Jun 22, 2010

mel vs. star apple

i saved the best for last:

a very very rare treat, even in a chinatown on the other side of the planet (unless you live in vietnam or central america) : i found star apples in honolulu!

there are three different varieties of star apples (the offical latin name is chrysophyllum cainito) : green, purple and then there is also a red one.

the green ones have a thinner skin & overall texture while the purple ones are thicker and firmer.

the star apple is really super delicious, tastes like a banana with a lychee inside.

you can even see it in the pics: the part close to the outer skin is more banana-ish and starchy and the inside is more transparent and lychee-like.

the star apple ranks as a close third in my favorite fruit list of all times now. number one has always been... the pineapple. number 2 is the mangosteen.

if you ever see a starapple (or something even remotely like it) GO FOR IT! A MUST TRY!

mel vs. mountain apple

ok, here's another great fruit i found in honolulu's chinatown...

this teeny tiny fruit is a mountain apple

the mountain apple doesn't have too much in common with a regular apple... well ok, there's the shape and a vague similarity in taste.

mountain apples are kind of fluffy inside. they taste like... a sourish vaguely applish cotton candy.
they were just a tad too sour, probably could have been more ripe.

mel vs. soursop

i've tried soursop before and was not a fan. it does have the name SOURsop for a reason...

i got this one because the soursop looks sooo cool.

turned out this one wasn't even fully ripe yet :(

as you can see from the structure and the seeds it's a member of the annona family and related to the cerimoya, which much sweeter and often available in germany.

mel vs. june plum

i got these from a fruit booth next to the highway on the north shore and never saw them again anywhere else. the woman who sold them to me told me they were called june plums or june prunes, that they were harvested only in june, and that hardly anybody but the locals knew about those.

when i tried to take a bite she told me "take them in your mouth whole, just like a candy". after biting through the tough skin it was a fresh blast of liquid fruit infusion.

they were delicious, with a fresh sweet and sour taste, a bit like a passionfruit. the only downside was that the seed was sooo big that there was very little fruit around it. (see pic)

mel vs. sea asparagus

found some more exotic fruit (and one veggie) during our trip that i wanted to blog about in detail. so here they come!

when we got this (also at the farmer's market) L and me thought this was a kind of algae. we were wrong!
sea asparagus (or "salicornia" as it is officially called) is a succulent plant that grows in salt marshes, on beaches and in other saline environments!

it is naturally salty (sic!) and very tasty, it goes well with tomatoes and other veggies. to me it didn't taste like asparagus at all! i think it's just called sea asparagus because of it's shape and because "asparagus" sounds more marketable than e.g. "salty little weed".

home sweet home

we're finally back home. the 25 hour journey plus 12 hour time difference still wears on me. i've never had much trouble with jetlag, i woke up really early again this morning, after a very short unrestful sleep. i hope to settle back into germany-time soon.
here are some more pictures from o'ahu i never got around to post.

eating healthy is possible (even in america, you just have to look for it and maybe go a little bit out of your way here and there)! even in a mall!
we ate there several times as it happened to be a major public transportation transfer point.
lightly steamed mixed veggies chinese style (half raw, very nice) plus marinated spinach korean style for under 4 dollar!

sadly the honolulu gay pride parade was rather short and kind of unspectacular. afterwards we went to the pride festival (which was also very small, but had a super nice and relaxed athmosphere) where i got this lovely raw kale salad from an organic farm food stall.

we tried some poi, a hawaiian specialty. it's NOT a sweet, it's a savoury dish (actually it's a rather tasteless dish) made from taro root (it's just the mashed cooked up taro) and served as a side dish (instead of potatoes or rice).
i could not eat more than a spoonful of it as it was really tasteless. so i took the stuff with me (much to L's dismay), pepped it up with some honey & cinnamon and had it as a dessert later.

the aforementioned cinnamon oranges (i really got to make this here, it's so damn simple and sooo tasty) plus a cucumber jícama salad.
jícama (the "white stuff in the pic) is a root, related to yam. the raw jícama is quite crisp, like an apple or a raw potato and has a sweet and starchy taste. i'll have to check if i can get them in one of the asian markets here.

avocados in all shapes and sizes

a peacock guarding the restrooms @ waimea valley nature park

raw on the road. i got this nice fresh salad at some fast food hamburger place.

we went to a farmer's market and guess what we got there?
"licious dishes" had a booth where they sold their fresh raw dishes!

this raw almond butter turned out the be really really REALLY REALLY rich. very RICH, almost too fatty. we couldn't eat all of it and left it to our landlady who gladly took it.

leftover korean pickels plus apples, tofu, tomatoes and sea asparagus (more about that later) make a good breakfast.

