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Your “Pake” Ways

“Fih you buy now tay dollah, say pai!”. Translation: “This fish is now going for just $10 bucks, sale price!”

Hawaii’s diverse ethnic culture all started when immigrants from China, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Portugal and Puerto Rico arrived here to work the plantations of what was once a thriving sugarcane and pineapple industry.

Through that intermingling, stereotypes developed, with Chinese — known here as “Pake”, pronouced “Pah’kay” — being tagged as VERY frugal folks, pinching every penny they’ve got. Of course out of necessity, as like all the immigrant laborers, “Pake” people were very poor back then, and had to be as resourceful as possible.

With that, to this day most local humor poking fun at various races, stereotype any act of being a penny-pinching cheapskate as being “Pake”. Same way on the mainland as “Jew” humor is inferred as.

Following are a few examples…

You know you’re “Pake” when:

• You wash and reuse every food container, including empty mayonnaise jars, plastic sour cream and cottage cheese tubs, right down to what are VERY disposable foam meat trays. Ack!

• You wash and reuse disposable plastic forks, knives and spoons utensils. Shoots, you probably even “wash” and reuse wooden disposable chopsticks! Paper plates too, for that matter!

• Every single ounce of product gets emptied out of its container, plate or tray for consumption, either by scraping, tapping or adding water to loosen it up and out. Or to the extreme, cutting the container open to get every last drop.

• Instead of using that unopened bottle of ketchup and mustard sitting in your pantry over a year, you’d rather use one of the MILLIONS of condiment packets you collected from the numerous fast food joints and convenience stores you dine and shop at.

• Instead of buying lunch at Costco’s food court (already cheap, right?), you save the money by making a meal out of free food samples in the store.

• All your meats and bread in your shopping cart are from the near expiration date closeout bin.

• You peel the skin off the onions and leaves off the celery and broccoli in the produce department bin before putting it the bag, just so you don’t spend not even a penny more for parts that aren’t useable. Shoots, you’d peel the skin off your fruits in the store if you could!

… I can go on and on, yet you get the idea. Now it’s YOUR turn! Let’s hear about the “Pake” ways you have or someone you know! It can be about anything, from shopping, to driving, eating. At work, school or home. Whatever. More the miser the better!

You know you’re “Pake” when…

P.S. A few of many Pake grindz faves!…


Fried Dace with Salted Black Beans (called Dau Si Laing Yiu in Chinese)

Turkey Jook
Turkey Jook


Libby Manapua Shop dim sum: Charsiu Manapua, Chicken Manapua, Pork Hash, Half Moon, Gon Lau Mein, Chow Fun and Spring Rolls


Lup Cheong and Rice


Popo’s Tofu Watercress Salad


Little Village Noodle House Beef Broccoli & Cake Noodle


Dog Meat Clay Pot 


Hawaiian Pride Charsiu Saimin


Fook Lam Crispy Egg Cream Buns


Li Hing Pickle Mango


Haw Flakes

76 thoughts on “Your “Pake” Ways

  • March 18, 2013 at 11:51 am
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    When I use a paper towel, I rip it in half and use only one half, saving the other half for later.

    My version of the ketchup/mayo trick is Taco Bell hot sauce. If they don’t keep an eye on me, I’ll clean them out.

    I won’t pay for curbside pickup for trash. We recycle what we can and we freeze what we can’t recycle. Freezer starting to get full of nasty stuff: Stealth runs to trash cans outside businesses. Gotta be cool about it…..sometimes if is starts to pile up, gotta make more than one stop. The bags we use? Regular plastic grocery bags.

    Reply
    • March 18, 2013 at 3:30 pm
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      Arny,

      Ah, so YOU’RE the reason Taco Bell doesn’t keep their sauces out for grabs anymore. Now they ask you whether you want hot or mild, keeping the sauce behind the counter, only giving out one packet per item ordered, unless you ask for more, which they hesitantly do so. Sheesh. :-/

      For paper towels, I forget which brand, but I like the one where each square sheet is subdivided into 3 perforated subsections for exactly the reason you said. Great for wiping-up a small mess without wasting a whole sheet. Now if they did that with toilet paper, that’d really be stretching it. lol

      Regarding using plastic grocery bags for rubbish bags, I do that for my fancy small step-can trash can in the bathroom. The manufacturer sells bags custom fit for that model that I used to buy, but I ended up just using grocery bags. Not as neat looking, but it works.

      Reply
      • March 18, 2013 at 5:52 pm
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        FYI, not all Taco Bells have adopted the ‘sauce behind the counter’ policy. Gotta know which ones keep them out in the open. It’s all about timing. And a small trash can fire as a distraction. J/K

        Reply
        • March 18, 2013 at 6:05 pm
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          Arny,

          I’m no Taco Bell regular, but all the ones I’ve been to in recent years on Oahu have adopted the behind the counter policy.

          I notice some McDonalds locations here are using the self-serve ketchup dispenser with those flimsy little paper white cups. I can’t stand that! It always tips over in the bag. Total mess. You can still get ketchup packets, but you gotta’ ask for it.

          Oh wait, NEWS FLASH: There’s a small trash can fire at Taco Bell! :laugh:

          Reply
          • March 26, 2013 at 7:35 pm
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            Del Taco Inferno Sauce. Whew.. Open 24hrs in henderson Nv but the main dining area doesn’t open until 5 am. So I would get there (the local bar) and they would ask me for a run. Handfuls of those packet were leaving that place. lol I think we almost filled a bag once.

  • March 18, 2013 at 11:58 am
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    My “haole” husband thinks I am crazy because when we come home to HI from CA and eat at McDonalds, I ask for tons of Aloha Shoyu packages. I then pack them in a big baggie, in my suitcase and carry this buggahs around in my purse with me. I am a shoyu snob, I can’t stand “mainland” shoyu!

