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March 30, 2006


Well, we're back on track over at Pahu i'a, thanks to this fellow.

A lot of the fishes over here go by either their Hawaiian or Japanese names, so there's usually a little translation involved in figuring out which is which. Shutome is swordfish, onaga is snapper, mahi mahi is dorado, monchong is pomfret, moi is threadfin and ono is... ono, apparently. Or wahoo, but ono sounds way better than wahoo. Maybe it's just because I can't hear wahoo without seeing the Cleveland Indians mascot and his giant, toothy, defiantly anti-PC grin.

Anyway, ono is a Hawaiian specialty, and apparently it's a close relative of the mackerel. Mackerel is one of the few fishes I haven't eaten raw in significant quantities, but based on last night, I may have to start. I started with a trio of Hawaiian Poke... hamachi, ahi and ono. All were delicious, but the ono was definitely the standout for me. The flesh was slightly pink, very firm with a full flavor, and a little creamy and sweet. Jern said she felt it had a touch of a fishy flavor, but I didn't pick up on that (though I suspect her tastebuds are more sensitive than mine). It was lightly dressed, topped with a little bit of sweetened shaved coconut and some herb that I was completely unfamiliar with.

I also had some tasty monchong in a light, sweet chile sauce for an entree, but the ono was the star of the evening. Further research is necessary.

In some unfortunate fish news, it appears that the glorious moi from our last trip won't be available this time around. It was explained to us that they're currently out of season. This isn't usually a problem, as the restaurant has worked out some kind of exchange program with an Australian restaurant (they have complementary moi seasons, apparently), but some problems down under have pretty much decimated the Aussie moi crop this year, and what little they have they aren't shipping to Hawaii... and, by extension, to my belly.


I will have to try this "ono" of which you speak. Mackerel is hands-down one of my very favorite fish to eat raw, although as your wife noted with the ono, there is almost always the barest hint of fishiness, moreso than with most fish that are consumed raw. good, fresh mackerel is just so rich, without that fatty mouthfeel (not entirely accurate, but close) of other "oily" fishes, and adorned with a couple of paper-thin slices of lemon is just... crave-worthy.

Yeah, as embarrassing as it is, I pretty much got in on the caboose of the mackerel train. But it's growing on me in rapid fashion. I had some in Japan in May that was... shockingly... phenomenal. Obviously, freshness is paramount when it comes to raw fish, but it's more important for some than for others, and I'm getting the impression that mackerel is one of them.

Good stuff!

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