When you live in Hawaii you have access to a plethora of restaurants near and far. You can walk down the street and get the freshest dim sum, walk into the nearest 7-11 for your spam musubi fix (if your mom didn’t already pack you some), and you know exactly where your favorite place is for juicy roast pork and the freshest poke.
But when you live away you find yourself scrounging for the tastes of home! If you’re like me, you find yourself working with the frozen, expensive poi trying to reconstitute it as best you can to taste as fresh as the poi you had at home. You go to countless “Hawaiian food” restaurants and are dismayed with the teriyaki everything and the Kalua Pork that tastes a little too artificially smokey.
To this day, my dad’s one place he can not miss eating every time he’s on island is Rainbow’s Drive Inn. The flavor of the chili with two scoops rice and mac salad takes him back to his childhood days when he would drive there after work and scrounge his car for 75 cents for a bowl of his favorite chili.
It’s usually not the fancy foods that make us feel nostalgic but the most simple flavors that we wish we could replicate when we’re not here. What foods do you miss most when you’re not here or on vacation away from home?
PS (check out this KC Drive Inn Waffle Dog smothered in Rainbow’s Drive Inn chili from the new Hawaii’s Favorite Kitchen!)