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Celebrating Asian American And Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month

May 20, 2021

Herbert S

Asian American And Pacific Islander Heritage Month
Herbert S., Rooms Inspector, Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort

Hawai’i is known for being one of the biggest “Melting Pots” in the United States. I feel proud to be an Asian American living in this beautiful state surrounded by various backgrounds and cultures. We have a saying, “Ho’opili Hou” or “Gather Together.” With so much diversity, we all do not look the same, however we will still Ho’opili Hou and show each other Aloha as well as treat each other as our own ‘Ohana or family!

I am a First-generation immigrant with parents who made their way to Hawai’i from the Philippines. They always tell my sister and I of their struggles when they left behind their home to live “The American Dream.” The biggest hurdle was having an accent since English was their second language. When my parents had my sister and I, they chose not to teach us how to speak Filipino because they did not want us to have a difficult time learning two languages and they feared my sister and I would be treated differently just like they were when they first traveled here. With times being different, I wish my parents had taught me the language. Though I may not understand or speak the native tongue of my ancestors… I will never allow myself to forget my culture. It is important for me to know my roots and what my ancestors had to overcome in order to pave the way so that I can live a life filled with opportunities. If it were not for my parents, I would not be blessed living in this beautiful state and receive an education that helped me be a part of a team that embraces diversity.

In honor of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month, I share with you my roots through food. Every year I look forward to making and eating pancit with my family on holidays, anniversaries and birthdays! In Filipino cuisine, Pancit is a staple dish typically made from long rice noodles. Over centuries, Chinese immigrants introduced noodles to the Philippines and it has been fully adopted into Filipino cuisine with a variety of ways to prepare. According to Filipino superstition, Pancit is often prepared for birthday celebrations as it symbolizes long life and good health. One must not cut the long rice noodles too short during preparation for it may disrupt the balance of the celebrant’s life.

4 – 2oz packages MUM’s long rice
1 pack thick cut bacon chopped
1/2 cabbage head julienned
1 carrot Julienned
1 small yellow onion diced
6 pieces shiitake mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 – 5.5oz Okuhara Uzumaki Steamed Fish Cake julienned
1 cup chicken broth
2 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS Oyster Sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Chopped green onions and sliced calamansi (Filipino citrus) to garnish

In separate bowls soak the long rice noodles and shiitake mushrooms in warm water for about thirty minutes to soften. Once softened, drain and rinse both noodles and mushrooms. Julienne the mushrooms and cut the long rice in half. Set aside.

In a wok, fry the bacon to render out the fat on medium heat. When the bacon is slightly crisp, remove and set aside. Discard excess bacon fat but save about 2 tablespoons in the wok. In the same wok with the 2 tablespoons of saved bacon fat, add minced garlic, diced onion and shiitake mushrooms.

Stir fry on medium heat for a minute to release the aromatics. Add the rest of the veggies and fish cake and stir fry for 5 minutes. Remove from wok and set aside. On low heat, pour the chicken broth into the wok and season with soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and ground black pepper. Allow the sugar to dissolve and simmer for about a minute then mix in the softened noodles and stir fry on medium to high heat (Adjust seasoning to taste). Once liquid is absorbed, lower the heat and add back in your veggies, fishcake and bacon. Mix and combine well.

Plate and garnish with chopped green onions and calamansi.