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FOOD FRIDAY: A Porky Pair from From Kau Kau to Cuisine

From Kau Kau to Cuisine: An Island Cookbook, Then and NowFrom Kau Kau to Cuisine: An Island Cookbook, Then and Now by Arnold Hiura, featuring Derek Kurisu of KTA SuperStores and Jason Takemura of Pagoda Floating Restaurant and Hukilau Honolulu, is a unique culinary guide drawing out the connections between old, plantation-era favorites and new, innovative modern cuisine. While food historian Arnold provides a background to what, why and how we eat in Hawaii, Derek and Jason team up to present 30 pairs of recipes. Each pair matches a “Then” dish from Derek—a classic plantation or traditional local-style favorite—with a “Now” dish from Jason—a reinterpretation of Derek’s version or a new creation drawn from the same ingredients or cooking style.

On this Food Friday, we present a pork-tastic pair: Classic Shoyu Pork from Derek and a modern spin on the manapua from Jason.

From Kau Kau to Cuisine: Shoyu Pork and Pork Belly Bao Bun Sliders

Shoyu Pork by George Yoshida and Derek Kurisu

I remember my family receiving pork from the “buta kau kau man” who would come to neighborhood homes and pick up slop once or twice a week (see page 30). In return, he would periodically bring everybody a piece of pork as a way of saying thanks. That pork was so goodI really looked forward to it! To this day, I love local pork, which is leaner and more flavorful than Mainland pork. This is another recipe I learned from my buddy, George Yoshida. Here on the Big Island, a lot of our plantations grew sugar. But on the other islands, they grew a lot of pineapple. The flavor goes well with pork, so we often use it for cooking with ham or spare ribs. I like to use it for shoyu pork—with the shoyu, it makes a unique flavor and the juice helps tenderize the pork. -DK

  • 5 pounds pork belly (or boneless pork shoulder roast, cut in half)
  • 1 cup shoyu
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 5 slices fresh ginger

In a deep pot, cover pork with water and boil for 1 hour. Discard water and rinse pork. Slice pork into 2-inch pieces and, in the same pot, combine with remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and continue to simmer, about 45 minutes, until tender.

Serves 8 to 10.


Braised Pork Belly Bao Bun “Sliders” by Jason Takemura

Growing up in Hawai‘i, everybody loves to eat manapua. They’re sort of like SPAM® musubi—the kind of grab-and-go food perfect for a snack or quick meal. Instead of serving plain manapua in the restaurant, we put this spin on the classic Island favorite. We started with some of the Asian ingredients and flavors that I learned at Chai’s and adapted them to our needs and tastes. The secret is our braised pork, which goes really well with the bao buns. Sliders are really popular these days—no need to cut them in half or anything, they’re all individual servings. -JT

  • 2 pounds pork belly, skin removed
  • Pork Marinade (recipe follows)
  • 4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha (or other hot sauce )
  • ½ cup Kim Chee, chopped (see recipe, page 154)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced won bok
  • ½ cup finely julienned Fuji apple
  • ½ cup julienned green onions (reserve bottoms and stems for marinade)
  • 12 fresh bao buns, steamed and warmed

Pork Marinade

  • 1½ cups shoyu
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 pieces star anise
  • 1 3-inch piece ginger
  • 4 stalks green onion, white part only
  • 5 cloves garlic, whole
  • Pinch crushed red chili flakes

Cut pork belly into a 2-inch by 2-inch by 8-inch block. Combine marinade ingredients and marinate pork overnight (8 to 12 hours), turning the pork over every 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Transfer pork and marinade into an oven-safe pan. Cover pan with foil. Place in the oven and braise for 3 hours. Remove from oven, remove foil and allow to cool, with the braising liquid, before refrigerating until ready to use. Remove cold pork from the liquid and slice crosswise ¼-inch thick. Reserve braising liquid.

In a sauce pan, heat sliced pork belly in the reserved braising liquid. Mix hoisin and sriracha together and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix won bok, apples and chopped kim chee together. Spread 1 teaspoon of hoisin-sriracha sauce in each warm, softened bao bun. Place 2 to 3 slices of pork per bun, topped with the kim chee slaw. Garnish with green onions.

Makes 12 sliders.

For more delicious pairings like this one, pick up a copy of From Kau Kau to Cuisine at our online store or your local bookshop. Go grind!

From Kau Kau to Cuisine: An Island Cookbook, Then and Now
by Arnold Hiura, featuring Derek Kurisu and Jason Takemura
Hardcover, 196 pages