    I have also refilled our shoyu bottle at home, one mini package at a time. Only once though! :)

    Reply
    • March 18, 2013 at 3:34 pm
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      Mai,

      That is too funny. So you won’t even spring for a gallon of Aloha Shoyu from the grocery store, eh? I’m sure there’s lots of folks who have refilled bottles of condiments in their refrigerator with fast food condiment packets. Me? Oh no, NEVER. Na-ah. :-D

      Reply
    • May 13, 2013 at 2:13 am
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      We moved to Arkansas and found an Asian store in Fort Smith that sells Aloha products, shortgrain rice, snacks and Hawaiian Sun drinks. Not home but they help us survive.

      Reply
  • March 18, 2013 at 12:26 pm
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    Pomai, my uncle takes tightwad to a whole new level. When he visit San Francisco he would not eat in anywhere, but freeload off my mom that time she living in San Francisco. Go to Chinatown and look and look and never buy anything to take back to Hawaii. He makes excuses not to buy anything by saying “No time No luggage space” and head back with only enough for himself.

    Never treat anyone and look the other way when the bill comes in restaurants.

    He always makes excuses he forgot his wallet in some luggage or at home, yet order a big meal to eat for himself.

    Reply
    • March 18, 2013 at 3:40 pm
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      Amy,

      Wow, that must be your favorite uncle! *Cough-cough*

      Reply
      • March 19, 2013 at 1:50 am
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        @Amy, I got an uncle and aunt like that also. I am Pake too, and understand they are not penny pinchers, but tightwad and selfish.

        At Xmas they would give the children free samples as gifts or whatever they find at home they don’t want anymore for gift. As kids we could tell saw it in their homes. Yet show off designer clothings they wear.

        It take all kind to make the world goes around.

        Reply
        • March 19, 2013 at 6:35 am
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          Aaron,

          Then there’s “regifting” a gift you got for Christmas that you don’t want or need, giving it to someone else as a present. :present:

          Reply
        • March 19, 2013 at 10:30 am
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          Well most stories on Pake relatives are some way funny. My grandfather who was Pake so tightwad does not want to go to restaurants because he hate to pay tips in it. Asking him to order takeout he will not also he said they don’t give enough in containers and not get his money worth. My grandmother never enjoy much in that marriage till children grew up earn own money to take her out. That after grandfather pass on of course.

          Reply
          • March 19, 2013 at 10:56 am
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            Kelike,

            Well then not many “Pake” folks go to Vegas. Which makes sense, really. Feed money in those hungry machines? Hell NO! lol

            Seriously though, talk to folks in the food & beverage industry in Las Vegas, and they’ll tell you hands-down, Hawaii people are the BEST tippers, usually giving 20% or sometimes more if service was really good. Even Waikiki workers will tell you the locals tip the best. I won’t say who are the worst tippers, nationality-wise. Anyone out there working F&B can chime in on that. I know who they though.

            How’s this story: A friend who works at a hotel in Waikiki was waiting a table of lets just say “foreigners”, who ordered over $1,500 in food and wine, and spent a good 4 hours at the table being slaved over by him. On top of that, making the restaurant stay open late, way after closing hours while they sat there chatting. Guess what they left him for tip at the end of that long night? $8. That’s it. Only $8 “f-you” bucks! He wanted to cry, he was so devastated and p#ssed off beyond belief. :reallypissed:

          • March 20, 2013 at 11:03 am
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            This Pake thing run deep in me and lot of stories of my family. My late grandfather was the most tightwad of them all. Like Kelike story same. My grandfather only buy during the late 1960s hamburgers for 5 for 1.00 and tell wife he got food for family. Grandmother like sometime to eat out in Chinese restaurants but no he do not want to pay tips also.

            When great grandmother offer to treat my grandmother for dim sum, grandfather jump right to head to restaurant as long he
            does not have to pay and ate a lot there.

            All the years he never gave my grandmother and birthday gifts or Christmas gifts . We never had any also from him. Yet he does not mind getting it from people.
            Tightwad and thick skin.

      • March 20, 2013 at 11:56 am
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        Vickie,

        As recently as the early 90’s, Kenny’s Burger House “in the Kam Shopping Center in Kali-heeee” sold 10¢ Teri’ Burgers (10 for $1). As you know, KBH is no longer around, replaced by McD’s. :cry:

        Reply
        • March 21, 2013 at 3:03 am
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          Pomai, I remember as a child at my cousin wedding one of the guest brought a bag of empty containers to collect leftover food from the wedding banquest. That nothing bad of it but she so greedy in way of getting it. My dad was eatting a springroll from plate with 3 left on it. The woman asked “Are you going to finish that?” My dad got upset and put down the springroll and said “No you just take it all.” Which she did dump whole plate into container.

          She made her little boy goes around doing it also but told mom
          waiter took some plates back to kitchen which made her so mad.
          Leftover is for parents of bride and groom to take home not guests for she was indeed just a guest.

          Reply
          • March 22, 2013 at 12:10 am
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            Wow! That sure reminded me of my aunt wedding at Hilton Hawaiian Village restaurant. Nice place for wedding but ruin by cheap habits of certain guests. Which why I learned to cooked more and researched on recipes in cookbooks which there a dish I like very much.

            There one woman in a nice banquest I went to in San Francisco did the same thing and her husband was so upset with her cheap habits and making son to collect food from table where guests leftover left on plates it was serve on. He told wife never again
            go out to banquest with her or take her!

          • March 22, 2013 at 2:19 am
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            Erica,

            It would have been funny if your dad said “No, you just take it all”, then proceeded to crumble up the spring rolls onto his plate, along with dumping the accompanying sweet ‘n sour dipping sauce all over it as a heaping deconstructed spring roll mess. LOL!!! :yes:

          • March 23, 2013 at 1:26 am
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            It funny Pomai you wrote that for I did it to one person who try to
            take the leftover home from a party too. My mother order a second of walnut prawns for guests since it was so good and she was paying for party also. My greedy aunt took the second plate moment it came to table and put all of it into to go box to take home. The guests was so shock at it yet she showed no shame at all.

