Imagine this scene if you will:
We are driving to my mom's house in Salt Lake City from the airport, having just entered a cold, snowy world after leaving the warm, sunny North Carolina. I am contemplating where I will find 'que, Lars is contemplating not dying on his 5th day of skiing
(or 6th, or 7th, or 8th, or 9th). We are deep in thought when we spy
So far, Sarah and I have concentrated on Southern 'que and all of it's delights. It's even in our blog intro, "the biggest culinary challenge the South has to offer." What do I do with 'que that is not from the South?
But, the more I though about it, Hawaiian 'que was the perfect 'que to eat in Salt Lake. SLC is a white, white city, but one of it's largest minority groups is Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders at 1.89%
. If that doesn't sound very big, it's as large as the African-American population. There are probably more Pacific Islanders in SLC than Southerners, so Hawaiian 'que is more native to SLC than southern 'que. Plus, where in North Carolina would I find Hawaiin food?
Whew. Crisis solved.
You may be skeptic about the existence of Hawaiian 'que, but it is luau food. When Lars and I were on our honeymoon on the Big Island (awesome!), eating our kalua pig, we commented on how, with a little vinager sauce, this would be North Carolina 'que. Kalua pig is traditionally slow cooked in the earth, which makes it 'que.
Lars, my mothe,r and I walked in, ahead of two Pacific Islander women and gazed at the menu. My mother had no idea what to order, so she started talking with the two women to see what was good. Lars and I just revelled in a menu that brought us pack to our honeymoon. There was kalua pig, lomi salmon, and laulau. Lars nearly giggled when he spied Moco Loco
on the menu. The only thing missing was poi, and I didn't think I'd miss it.
Lars ordered the Moco Loco, my mom ordered laulau and some chicken, and I ordered a two meat combination, kaluha pig and ribs, plus a little lomi salmon on the side.
Mmmmmm. It was pretty good stuff. Lars didn't let me try any of his Moco Loco (he guards his food with a fork), but mom let me try her laulau and chicken. Both were very tasty. The sauce for the chicken had the right mix of sweet and savory to set off the nicely fried chicken. The laulau was a little eggy, compared to what I remember from Hawaii, but good nontheless.
The lomi salmon was very, very good. For those who don't know, lomi salmon is a raw salmon salad. This was a little salty, but the salmon was rich on the toungue, set off nicely by the onions. My ribs were very, very good. They were Asian style ribs, so not the whole rib you get in a southern 'que place but rather a slice of the whole rib cage. They had a sweet teriyaki sauce on them and nice texture, not overcooked, but no tough.
Onto the main dish, for me--the kaluha pig. My scoop of pig was a little fatty (oily) for my tasty, not as smokey as I'd hoped, and very salty. That said, it was very good. I think the thing about pork 'que (besides ribs, which are a little different) is it is so rich, it needs something to cut the fat. For the luau Lars and I had on the Big Island, this was the poi and the lomi salmon. Here, I only had the lomi salmon, which was also very rich. So, I actually missed the poi. There was rice, but the flaverless goo of poi works better.
We also tried dessert--macadamia nut cookies. These cookies were a bargin at 2 for $1. They were fabulous. There's not much else to say about them other than, "if you go to Tiki Hawaiian BBQ, you must have some cookies."
All in all, Tiki Hawaiian BBQ is `ono
One more photo before I go, this lovely woman took our order at the counter and was very gracious when my mom insisted I take her photo for my blog.