I love to eat.
One of my favorite things about going to a new place is trying local food. I’ll eat foie gras, yorkshire pudding, blood noodles, basically anything you put in front of me (unless it’s a fermented duck egg. Won’t touch that stuff.)
You know what I love as much as eating? Cooking.
Bring me some food and you’ll have a friend for a day (or a week, depending on how good the meal is), but teach me to cook and you’ll have a friend for life.
Since food and travel are so closely linked to me, I’ve started to seek out cooking classes in the places we travel to. Since they are so closely linked to my happiness Ben likes to come with me. Thanks, honey!
All About the Best Honolulu, Hawaii Cooking Class
In Hawaii we found Linda, who is basically the coolest person I’ve ever met. She’s not only a local chef who teaches Hawaiian cooking classes out of her own home, she’s also a successful teacher, restaurateur, franchise creator, interior decorator, celebrity chef who travels around the world to surf and learn about new cuisine. She also owns five of the cutest dogs I’ve ever seen. I know, right?
At first I was a little nervous to take a Hawaiian cooking class in someone’s home in Honolulu since the city is so crowded. I was prepared for our lesson to be in a cramped apartment, not a million dollar home in an exclusive Honolulu neighborhood with a private beach. The second floor of her home has been completely remodeled to accommodate a 700 sq-ft. kitchen custom designed by Linda. It includes two refrigerators, two deep fryers, built-in industrial ice machine and coffee maker, two dishwashers, and even a keragator with beer on tap.
Before our lesson even started Linda excitedly gave us a tour of her gorgeous home and restaurant-quality kitchen, and shared her backstory of how she went from teacher to restauranteur to celebrity chef. She has some of the best stories of traveling around the world for work and pleasure! I could have listened to her talk all day.
The fact that booking a private cooking class with her includes access to an incredible neighborhood and the stories of a jet-setting celebrity chef and cooking techniques and food is basically the best deal ever.
It sounds like I’m exaggerating but I’m not. Don’t I seem trustworthy?
By the time we stopped gabbing with our new bff (as if the talking ever really stopped) Linda explained what we’d be learning to cook. As an accomplished chef she offers a variety of cooking classes, but we wanted the authentic experience of learning about Hawaiian food. Linda had prepared for our class by setting out cutting boards, aprons, knives, portable burners, and printed recipes for each of us on her giant kitchen island.
Learning to Cook Poke Bowls
The first thing we learned how to cook was Poke Bowls; a local favorite that combines cooked white rice with ahi tuna. We prepared this dish three ways, doing everything from cutting the tuna steak to mixing the seasonings.
Our favorite was spicy tuna Poke Bowls, but it was so interesting to see how such simple ingredients can make vastly different versions of the same meal!
If I’m being honest, writing this article is killing me. I want a spicy Poke Bowl so badly.
Learning to Cook Musubi
We went from Poke to Musubi, a sushi-inspired snack of rice, egg or Spam, and a seaweed wrap.
We had seen these stacked next to the cashier of most convenience stores in Hawaii, and it was nice to hear the history of it and the significance to the Hawaiian people.
What is Musubi?
As it turns out Musubi (with various fillings) are similar to American sandwiches, English pot pies, Mexican tacos, Cornish pasties… They are just another way of eating carbs and proteins all packed together to eat on the go.
Spam came into play during the Second World War. American soldiers were sent boxes and boxes of spam because it is a tasty, shelf stable protein. Soldiers tried to eat as much as they could, then started to give or trade their extras with the locals. The huge influx of Spam made a big impact on the local cuisine which has stood the test of time!
To make musubi we layered rice, sesame seed and seaweed seasoning sprinkle, and fried spam. We repeated and them wrapped it in a small sheet of dried seaweed. The final result is crunchy on the outside, soft in the middle, and full of mounds of flavor.
I even feel a little more accepting of Spam.
See? Food brings out the best in people.
Learning to Cook Moco Loco
Our final lesson was on my favorite Hawaiian dish: Moco Loco!
What is Moco Loco?
How could you not love something with such a fun name? A Moco Loco is a mound of rice topped with a hamburger patty, gravy, and a fried egg. Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum.
We made patties with fresh hamburger meat then fried them with salt and pepper in a pan. We added sliced mushrooms to cook in the hamburger fat. We finished by cooking a fried egg. Linda already had some beef gravy and rice prepared, so all we had to do was assemble! A mound of white rice was topped by the hamburger and mushrooms, drizzled with gravy, then topped with the fried egg.
It’s amazing. The combination may sound unusual if you aren’t used to it, but think about it: hamburger, gravy, egg, carbs… it all goes together perfectly!
I really appreciated that in this Honolulu cooking class Linda didn’t just show us how to follow these local recipes, she also gave us general cooking tips along the way. The best pans to use, how to sharpen a knife, how to know when something is done cooking, etc.
In my opinion that’s the mark of a good teacher- teaching without even knowing you’re doing it.
Aside from the gorgeous neighborhood, travel stories, celebrity encounters, and cooking the best part was…. Drum roll…. Eating.
After we’d made 3 types of Poke, 2 types of Musubi, and a giant Moco Loco we joined Linda at her patio table to sample all of our hard work with napkins folded into kimonos. Yes, I said kimonos.
We chatted at the table about Linda’s unique heritage and how she came to live in Hawai’i in between ooohs and aaahhs of how good the food was. We both found ourselves fantasizing about permanent life on the island.
Sun, surf, rice served with every meal… Oh yes, a girl could get used to this life.
What I Loved About Our Honolulu, Hawaii Cooking Class:
- In a beautiful home in an exclusive neighborhood we never would have visited otherwise
- Meeting such a funny, warm person with great stories
- Learning new cooking techniques
- Learning new recipes
- Learning about Hawaiian history and food
- Eating great food
If you’re interested in booking your own Honolulu, Hawaii cooking class with Linda click here to find her website!
*This Honolulu, Hawaii cooking class was provided in exchange for promotional consideration. All opinions are my own.*
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