            I told mother never again invited her to any party or events again. Mom never did. Mom told me when she had own wedding party
            aunt who was her sister inlaw came without any gift yet stay and ate and took home lot of leftover. All these years never change her greedy selfish ways. As you can tell it a pake family too.

            I see other entries same in family free samples for Christmas gifts she does that too.

          • March 23, 2013 at 8:21 am
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            Brenda,

            I don’t get your story. You said you did the same thing, yet your “Pake” aunt was able to walk out the restaurant with the entire second order of Walnut Prawns without a hitch. It sounds like nobody did anything to thwart or discourage her from doing that.

            All I gotta’ say is, along with Erica’s story at that wedding banquet (reception), your story about your aunt taking an entire order of food without any consideration of everyone else on the table, are some pretty brazen acts of “Pake-ism”. Just, WOW.

            In fact, that’s beyond being “Pake”, but pure ignorance.

  • March 18, 2013 at 8:06 pm
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    Plenty talk about ah…..small idiosyncrasies. My haole wife washes every bottle, plastic utensil and chop stick. And expects us to appreciate her sacrifice. In other words…use them. This is a girl that thinks Macy’s is the Foodland of dry-goods shopping. Where she starts.

    Reply
    • March 19, 2013 at 12:13 am
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      pat,

      I’m thinking more Whole Foods than Foodland. Actually, that would be more relevant to Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. All places the “pake” person would NEVER shop at; not because they don’t have the money, because they do — but because it just doesn’t make practical economic sense.

      Reply
  • March 18, 2013 at 9:31 pm
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    have not had to buy shampoo, conditioner, soap & lotion for some 35+ years…all from the hotel rooms where i’ve been to.

    Reply
    • March 19, 2013 at 12:22 am
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      dennis,

      Reminds me of our household growing up, where 80% of our dishware, bath towels and toiletries were from our numerous travels around the world. “Keepsakes” if you will. I still have a Kimono from the Imperial Hotel (Teikoku Hoteru) in Tokyo. :-D

      Reply
  • March 19, 2013 at 6:19 am
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    Love this post! My haole husband likes to eat at the restaurants, but I always want to get take-out. Why tip 20%? I’ll do the clean up at home, you give me the cash! Plus you get all those napkins and little sauce packets too ;)

    Reply
    • March 19, 2013 at 6:31 am
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      Lili,

      Some restaurants, such as Tony Roma’s Waikiki charge a “packing fee” for takeout. In the case of Tony Roma’s, it’s now $1.75. However it’s worth it, as they do a REALLY GOOD JOB at packing your most excellent BBQ ribs and sides, with every item neatly and individually wrapped or placed in its own container. I mean, so well done, you could deconstruct the very fancy takeout bag contents back onto a plate at home and make it look and taste just like you were dining in. And they give you LOTS of extra Tony Roma’s BBQ Sauce packets and butter for the complimentary and warm bread roll.

      Reply
    • March 19, 2013 at 11:03 am
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      pat,

      Classic! That song shall be the official anthem to this post.

      Perhaps I’ll consider making K&B’s “Honolulu City Lights” the official anthem for this blog!

      BTW, I’m related to the Beamer family from my mom’s side. ;)

      Reply
      • March 19, 2013 at 6:48 pm
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        Oddly enough I seem to remember all the words to this song. LOL. As for Honolulu City Lights, that was the song for flying off and leaving the girl friend behind for all Hawaii guys huh?
        Total classic.

        Reply
  • March 19, 2013 at 3:41 pm
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    Ah,where do I start? I always say it’s because I’m Chinese: packing up the hotel toiletries daily so I’ll get more (I like to say I am saving it for the homeless toiletry drive at the office); taking wads of McDonalds napkins to stuff in the glove box because really, it has my maiden name monogram “W”. Stockpiling all the cheese and red pepper flakes from pizza delivery – the stuff in those little packets is probably worse than the green can of Kraft stuff, and I have a tub of real parmesan from the deli already. I’ve actually used all the soy take out packets when making fried rice because I’ve been low, but the real toppers: cutting open a pump lotion bottle with a big bread knife so that I don’t miss any lotion, and also smacking small slivers of soap onto the new bar…. and the list can go on and on.

    Reply
    • March 19, 2013 at 5:22 pm
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      Traci,

      Let me guess: your maiden name is Wong. Wight? lol

      I do that too, to keep napkins in my car glove and side compartments “fully stocked”.

      So not a fan of them powdery faux parmesan cheese packets for pizza. Smells and tastes funny. Same for the KRAFT stuff in the green bottle. That’s probably the color you’ll glow after eating too much of that stuff. For God’s Sake someone should serve me Chef Boyardee, making it even worse with that Kraft Cheese sprinkled on it. Talk about total Pasta NIGHTMARE! :footmouth:

      Like most offices, we have a communal jar where everyone adds condiment packets from their various takeout meals. Usually the first condiments to get used are the Aloha Shoyu, followed by the Heinz Ketchup packets. We usually end up tossing the other stuff, like dipping sauces, mustard, relish, tartar sauce, etc., as after about a year it goes rancid or flat.

      My favorite on your list is your second to last. Classic! Been there, done that! I can’t remember what it was, except that I very dangerously hacked away at the thick plastic bottle with a bread knife, just like you did. Ha-ha!!!! Damn near almost cut myself in the process. Like those last extra drops of stuff would have been worth a painful cut.

      My main concern with those last small fragmented pieces of bar soap is that it doesn’t get washed down the shower drain and cause a clog. For the most part I use the liquid bath soap in the pump bottle nowadays. Much easier to manage and less messy. Funny how bar soap in the shower can leave behind a mess. Go figure.

