Written by Trang D. Nguyen
Continuing our Hawaiian Travel Series, we’re back on O’ahu (the most populated island in the Hawaiian archipelago). One thing that most mainlanders might not know about Hawaii is that is it the most diverse state in the country. Made up of almost 40% Asian, it has the largest number of ethnic Japanese outside of Japan! Whenever I go to Hawaii, I’m amazed by the great mix of cultures, but especially American culture fused in with Asian cultures. Some of my most favorite Hawaiian foods have a strong Asian influences. For example, Japanese curry is very popular in Hawaii, Saimin is a popular noodle dish inspired by the noodles of China and Japan, as well as Spam Musubi, which is sliced spam rolled with rice in a sheet of seaweed. Sound familiar?
O’ahu hosts a thriving Chinatown, with great Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants (The Pig & The Lady being one of my favorites), and a huge open air market. There are lots of small Buddhist temples around Chinatown, as well as many Japanese temples. One of the most picturesque Japanese temples on O’ahu is the Byodo-In Temple in Kaneohe, in the Valley of the Temples. The bright red temple stands in stark contrast to the beautiful, lush, deep green valley floor. Inside, the nondenominational temple is a half scale replica of the 900 year old Byodo-In temple of Uji, near Kyoto, Japan.
Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Filipino – there are a ton of Asian influences that have permeated modern Hawaiian culture. All these, mixed in with the native cultures of Hawaii and the Pacific Islands makes it a truly unique place to visit.
Check out the video here.