cover image Cook Real Hawai’i

Cook Real Hawai’i

Sheldon Simeon with Garrett Snyder. Clarkson Potter, $35 (304p) ISBN 978-1-98482-583-4

Two-time Top Chef competitor Simeon celebrates Hawaiian cuisine in this enticing collection. A third-generation Filipino-Hawaiian, Simeon details what it means to be Hawaiian and the important role that ethnicity plays in that definition: “See, in Hawai‘i we identify ourselves ethnically rather than geographically. On the mainland people might say ‘I’m a New Yorker,’ but here it’s ‘Lyndon? He’s Portuguese Chinese Hawaiian.’ ” He offers a brief history of the islands and describes local eating customs, including ohana food served family style; the plate lunch served with rice and mac and cheese; and pupus, an array of bountiful appetizers guaranteed to satiate even the most ravenous appetites. The recipes reflect the wide array of ethnic influences at play in Hawaiian culture, including Japanese shoyu dip with sesame crunch, Korean kimchee dip, and Filipino boiled peanuts with “oxtail spice.” Dishes such as garlic shrimp, “chop steak” cooked with ginger and onions, and pocho (steamed clams with Portuguese sausage) are drool-inducing. Some meals, such as Okinawan pig’s feet and lahaina fried soup made with Spam, may be an acquired taste, but in Simeon’s capable hands, even these unusual meals can be appetizing. Those looking to bring the tastes of Hawaii into their home will find no better guide. (Mar.)