      Another “Pake” habit, might be not buying shaving cream, but using body soap as your skin lube for the razor. I do that every now and then in the shower, but find soap doesn’t get me as close of a shave as shaving cream, especially if the razor isn’t brand new.

      Reply
  • March 19, 2013 at 8:29 pm
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    I really laughed at your list because my chinese grandmother does all this stuff. When she goes on vacation to visit her sister, I usually clear out all of the reused plastic forks, plates, old cool whip containers etc. She even saves the plastic bowls from the instant noodles.

    Reply
  • March 19, 2013 at 11:15 pm
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    Laura,

    When I was doing research for a past post about various types of chopsticks, I discovered several reasons Koreans have metal chopsticks, mostly having to do with shortage of resources in and around post World War II. Apparently South Korea had a lack of wood, and a surplus of scrap metal in the post war era. So wood products — especially disposable type — were limited by the South Korean government, hence evolved the Korean Stainless Steel Chopsticks and Spoon Set.

    As for plastic disposable utensils, personally when at home, I appreciate the heft, feel, durability and overall effectiveness of a REAL stainless steel fork and knife. If I’m going to wash dishes, I’d mush rather wash stainless steel than flimsy plastic that belongs in the trash.

    Still, some folks such as those with severe arthritis and other handicaps, prefer/need using disposable utensils and dishware mainly because it’s light in weight, being easier to hold and manipulate.

    Reply
    • March 20, 2013 at 4:38 am
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      This is definitely true, thankfully she doesn’t have arthritis and is actually very active. Anyways, after a few days she always replenishes the stock of disposables from various places.

      Reply
    • March 20, 2013 at 4:51 pm
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      Stainless is no good for raw seafood.It definitely changes the taste. Just like vinegar based pepper sauce does (hence pepper water in Hawaii). Which is why you never eat caviar, poke, jumbo oysters, and sashimi with stainless. Wooden chop sticks or plastic forks are best. Caviar spoons are ivory or mother of pearl.

      Reply
      • March 20, 2013 at 10:04 pm
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        pat,

        At home and work I use wooden chopsticks 80% of the time, regardless of what I’m eating. Same for cooking at home, I prefer turning and stirring food in the pots and pans with a long chopsticks vs. spoons, spatulas and tongs. For a guy with ZERO % of that blood, I swear in my past life I was Japanese or Chinese. Seriously.

        Reply
  • March 20, 2013 at 10:38 am
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    Though I’m not Chinese, my “pake'” streak runs deep… I do all that stuff like saving condiment packets, etc and re-using food containers and even cups! On my desk at work are at least 3 heavy plastic large drink cups that the fast food places use during various promotions… the weight and size of those cups are better than stuff you but at the store! But my best “pake'” story is when I was in the Army in Germany riding on the Deutsches BundesBahn (railroad): The TP in the batrooms was unperforated gray paper that was closer to a paper towel than three-ply Charmin. So as i was contemplating using the stuff, I realized that it would make a fun writing paper, so I cocaroached up about twenty feet of the stuff (after I suffered the sandpapering apres’ toilette). I wrote several letters to friends using the paper.

    Reply
    • March 20, 2013 at 10:40 am
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      oh yeah, as part of the joke, I smudged some melted chocolate at the end by my signature for a “surprise”

      Reply
    • March 20, 2013 at 11:01 am
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      Keith,

      The best part was how you ended your signature of your 20-ply grade TP letter, no pun intended. Hilarious! I should have written all my love letters to my ex on TP while we were dating, as that’s proven all I was worth to her, even as a fellow human being.

      Speaking of which, people “cockaroaching” TP is probably an ongoing problem wherever public restrooms are available. I’m really surprised businesses don’t install coin-op locks on their bathrooms to pay for maintenance of their facility to cover costs of janitorial services and supplies. 50 cents each entry sounds fair enough.

      Reply
  • March 20, 2013 at 1:38 pm
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    Pomai,

    Besides collecting condiment packets, salt and pepper, chop sticks from takeouts I save packaged in plastic baggies napkins, plastic knives and forks from takeout. You never know when you’ll need a plastic knife, fork and napkin! I even have a single serving 2 inch tall glass mini bottle of tabasco sauce.

    Speaking of TP, Longs (CVS) in travel isle has pocket size packets of Charmin seat covers and 210 in rolls (55 sheets) of Charmin TP. I keep a set in the car, in my emergency backpack, beach-chair pocket and extra set in pocket when walking Waikiki; cause you never know when you’ll be staring at an empty roll.

    BTW there is a new isle web site dedicated to local style cooking called http://www.cookinghawaiianstyle.com featured in Star Advertiser today especially good for home sick locals living outside of the isles.

    Reply
    • March 20, 2013 at 8:37 pm
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      Ken-san,

      Even better when those plastic utensils and napkin bagged “kits” also include a packet of salt and pepper. I’m a black pepper FIEND. Chili peppers, not so much. Fresh cracked black? Load it!

      Nice website over at cookinghawaiianstyle.com. How ironic: the photo they’re using for their Malasadas recipe is from The Tasty Island. Ha! I’ll add it to the links page here.

      Another great website for local recipes, provided by local folks now living on the mainland is over at AlohaWorld.com. They’ve been around for quite some time now. Very well organized site, with tried and proven recipes. Highly recommended!

      Reply
      • March 21, 2013 at 11:20 am
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        Pomai,

        A while back you asked me if I knew where you could get casing to make Portuguese sausage on the island.

        Well you just indicated Aloha World, com is a great site for recipes and I looked at the posted recipes.

