A Little Slice of Hawaii: Takahashi Market (San Mateo, CA)

Hawaiian Food Adventure at Takahashi Maret in San Mateo

Sachi's Kitchen - Takahashi Market San Mateo CA

When we’re craving a little bit of Hawaii, one sure remedy is a trip to Takahashi Market in San Mateo, CA. We discovered this place a few months ago when we were planning a day of sunshine down the peninsula to escape the fog back at home. Such a fun place to stop off for a plate lunch  or browse for some Island goodies to stock up your pantry. If you’re looking for fresh taro, frozen poi, seaweed and spices to flavor up your poke (Hawaiian-style diced raw fish), you’ll find it all here.

Sachi’s Kitchen, which is located right inside the market is the real deal for Hawaiian plate lunches and eating out front at the picnic tables somehow feels just as authentic as the food itself (although no stunning beach views unfortunately). Get your mac salad and scoop of rice with kalua pork, teriyaki or kalbi; dive into a plate loco moco; nibble on a variety of poke or musubi (kind of like giant sushi rolls); and finish off with some tropical mochi. My kids were all over the linguica musubi (they’re part Portuguese after all) and have been asking me for a return trip to Takahashi Market. I guess it’s time to head back, oh darn! The only thing I found myself wishing for at Sachi’s Kitchen was a refreshing mound of shave ice to complete my island cravings. They don’t make shave ice, but the good news is that they do sell the syrups in case you happen to have a shave ice maker at home.

This is our very favorite kind of food adventure, there’s absolutely nothing fancy or high maintenance about it — just good grub made by very nice people that makes everyone smile.

You might also like these Hawaiian favorites: Two Ladies Mochi (Hilo); All Natural DIY Shave Ice; Big Island Food Adventure; Big Island Food Adventure (Video Post); Crazy for Loco Moco

Hawaii Food Adventure - Takahashi Market in San Mateo CA

All Natural DIY Shave Ice

DIY Hawaiian Shave Ice by A Little Yumminess  DIY Shave Ice A LittleYumminessI certainly wouldn’t call a shave ice maker a kitchen essential, but it sure is fun…. and it’s loads cheaper than a trip to Hawaii. We recently purchased  this cheapie Hawaiian Shave Ice brand shave ice maker and finally got to to trying it out this week. I’m sure the more deluxe models out there have their advantages, but we were quite happy with the results this one produced. The ice was fluffy and machine was quick and easy to use — even my 5 year old was able to operate it (but there are sharp bits inside the machine, so supervision is key). I will admit to enjoying the intensely hued, artificial syrup versions from the shave ice shops in Hawaii, but for our own experiment we tried using more healthful pureed fruit, sweetened up with  simple syrup and a little lilikoi jam we brought back from Hawaii. Our combination of raspberry and pineapple/lilikoi was spot on  — fantastically bright and sweet enough to pass for the “real” thing. With our maiden voyage of DIY shave ice under our belts, our minds are going wild with visions of “shave ice innovations” in our future.

DIY, All-Natural Shave Ice  (not so much a recipe as some ideas to get you started)

  • Freeze your ice using the mold included with the shave ice machine using plain old water (this is what we did)……or infuse flavor into your ice by adding juice or condensed milk to your water. The condensed milk will give your shave ice a more Taiwanese Sno Ice twist.
  • In a blender puree fresh or frozen fruit (bright, vibrant ones will  give you that real shave ice feel). Try raspberries, pineapple, mangoes, blackberries, peach, watermelon, pink grapefruit….. Sweeten your puree as needed with a simple syrup (see below) or a dallop of jelly or jam. The final consistency should be pourable and syrupy. You could thin your puree with either juice or water, but be careful of watering your puree down too much flavor-wise. As the shave ice melts into your syrup the flavor will become more muted. [We sweetened our raspberry puree with simple syrup and gave our pineapple puree a little extra yum with a glug of lilikoi jam. We fitted some Pellegrino bottles with cheap bottle pourers to dispense our purees, but you could certainly spoon your puree right over your shave ice too]
  • Optional – trick out your shave ice, Hawaiian style, with a scoop of ice cream at the bottom, a scoop of azuki beas or a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk or sweetened coconut milk.

Simple Syrup
Using a ratio of 1 part water to 1 part granulated sugar, add the water and sugar to a sauce pan and heat until sugar is fully dissolved. Your simple syrup will keep in the refrigerator in a sealed bottle or jar for several months. You can infuse your simple syrup with ginger, lemon, mint, spices or other flavors you like. Just add a generous amount of your flavoring (roughly chopped mint leaves, thick slices of ginger, curls of lemon zest, whole spices or etc) and let them steep in the warm syrup for about a half hour, then strain out the solids. An infused simple syrup is great for sweetening your iced tea too!

You may like these other frozen delights: Pink Grapefruit Granita, Pomegranate Ice, Kulfi: Indian Ice Milk PopsTaiwanese Sno Ice, Fluffy Sno (more Taiwanese Sno Ice)

Shoyu Poke, Kona Coffee and Poha Berries: A Big Island Food Adventure

Big Island Food Adventure Lilikoi

Last October I slipped away with the hubby to Hawaii’s Big Island for a week-long, kids-free retreat, and I’m finally getting around to sharing some of the highlights. This trip was mostly about kicking back and doing a whole lot of nothing, but we did manage to rally to squeeze in a few food adventures in between all those mai tais and snoozes on the beach.  Of course, we picked up some shoyu poke immediately upon arrival; had some great food at Merriman’s in Waimea (including the best salad ever: spinach, radicchio, roasted mushrooms, toasted farro, crispy bacon, hard cooked farm egg, compressed pineapple  & jalapeño-ginger vinaigrette); and enjoyed the gut busting, but tasty omlette-fried rice at Teshima’s in Kealakakua.

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