I had the worst time finding the long rice noodles for this Chicken Long Rice recipe. It turns out, they aren’t made from rice, but from beans!!
When you go to your local Asian market, you’ll find about a billion different types of noodles. Here’s what you need: Vermicelli (Bean Thread) Noodles. The brand I got was L & W.
Chicken Long Rice
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken cut into small pieces or strips
6 T soy sauce
1 T sesame oil
2 T minced fresh ginger (I’d use only 1 T)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ tsp sugar
2 T vegetable oil
6-8 oz. sliced mushrooms
2-4 chopped green onions
10 oz long rice (cellophane noodles)
8 oz chicken broth
Combine 2 T soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, sugar, and pepper to create a marinade. Add the chicken and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Cover and soak long rice in cold water for 30 minutes. Cut into eight lengths. (Smaller lengths can be used based on preference.)
Place a large skillet or wok over high heat. When hot, add vegetable oil and marinated chicken. Cook until chicken no longer is pink, turning often. Reduce heat and add mushrooms, green onions, long rice, chicken broth, and remainder of soy sauce. Simmer until hot, stirring often—about 3 minutes.
NOTE!! Long rice requires very little cooking time. It absorbs liquid very easily and can break down if cooked too long.
When I cooked this recipe, I used the leftover breast from an already cooked whole chicken (which I used to make the broth as well.) The fresh ginger is very strong, so unless you love strong ginger flavor, I would suggest using about half of what the recipe calls for.
Chicken Long Rice is a staple at luaus, and my family loved it! I ate it when I lived in Hawaii, but had never cooked it.
Before I got the right noodle, I prepared it with a couple different types of noodles. They worked well too. So, if you’d like to vary this recipe, try the Bun Gao Tuoi Vermicelli (a rice noodle) or Banh Pho Rice Stick, which makes the recipe more like Pad Thai (Photo on left.)
But you’ve probably never heard it quite like this (unless you’re one of my Hawaii readers—but don’t spoil the surprise!)
Pidgin English is a unique form of English spoken in the islands. When I lived there I loved hearing my friends slip into pidgin. Most people speak it only when with friends, simply enjoying the relationships and having a good time.
One of my characters, Kainoa Onakea, uses pidgin every once in a while. Don’t worry, if you’re reading and not familiar with pidgin, another character’s comments will let you know what he means. I hope his use of it here and there adds a realistic touch to life in Hawaii.
Click on this link for a great rendition of The Night Before Christmas in pidgin.
Hawaiians are not actually part of the Asian group. They are actually Pacific Islanders, like the Samoans, Tongans, and Tahitians. But I figured everyone would love to hear about them.
There are a number of specifically Hawaiian celebrations, festivals, and events in Hawaii. Of course, every day is a celebration of the islands and it’s native culture wherever you go—the beaches, the tropical plants and fruits, the music, the dancing, and the luaus.
Food and Flower Events—
Kona Coffee Cultural Festival
Hula Kahiko Series
The Merrie Monarch Festival
Puukohola Heiau Cultural Festival
Races (Not exactly a cultural celebration or festival, but they sure do have a bucket-load of them in Hawaii!)—
Keauhou Kona Triathlon
Kona Marathon and Fun Runs
Big Island International Marathon
Kilauea Volcano Runs
Ironman Triathlon World Competition
There are many other festivals and events in the islands. Here is a web site for more information on these events and more.
The third largest group among the Asian population in Hawaii is the Koreans.
Korean Festival of Hawaii
In July this festival is held in Honolulu at Kapiolani Park. It includes dance performances, musicians, singers, taekwondo demonstrations, artifacts, and food. Korean food items include kalbi (barbecued short ribs), bibim gooksoo (a spicy noodle), and kim chi (spicy, pickled cabbage.)
Korean War Fallen
On June 25, the Hawaiian veterans (including the Korean War Veterans Association) honor those who died in the Korean War. The public ceremony takes place at Punchbowl Cemetery. Wreaths are placed at “The Courts of the Missing.” The number placed represents the number of years that have passed since the Korean War began on June 25, 1950.
Other Cultural Opportunities—
Additional Korean cultural opportunities in Hawaii include Halla Pai Huhm Dance Studio in Honolulu which offers a learning center for Korean dance and music.
The University of Hawaii at Manoa (in the Manoa Valley of Honolulu) has a Center for Korean Studies.
Korean cooking is a very big part of the culture in the islands. I hope to try a couple favorites later in 2011. Look for them! Bulgogi and Kal Bi.
The third largest group among the Asian population in Hawaii is the Chinese.
Chinese New Year
The islands celebrate in Honolulu’s Chinatown with the crowning of a Narcissus Queen, a lion dance, firecrackers, a parade, and a street festival.
On Maui, they celebrate in Lahaina (this may or may not change location) with a lion dance, live entertainment, demonstrations, and food.
On the Big Island of Hawaii, you may find a celebration in Hilo, which includes a performance and an all-day festival in Kalakaua Park.
Chinese Narcissus Festival
In January or February right before the Chinese New Year Celebration in Honolulu.
Miss Chinatown Hawaii Pageant
Created in 1990 as a scholarship pageant by the Honolulu Chinatown Merchants’ Association
If you are interested in the Chinese culture in Hawaii, Chinatown in Honolulu offers a great deal of culture and history. It has become an important center for the arts. There are also tours available.
The University of Hawaii at Manoa (in the Manoa Valley of Honolulu) has a Center for Chinese Studies.
Of course, Chinese cooking is a very big part of the culture in the islands. I am going to try two favorites and will post my experience sometime in early 2011. Look for them! Char Siu and Almond Cookies.