        Under Portuguese Sausage #2 recipe by Kamano says the following; “stuff the meat into 35-38 mm casings. The sausage is great … taste mo betta den … Redondo kine or even Govea brand!! The sausage casing can be bought at some of the meat markets like KTA or (wen in Kalihi .. Kalihi Market on School street.)”

        So there are two sources, one on the Big Island and one in Honolulu.

        Reply
  • March 20, 2013 at 4:09 pm
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    A lot of my family (Jew, not Chinese), down to my mother’s generation, members do many of the things you’ve listed. I’ll walk into some of their houses and find things like zip lock bags drying out on every upright surface in the house. My mother refuses to just use the $1.50 bottles of hand soap as they are. She refills them with diluted dish soap. It drives me mental because there’s never enough soap to really feel like my hands are clean (I have some OCD issues).

    I remember going out to eat with members of my Grandparents’ generation, and they’d put the rolls on the table in their purses, when you went to their houses and opened the freezer, tons of bags of frozen dinner rolls would fall out on you. They also took home every leftover. If they went out to eat and had 1/8 of their meal left, they got it to go. When one great uncle and aunt went out to eat, they’d get a sandwich and cup of coffee, one between the two of them, and share that. And it wasn’t because they were poor or light eaters. All that said, they were all good tippers.

    My mother saves everything. Expiration dates mean nothing to her. She considers it wasteful to throw things away even if they’ve expired. When I go to her house, and she runs upstairs to do something, I quickly go through her fridge and toss everything that is beyond its expiry date. I find some shocking things in there. She always says “It’s still good, it doesn’t really go bad…”

    I’m mostly too OCD or lazy to do very frugal things, but I do wash and save things like cottage cheese containers, they are great for leftovers. I mainly do this out of necessity, because I always put away leftovers after cooking and forget about them (something my grandfather used to call “cooling the trash”), and then I’m to scared to open the container to wash it, so it goes into the trash. I used to go through so many packs of storage containers, I finally decided that I should use recycled cottage cheese/sour cream/etc. containers for MY leftovers, and the real storage containers to bring things to others.

    Btw, regarding the tiny bar soap shards you were talking about above, I know people who store them in a bag, and when they get enough, they melt them all into a new bar of soap. I don’t do this. Bar soap creeps me out (again, OCD. The mushy bottom part just… isn’t right), and also leaves residue on my skin, I prefer liquid soap.

    A friend of mine was talking about the show Extreme Cheapskates and told me about people who wash their clothing while they take a shower to save that way, people who don’t believe in toilet paper, and just use a water bottle to rinse themselves off after going to the bathroom, and only flush the toilet once a week. More power to them, but I could never live that way!

    Reply
    • March 20, 2013 at 4:39 pm
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      We read a blog once on the various uses for used wooden chop sticks, other than kindling, one use was to prop open used plastic bags so the insides can dry after a wash. :-) We do that.

      Reply
      • March 20, 2013 at 9:49 pm
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        pat,

        If you do that, then you are officially a proud new member of the “More Makule, More Pupule” club. :-P

        Reply
    • March 21, 2013 at 5:57 am
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      h,

      Huge mahalo for sharing all that! I was looking forward to hearing the “Jew” side of the “Pake” stories, and just knew you had some “doozies” up your sleeve. And, WOW, are they!

      I’ll add water to the dish soap dispenser, mainly to get every last drop of it out, not to extend its use. Same as I do with ketchup and other bottled sauces. I won’t say I’m as much frugal, as more just don’t like wasting things. My biggest peeve is wasting food, but there’s a limit. If it’s old and outdated, or worst, spoiling, of course out it goes.

      Reading the various comments, including your Jewish grandparents, I’m not surprised to hear such extreme cases of “Pake” syndrome. EVERYONE’s parents and grandparents have quirks like that, as they come from much harder times than we enjoy today. My mom’s the same. While not packages upon packages of “cockaroached” restaurant dinner rolls, my mom will freeze EVERYTHING, from Poi, to entire loaves of bread, to a whole pot of stew, placed in Ziploc® bags. Eventually she goes through it and gives stuff away (including to me), but still, her freezer is always PACKED.

      Then again, so is mine (and I have a pretty big fridge), but most of my food in there is no older than 6 months. OK, now I’m getting a complex. :-D

      I’ve witnessed people “pocket” dinner rolls at restaurants. I just laugh. I’m curious how much shortage (inventory loss) restaurants experience from patrons who “cockaroach” stuff from them, like dinner rolls, condiments, salt ‘n pepper shakers, dispensers and dishware. I’m willing to bet it’s a considerable figure.

      As for “doggie bagging” 1/8th of the leftover meal, GUILTY AS CHARGED! I do that! HOWEVER, I only do that when there’s other things to add to it, like, oh say, dinner rolls (ha-ha!), condiment bottles (just kidding!), and leftovers that others aren’t finishing on the table. I have no shame asking friends I dine with when they’re done, if they’re not taking their leftovers, I’ll take it. I’ve sometimes left with a complete extra meal by collecting everyone’s leftovers. Again, I HATE wasting food, I don’t care who’s it is. Bottom line.

      I had to figure out what your grandpa meant by “cooling the trash”, until you said it’s when you throw away outdated, spoiling containers of food in the fridge. Good point about using the nice Ziploc plastic semi-disposable “tupperware” for giving stuff away, and use recycled plastic cottage cheese tubs for home leftovers. That way if it turns into a “science project”, no problem just tossing the whole thing out and “cool the trash”. Better than trying to salvage that nice plastic container. Often the food ends up staining those clear plastic containers anyway. Especially there’s something acidic in it.

      Now saving shards of soap and remelting into a new bar? THAT is what you call FRUGAL! What’s funny is, I’ll take that last piece of soap shard and try to bury it into my meshed wash cloth so that it gets “melted” in there. Then I lather away, trying my best to keep that soapy shard from falling out onto the shower floor. Care to hear any more of my shower time antics? LOL! But yeah, I just use Liquid Soap now, as I too find the inderside of bar soap “icky”, with hair getting stuck to it ‘n stuff. Ack!

