewards are mostly intangible. So Hawaiians have done with being thin what we Americans always do with most difficult and poorly paid work that we are unwilling to undertake — they have immigrants, mostly from Asia, do it. These slender newcomers help keep the cuisine interesting — most of Hawaii’s best chefs have an Asian heritage — and ensure the beach crowd remains photogenic.

Finally, Hawaiians have wisely come up with a fun word for casual snack food — “pu-pu.” We really should have such a word. The best pu-pu was at the Side Street Inn. This sports bar has a karaoke microphone that gets passed from table to table, and just happens to have amazing food. It is open late, and it’s where the prestigious chefs gather after they close their kitchens. Where can Maine chefs gather to eat and talk late at night? Vignola is not casual enough. Sebago’s food is not good enough. Maine chefs go home, and after several very filling weeks in Hawaii, so must I.

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