Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

The food of Hawaii today is a confusing mixture, a palimpsest of the foods of a dozen different ethnic groups. Before the arrival of the first humans, probably around the 3rd century ad, Hawaii, one of the most isolated sets of islands in the world, contained essentially nothing edible on land. Very few species had managed to cross those staggering distances; those that did had speciated to provide a fine natural laboratory for evolutionary biologists. But apart from a few birds and a few ferns, there was nothing to eat; most important, there were no edible carbohydrates. However, since the arrival of the first humans, Hawaii has been the terminal point of three diasporas: from Asia, from Europe and America, and from Asia again. From these diverse influences, a creole food is now being created, known in the islands as Local Food.