      I never heard of that show Extreme Cheapskates until now. Sounds like the video version of this post. I know someone who doesn’t believe in disposable diapers (for her baby), preferring to use the cloth diapers you put in the washer. Surely that saves a lot of money.

      Back to the Ziploc bags drying out around the house, they should try pat’s suggestion of using a wooden chopstick to hold it open. At least that way they can keep the rest of their house neat. :yes:

      Reply
      • March 21, 2013 at 9:26 am
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        Wow, reading all these stories brings back all kines memories of home! Hey, I even wash out zip-lock bags to re-use, unless they are too greasy/oily… tough to wash those out completely.. One thing to remember is that our parents and grandparents , besides being poor immigrants at one point, also had to live through the Great Depression in the 20s/30’s… they HAD to make use of everything! I think that’s why so many have that pack-rat syndrome… I remember cleaning up my mom’s kitchen a few years ago and throwing out over 100 yogurt/cottage cheese cups and lids, jello with a 1974 expiration date, stuff li’dat. Plus, my mom also takes advantage of all the BOGO opportunities… she had 11 boxes of NEW waxed paper and almost as many aluminum foil boxes too… some were still in the shopping bags she bought them in. I guess just in case we have another Depression…

        Reply
      • March 21, 2013 at 1:53 pm
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        No, cooling your trash is when you have something you don’t like, or know you’re not going to consume, but you stick it in the fridge anyway because you can’t stand to throw it out. Eventually, you’re going to throw it away because you won’t want to consume it, and in the meantime, you’re just cooling the trash in the fridge.

        I hate wasting things as well, but I also have this OCD about expired food, so it’s a constant inner struggle. I know this is crazy, and I know you will laugh at me, and I’ll deserve it, but here’s an example: I know mustard doesn’t go bad. Intellectually, I know this. If I use my mustard all the time during a month or two, no problem, I’ll keep using it till it’s gone. If I can’t remember the last time I used the mustard, I’ll start to worry about using it and then toss it and buy a new bottle. I know it doesn’t go bad in that time, I’m not sure if I think it’s lonely and feels ignored and will turn on me or what (kidding, I know that won’t happen). It’s just a weird quirk of mine. That’s as wasteful as I get. Other than that, I hate to waste things.

        Re: food staining the plastic storage containers, if you’re filling it with something you know will stain (tomato sauce, etc.), spray the container with PAM first. That should keep the contents from leaving a stain.

        HAHAHA about your shower time antics!!

        Here’s a clip from Extreme Cheapskates: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/02/extreme-cheapskates-new-york-woman-kay-toilet-paper_n_1933717.html

        Reply
        • March 22, 2013 at 5:38 am
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          h,

          Ah, I see. I do that every now and then with leftovers, knowing I’m sick of eating it already, yet leave in the fridge to “cool the trash” instead of sending it to the freezer. I’m not sure now which action gives me more of a complex: eventually throwing the food away, or hording in my freezer.

          I have yet to develop a leftovers “system”, where I properly plan, shop, cook, label, freeze and make use of leftovers. The only other solution would be to just cook enough for 1 or 2 servings, yet that can prove economically wasteful as well, factoring in all the ingredients needed as well the same amount of energy to cook that smaller serving.

          That’s why it can make more economic sense for single people to eat out. Either that, or just keep your meals at home simple. Sandwiches, fruits, salads, stuff like that. Stay away from dishes that require extensive cooking in pots and pans, as that’s usually when you make larger-than-necessary yields.

          I’ll try the PAM trick next time I’m storing leftover spaghetti sauce.

          How ironic the woman featured in that Extreme Cheapskates episode you linked happens to look Chinese. lol

          Reply
          • March 22, 2013 at 10:30 am
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            My cooking and leftover system is fairly simple, but doesn’t work all the time. Basically, I try to plan my menu around things that build on each other. I might roast veggies one night, save the leftovers. The next night, I’ll have spaghetti squash with tomatoes and onions. Save the leftover. The leftovers from night one and two get dumped into a pot with other ingredients to be turned into veggie chili. The next night I’ll have the chili over salad for taco salad, etc. I don’t get tired of things easily, so I don’t really mind eating leftovers for a while. Vegetables made for side dishes get saved and dumped into a pot all together (regardless of different seasonings) to be turned into soup at the end of the week. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s trash cooled in the fridge. Though I’ve found that very few soups can’t be saved by blending with an immersion blender. Something about the change in texture improves the soup. Anyway, this organized use-the-leftovers plan only works when I sit down and plan a menu and shopping list. If I’m too busy (or just too lazy) and go to the store with no plan, I end up with easily wasteful things, or get frustrated and end up with a menu of fruit and salad or cereal for two weeks!

          • March 23, 2013 at 8:37 am
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            h,

            My sister is a MASTER at leftovers. I really should take lessons from her. She’ll take any leftover dish and turn it into the most delicious casserole, roast, soup or stew you’ve ever tasted, all from the variety of ingredients infused from a combination of several leftover dishes.

            I couldn’t stomach chili stew after day 2, no matter how it’s applied, whether on nachos, taco salad, on a burger, etc.. That bold cumin flavor would eventually get to me.

            Interesting notion about soups working out well with an immersion blender (boat motor). I’ll try that! I’m curious how Tinola (Filipino Chicken Papaya Soup) would turn out blended.

            Knowing me though, I have “blend-o-holic” tendencies, sort of like that “Will it Blend?” website. Once I set-up my blender, I’ll be attempting to blend everything but the kitchen sink in it. “Hmmmm, what do we have here? A day old peanut butter jelly sandwich. Hmmmm, I wonder?” **In goes PBJ in blender** :laugh:

          • March 23, 2013 at 9:30 am
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            Wow, your sister sounds like a creative cook!

