I knew I should have brought my grass skirt and ukelele to KAF. I would’ve fit right in at the Cambridge Hawaiian Night. I’ve gotta give the Cambridge staff props for really going to an extra effort to gussy the place up and making some pretty decent food…even if the Hawaiian provenance of much of it was suspect.
Now, I’m no expert on Hawaiian cuisine. Sure, I’ve been to Hawaii a couple of times but my exposure to Hawaiian fare was limited to $3 Mai Tais and Miller Genuine Draft. On one of my trips I spent much of my time on board the USS Coronado where what was served may have been Hawaiian but it sure as hell wasn’t food. Essentially, unless someone is digging a roast pig out of a hole in the sand while Don Ho hands me a drink with a little umbrella in it, I wouldn’t recognize Hawaiian food if it smacked me across the face. This was my chance to get educated.
Ok, Huli Huli Chicken, Mahi Mahi and Mochiko are, indeed, Hawaiian or, at least, Pacific dishes. I gotta call BS on the rest though. It really seems as though they just added the word Hawaiian to the front of the name et voila, authentic Hawaiian cuisine. I regret that I neglected to get any of the Hawaiian pasta salad but I’m betting it’s just pasta salad with pineapple added. I don’t recall any descriptions of pasta salad in Capt Cook’s journals, do you? Ok, maybe I haven’t read his fucking journals and the presumed absence of pasta salad is an uneducated guess but ya still can’t just add pineapple to something and call it Hawaiian. I bet Hawaiians are sick and tired of goddamn pineapple and only pretend to like it for the tourist dollars. We Canadians do the same with Celine Dion.
As much as I rant about the food names, it was actually very good. The Huli Huli Chicken was particularly moist (yeah, I obeyed the rules) and delicious. The pork and Mochiko were KAF-good. It was one of the better meals I’ve had at the DFACS here. As much as I hate to admit it, the fresh sliced pineapple on the salad bar was pretty awesome. See? You don’t have to always add it to something! The “coconut pie” was really a cake and the “Hawaiian party sheet cake” was just a cake with, you guessed it, pineapple added. They both tasted ok but were, predictably, horribly dry and I couldn’t bring myself to add any of the Barbie pink ice cream or chocolate custard to them.
There were a lot of neat touches to the decor. Where the hell in KAF does one get yards of grass skirtage and giant banners that form an idyllic beach scene? It felt almost like being in Hawaii. Pearl Harbor to be exact. Thanks for adding to the ambiance with the dinner time rocket attacks Mr. Taliban, you asshole.
The pineapple and whatever-the-fuck it is plastic containers for the salt and pepper packets were another nice touch. They must be Hawaiian because one is shaped like a pineapple, right? I can just imagine what must be going through the minds of the workers on the Chinese assembly line where they make this kind of crap: “Westerners buy this shit even though they already owe us 12 gazillion Yuan? Fucking wankers!”
I appreciate all the extra effort the Cambridge staff went to but a part of me really thinks it was kind of cruel to make all of the staff wear gaudy Hawaiian shirts. These things should really only be worn by pasty, sweaty, drunk tourists. Oh sure, I’ve worn a couple but I was qualified to do so when I did. Most of the DFAC staff are from south Asia…I doubt they see shirts covered in images of palm trees or surfers as the height of fashion. Forcing them to wear this crap could very well result in them developing a view of western culture similar to that of Chinese assembly line workers.
Ya done good Cambridge. Thanks for adding a bit of variety into our rather dull culinary existence here. You may want to reconsider basing most of the menu around one ingredient and making your staff submit themselves to the theme. If it was a Canadian themed night, would you add maple syrup to everything and force your staff to be annoyingly polite and talk about hockey? Yeah, maybe you would.
When one dreams of a canoe, there will be no luck the next day.-Hawaiian Proverb. I don’t know what the fuck it means either.