Saturday, December 19, 2015

Mea ‘Ono Pua‘a

Mea ‘Ono Pua‘a Dim sum includes char siu bao, a bun with a barbecued pork filling. It is either steamed or baked. Char siu refers to the pork filling; the word bao simply means ‘bun.’ In the islands this Chinese pork cake became known as mea ‘ono pua‘a (‘mea ‘ono’ (delicious thing) as in cake or pastry, and ‘pua‘a’ for pork.) Reportedly, the pidgin adaptation “mea ‘ono pua‘a” evolved to “manapua.” These steamed or baked buns are sometimes are filled with coconut, black bean paste or chicken (and other meats and vegetables,) but char siu pork has been predominant. Not only did the tasty snack receive a Hawaiian name, they were also Hawaiian-sized, turning the ‘small snack’ to accompany tea, into a meal. (Some suggest the name is a variant of “mauna pua‘a” (mountain of pork.)

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