            If I do my planning right, I usually only have 2 or 3 nights of chili. The first few nights before the chili are meals based on ingredients that go into chili.

            I’m a blending maniac, too. The only thing I haven’t tried to blend is salad, and that’s only because I hadn’t considered it till now. Guess what’s on the menu this week? :lamp:

          • March 23, 2013 at 11:41 am
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            h,

            Ummm, a Jewish cracker called Matzoh, eaten during Passover?

            Let me test my guessing skillz further: Matzoh with horseradish spread and other “goodies” as Matzoh toppings?

          • March 23, 2013 at 12:27 pm
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            Haha! No, blended salad, silly. (But, yes, I will be partaking of the matzoh during family dinners on Mon and Tue. Good guessing skills, how on earth did you figure that out?)

      • March 23, 2013 at 12:40 pm
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        “Hello everyone, my name is h, and I’m a Blend-O-Holic. Just last night I blended my Caesar Salad, which turned out HORRIBLE. Regardless, addicted to the sound of food processing at high speed, I then proceeded to blended my Matzoh crackers into a paste and made a facial cream out of it. While it did remove any signs of wrinkles and aging, I became hooked on blending. I then looked at my cat, and when I did that, I knew I needed to seek out help.”

        :eek:

        Reply
        • March 23, 2013 at 1:39 pm
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          I’ll have you know that:

          1. The blended Caesar was delicious
          2. The Matzoh facial scrub will be hitting high end stores soon as the next skin care craze. You’ll be begging be for the blogger discount
          3. My cat didn’t fit in the blender, so there!
          and, finally
          4. I DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM, I CAN STOP ANY TIME I WANT!

          :-P

          Reply
          • March 23, 2013 at 8:01 pm
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            h,

            1. Yeah, right!
            2. Remember, I own the patent to that magical fountain of youth Maztoh Cream Facial Scrub formula. Therefore, due to your insubordination, you young lady are flying coach in the private jet on the next flight to Paris for the red carpet celebrity promo. 2 buck chuck wine for you. If you’re lucky.
            3. Your pet cat may not fit, however your pet rabbit certainly will. That may be our ticket to Mars.
            4. You have OCD, therefore you DO have a problem.

            Oh, and in case you think you’re so fast at marketing that product, been there, did that!…

            matzoh for life

            Ah yes, a Chocolate-covered Matzoh “Lifetime 21 Me” facial kit. Retail price just $228.99. What a deal to look 21 forever!

            More on that later. Stay tuned…

          • March 26, 2013 at 5:40 am
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            1. If I called it a reinvented Gazpacho, people would line up for it
            2. No way! You can warm the 2 buck chuck seat (actually, it’s now close to 5 buck chuck, but that’s not as fun to say). My product will hit the big time and I shall sit in the comfy seat, drinking champagne.
            3. Bunnies are for boiling, not blending. Though you could blend it and call it pate, hey, I’m not judging.
            4. Hmm… I can’t dispute that

            $228.99 at Costco? Good luck with that. I’m licensing MY formula to one of these companies (http://www.totalbeauty.com/content/gallery/most-expensive-creams), they can do the heavy lifting for me!

          • March 26, 2013 at 5:57 am
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            h,

            I was standing in line at the local grocery store, where emblazoned on the cover of The Enquirer, Globe and Sun, there was this cover story about some kinda’ Matzoh Facial Cream product (I think the name of the product was called “never h” get it? Never age) causing all these famous celebrities’ skin to glow a bright neon green, where they looked like martians. They weren’t sure whether to start a huge civil lawsuit against the manufacturer, or to celebrate the brand for their newfound “gift”, as they all started getting huge-paying roles in blockbuster sci-fi films.

            Oddly enough, I seen that product on clearance at Ross, marked down from $228 retail, to just $28. Go figure. :-P

          • March 26, 2013 at 6:32 am
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            Wow, what an amazing coincidence. Fortunately, it wasn’t my product. We’re still developing a gimmicky… I mean beautiful bottle to hold the magic serum. Anyway, bad luck for Never h. This h would never market such a product. Are you sure it’s not your product? The chocolate could have caused it to go funky. :alien:

  • March 23, 2013 at 7:11 am
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    I’m not gonna call myself cheap anymore – ‘pake’ sounds so much more sophisticated! :)
    I always save all the plastic/paper bags, plastic silverware I get. I used to save all of the containers too, but my apartment is too small now – I barely have enough room for food/dishes! I don’t go as far as using it for shaving cream, but I use shampoo instead of body wash; why bother buying both!

    Some of my friends think this is really weird: my family really likes celebrating Christmas – especially the present opening part – but we are all really thrifty/broke, plus there’s just not that much stuff we need. So starting in about October, we stop buying everyday stuff unless we’re totally out of it (like soap, toothpaste) – well, we keep buying it, but it gets wrapped up and put away for Christmas! Also we take anything we know someone hasn’t opened or hasn’t used much in the last year and put it back under the tree! I’ve given the same book 3 years running, cause my mom hasn’t read it yet.

    Reply
    • March 23, 2013 at 8:03 am
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      Liz,

      I say, why kill just 2 birds with one stone? From now on, the ONLY “soap” I’ll buy is Shampoo, preferably the cheapest one in the store. That mega multi tasker of a cleaning agent will now be used to wash my car, clean my house (shampoo diluted with water in a spray bottle), bath our dogs, wash my body, shampoo my hair (oh wait, I don’t have any hair, I’m bald), wash the clothes, and wash the dishes. Done deal. Ha! :yes:

      I’m just wondering, do you think I should also use conditioner for my car, house, dogs, body, bald head, clothes and dishes? I’m afraid the pH might get thrown off if I just shampoo all of it. Or worst of all, it’ll all dry out, crack and break apart. LOL!!!

