When I first heard about butterfish, I assumed it was just a clever name. Never did I imagine that such a supple, butter-like fish actually existed. But of course it exists in Hawaii.
Or does it? Turns out that butterfish is not actually a kind of fish, though there is something called a butterfish in England, which is an eel, which is okay, because an eel is a fish. ( I know because I googled the phrase "is an eel a fish?") Here's what Hawaii Magazine had to say about all this:
"In Hawaii, butterfish is a preparation, not a species of fish. What you are looking for is actually miso-marinated black cod. (This is another confusing fish name, since black cod is actually a North Pacific sablefish, named for its dark black skin.)"
I ate butterfish -- or whatever kind of fish it was, prepared in the butterfish style -- at the Honolulu farmer's market. The fish was just one of many wonders there, including local coffee and chocolate and of course all of the stunning tropical fruit the islands are so well known for. As you may recall from previous posts, I'm a big fan of coconut juice, and it was nice to not have to drink it out of a can for once.
Another astounding feature of the market were the plants being sold. At Massachusetts farmers markets we can buy plants like rosemary. In Hawaii, you can buy a vanilla vine.
The only downside to the market was that the produce we bought there was not allowed out of the country. The staff at the airport made us take it out of our carry-on's, even though we swore we'd eat it all by the time we reached the mainland. They wouldn't even let us eat it there in the airport.
I just hope that they bent the rules and had themselves a little forbidden fruit feast as soon as we turned and walked away.