Jun 19, 2010

snorkeling at hanauma bay

i really got used to salad or mixed fruit & veggies in the morning (as opposed to some kind of muesli mash up)

guess what? i found a raw drink at a regular supermarkte here! kombucha and fresh ginger juice.

yesterday we went snorkeling in this beautiful bay

it's called hanauma bay and it was full of fish and tourists.

just another random picture of me.
*sigh* today is our last day here... we'll watch the honolulu gay pride parade and then check out the entertainment program at the pride and then maybe go to the beach one last time.
i'm certainly not homesick, but i miss the dogs very much and i actually look forward to being in the dorf again, meeting my friends and getting back into my workout routine.
one last aloha from the island!

Jun 18, 2010

hiking again..

it's another lovely morning in waikiki, honolulu. today we'll go snorkeling at hanauma bay which is a nature preservation spot and known for lots of fish and turtle sights.

let me tell you about yesterday...
we started out very early and went for another hike.
all in all we hiked some >8 km, which might not seem all that far, but we had a height elevation gain of about 400 meters.
we hiked along several connecting trails, starting out from...

... nuuanu pali drive, a very rich area with lots of multi million dollar homes. i knew that this driveway was located there...

which some of you might remember as anthony cooper's (john locke's father) driveway from LOST. a little anticlimactic, as lots of stuff was changed around for filming...

we started out at the judd trail

and went on and on and on through very different vegetation

streams, waterfalls

bamboo forests

these are roots on the floor...

i came across this curious seed pot
with resting and taking pictures this took us about 4 1/2 hours...
there were some very tricky, super muddy wet and slippery climbs and decends on that hike... when we came out at the manoa falls trails we had super muddy shoes and legs. we had a good time though!
afterwards L wanted to rest, but i went back to chinatown. several people (!) asked me if i was from sweden and if that was my natural hair color.... !?!

notice the durian on the right...

so called "apple bananas", yes, they do have a (very slight) apple flavor.

the oranges here are sooo tasty. i also got a korean melon, a soursop and a papaya.

east coast images

some more pretty pics from the east coast: a noni fruit at that macadamia nut farm

fresh young coconut... yummy! (sadly not as sweet here as the ones from asia!)

beautiful beaches

*sigh*... it does really look like that here.

Jun 17, 2010

driving up the east coast & turtle bay

sorry, i'm a little bit slow with blogging here. well, i'm on holiday after all. again, it's early in the morning, but i'm waking up later and later.

we drove up to the north shore along the east coast, stopped by at a couple of beaches and a (terribly touristy) macadamia nut farm. that's where they had the stupid guidepost. i really hate those, but just this once i thought it was funny. so guess what? i'm really far away from home...

we made a stop at a mom 'n' pop style restaurant along the way. they had parrots in their garden. i ate a pineapple coleslaw with raisins. delicious!

we went to a famous beach, the locals call it laniakaea, but to tourists it's known as... turtle beach!!

we knew that turtles sometimes come up that beach to rest and sleep in the sun, but i wasn't expecting them to be THAT many and THAT big! i just thought "what are all these people looking at? the rocks?" turned out that the rocks were turtles.

the turtles are guarded by volunteers from 5 o'clock in the morning until midnight, touching and handling the turtles is strictly forbidden and one should also keep a distance to give them space to rest.

there are 21 turtles visiting that beach regularly and they all have individual names! these ones are about 30 - 40 years old.

they are truly magnificent. reminded me that there are so many things more important than human existence.
we watched them for a long long time. another one robbed onto the shore while we were there. in the water they are sliding along elegantly, but on the land they are quite slow.

driving back to honolulu we were both a bit sad to leave the turtles.

we got some korean food with lots of raw veggies.

the aforementioned panchan: raw veggies marinated in a hot chili sauce (can be very spicy...)