      Reply
      • March 23, 2013 at 1:09 pm
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        You laugh, but I really *do* only use two soaps. Shampoo for everything on my body, and dish soap for everything else. (Well, three soaps if you count laundry detergent. But if I could use dish soap or shampoo without breaking the washer, I totally would.)

        Reply
        • March 23, 2013 at 5:00 pm
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          Consumer Reports came out with a report once that good dish soap was by far the strongest cleaner in the household. The problem is actually cleaning up after the soap. We also have a small plastic bottle in our washroom for miscellaneous cleaning, including hands. Along with other soaps though.

          Reply
  • March 23, 2013 at 11:09 am
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    Pomai,
    Well one thing about Paka is they are not able to say anything about someone who is a family member done something bad. No matter what still family. I guese you have to be a Paka to understand it and see it from their view point. My sister stood up for a all paka friend and friend was speak less. Most paka are indeed speak less when there is a problem and hope someone would stand up for them. I wish someone is more you Pomai. Mom is paka dad is hapa.

    Reply
    • March 23, 2013 at 11:24 am
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      Kelike,

      Why are you spelling it “Paka”?

      Please keep in mind, one doesn’t have to be Chinese to be “Pake”. Just have traits of said stereotype. I’m “Pake” myself in many ways, however have no Chinese blood whatsoever. Neither obviously does my mom, however, I SWEAR she was Chinese in her past life. She’ll eat Chinese food every day if she could, and most of her best friends are Chinese (locals).

      Mom also acts “Pake” as far as being resourceful, however her Hawaiian blood comes out as well, as she’s miss “Aunty Aloha” giving you the shirt off her back if you needed it, and all the food she’s got in the kitchen if you were hungry. “Aunty Aloha” exemplified. :-))

      Reply
      • March 23, 2013 at 11:36 am
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        Pomai, I was sock in my eye by my gf. Long story for hitting on another chick. So far can’t see well. Sorry for miss spell word. Right now got put
        a ice pack on my eye ouch ouch!

        I got me a killer chick !

        Reply
      • March 24, 2013 at 10:02 am
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        paka is Hawaiian for tobacco, btw.

        remember? paka = tobacco, pakalolo = crazy tobacco, marijuana

        Reply
  • March 24, 2013 at 7:00 am
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    My thing is cockroaching splenda from Starbucks when I get a coffee. I always have packets of that at the office and at home. McDonalds napkins in my glove box too. When I go to Uwajimaya and buy something from the food court I pick up a few packets of the chinese mustard.

    Reply
    • March 24, 2013 at 7:59 am
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      kobi,

      Wait, there’s such a thing as Chinese mustard condiment packets? Now THAT’s something I’ve NEVER seen here. Probably because I don’t order Chinese takeout too often, but still, if it existed, I surely would have come across them at some point.

      Goes to show, them Chinese restaurants here are too “Pake” to provide that. If you want Chinese mustard, you gotta’ ask, then they’ll put some in one of them tiny disposable cups with the lid on it.

      Speaking of “Chinese Mustard”, I tried googling the origin of it, thinking the Chinese actually adopted that from the British when Hong Kong was under their rule, as the British Colemans Mustard is essentially what it tastes like. Either that, or the Brits copied the Chinese when they came out with Coleman’s way back in 1900.

      Acccording to Wikipedia, “Jeremiah Colman began making mustard at a water mill near Norwich in the village of Bawburgh. To create a tangy flavour, he blended brown mustard (Brassica juncea) with white mustard (Sinapis alba).” There’s no mention on Chinese influence either towards or from. Hmmmm. ?:-)

      Reply
  • March 24, 2013 at 8:53 am
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    Eh Pomai,
    I can send you some mustard packets just for maintaining this excellent blog. Its the least I can do. Just let me know. What I hate is the Chinese restaurants over here no ask if you like chili oil when I do take out and I always forget to ask. I guess if you no ask you no get.

    Reply
    • March 24, 2013 at 9:03 am
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      Mahalo kobi for the kind thought. Nah, I’m good. I still have a full can of Coleman’s in my pantry. Dang, now I’m craving some good Crispy Gaugee (wonton). That’s the best for dippin’ in the Coleman’s (Chinese) Mustard mixed with Shoyu. While I don’t care for spicy chili pepper-based foods, when it comes to Horseradish, Wasabi and Mustards, hotter the better! I choke em until my tongue curls up and my nostrils are about to explode! :yes:

      Reply
  • March 24, 2013 at 10:53 am
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    Pomai,

    You can make hot Chinese mustard any time at home in a pinch by grinding into powder dark brown mustard seeds and then adding cold water to desired consistency. Let the mixture sit for about 15-20 minutes for the reaction to fully develop its heat before using.

    If you’re not going to us it immediately, adding an acid such as vinegar or rice wine will stop the reaction and prevent the mustard from losing its sharp edge. Also as an alternative you may want to store the hot mustard in a sealed container in the refrigerator, as refrigeration also stops the reaction from progressing.

    To tone down the heat you can add a little salad or cooking oil and maybe a little sugar to the mustard powder and water mixture.

    Alternately you can use dry Colman’s mustard powder mixed with water or maybe a little shoyu but you got to wait 15-20 minutes to let it blossom developing the heat.

    You can find plenty of Chinese take-out condiments at Kari-Out Company: http://www.kariout.com/

    Reply
  • March 26, 2013 at 7:46 pm
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    Ok So I’m taking my mom to lunch tomorrow and yes it kinda rare but all of you have blown it. She will have ketchup packets, red pepper flakes, parm cheese. Then we will go to 7-11 and get 2 hot dogs (normal size) pack the thing full of free chili and cheese sauce, take some free forks and napkins and go to the park. Yay! I just saved like $40

    Reply

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