I'd like to dedicate this installment to what Hawaii might do best, and that is snacks.
Fun, cheap, filling, steamed, slightly sweet, Asian, rice-based snacks, to be more precise. It seemed that everywhere I went, be it fruit stand or convenience store, such snacks were to be had.
Perhaps my favorite was the sticky rice and banana treat wrapped and steamed in a taro -- or was it banana? -- leaf above. The thick, toothsome rice was redolent with banana, at the center a slice of the actual fruit, which seemed to have surrendered most of its substance to the surrounding starch. Though small and delightful, this was a serious dose of sticky rice, and it took both Elise and I to finish it while cruising down Waialae to the beach.
From the same fruit stand (the one across from Town) we purchased little buns which turned out to be stuffed with (surprise) pork as well as hard boiled egg. They were faintly sweet, and I could have eaten a million of them.
Other snacks included a trio of Malaysian handhelds from the food court in Honolulu's Chinatown. Once again, each was either rice-based or contained banana. There was a steamed log of sweet-salty glutinous black rice, a skewer of three sweetened balls of rice flour cooked with milk and with a somewhat caramelized crust, as well as a perfect little banana crepe. Each cost a dollar. (Not pictured: a jackfruit smoothie with tapioca pearls.)
Yesterday I was in Northampton, MA, which is generally a good snacking town. I was hungry. I wanted something fun, cheap, filling, steamed, slightly sweet, Asian, and rice-based. I wanted something like what I'd eaten nearly every day in Hawaii.
I couldn't find it.