Puerto ricans in hawaii: Puerto Rican Food Is A Thing In Hawaii — Here’s What To Eat And Where! — Salt & Wind Travel

Puerto Rican Food Is A Thing In Hawaii — Here’s What To Eat And Where! — Salt & Wind Travel

Driving around Hawaii – be it Oahu, Maui, Kauai, or the Big Island, you spot an unassuming tent propped up along your route, on the side of the road selling some local eats. You can’t quite make out the signage – sometimes what’s selling is clear, sometimes it isn’t.

If you’re a curious eater like us, your instinct is to pull you off the road to investigate. If what they’re selling in those spacious Igloo coolers are pasteles and other Puerto Rican goodies, count yourselves lucky because you’ve seriously hit the jackpot.

We’re not exaggerating here. As far as must eat food in Hawaii, a super flavorful plate lunch usually makes the cut; scoops of rice for sure, maybe some kalbi ribs or chicken katsu with a side of macaroni salad and fresh poke. It might also include local sweets from malasadas (Portuguese doughnuts) to haupia (coconut) pie and of course, refreshing shave ice for days.

These local dishes and treats are a result of a super diverse wave of immigration that began in the 1850’s to help power the sugar and pineapple industry in Hawaii, and it also included a small Puerto Rican population that has embedded itself in local food culture.

Puerto Rican Food In Hawaii

The funny thing is, as popular as Puerto Rican food in Hawaii is, it’s kind of a mission to hunt down. Yes, there are some cafes serving Puerto Rican food in the islands, like Jackie’s Diner in Honolulu on Oahu, or the newly opened Kiawe Roots in Poipu on Kauai. In most instances though, you’ll find Hawaii’s Caribbean flavors roadside or at community functions like fundraisers and cultural celebrations.

If you’re lucky to run into one in the islands, we’ve got the intel for these must-try Puerto Rican dishes – and one cocktail – in Hawaii. 

Gandule Rice {Arroz Con Gandules}

Otherwise known as rice with pigeon peas, the savory rice dish of arroz con gandules is traditionally enjoyed during the holidays in Puerto Rico. But in Hawaii – and when it comes to Puerto Rican food in general – locals never pass up gandule rice whenever the opportunity presents itself. Plus, rice is a staple food in the islands and for that it’s totally normal to have rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Recipes for arroz con gandules vary, though many recipes in Hawaii call for achiote, oil, cumin, and cilantro – a variation on the essential sazón seasoning used in a lot of Puerto Rican cooking. Think of gandule rice like a pumped up version of spanish rice where it’s made extra thanks to the achiote, gandule beans (pigeon peas), pork, olives, and garlicky goodness.

As for pronouncing the dish, you’ll almost always hear gandule rice pronounced ‘ganduddy’ rice, which, like a lot of recipes that made their way to Hawaii with immigrant plantation workers, were adapted as they were adopted into the local culture.


Pasteles – pronounced with a silent “s” in Hawaii, by the way – are classic Puerto Rican food where mashed plantains serve as a pocket for seasoned pork, are wrapped in ti aka banana leaves – aka Hawaiian style, and steamed like a tamale.

When you travel to Hawaii, pasteles are one of the top roadside food treasures you’ll come across while in Puerto Rico they’re a typical part of a holiday dining table, along with arroz con gandules and pernil (aromatic, slow-roasted pork).

They’re hearty, served spicy or mild and even over rice as pastele stew. The Pastele Shop in Honolulu is a local favorite. There, you can order pasteles all sorts of ways; as part of a plate lunch with gandule rice, with a side of bacalau (salt cod) salad – another traditional Puerto Rican recipe – and even as pastele loco moco.

Piña Colada

We know this tropical cocktail isn’t a food, but we have to give props to Puerto Rico, where the signature rum-based tipple originated.

In Hawaii, a classic variation on the Piña Colada cocktail is called the Lava Flow  and a ribbon of strawberry puree coats the inside of a glass. When the Piña Colada mixture is poured into the glass the result is dreamy – all sorts of swirly, creamy cocktail (that looks like a lava flow, obvi) and garnished with a pineapple piece.  

Duke’s restaurants, which began as a local restaurant chain in the islands and has since expanded to southern California blends a mean – aka amazing – lava flow and pairs perfectly with beachfront views in Waikiki on Oahu, fronting Kalapaki Beach on Kauai, and waterfront in Lahaina, Maui. Or, there’s La Mariana in Honolulu where lava flows, mai tais and more deliver a good dose of tiki culture.

Have you tried Puerto Rican food when you have traveled to Hawaii? Let us know your favorite spots in the comments below!

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More Hawaii on Salt & Wind Travel

  • Where To Get The Best Malasadas In Hawaii
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Puerto Ricans | Images of Old Hawaiʻi

The first inhabitants of Puerto Rico were the Taino, hunter-gatherers who lived in small villages led by a cacique, or chief. Despite their limited knowledge of agriculture, they grow pineapples, cassava, and sweet potatoes and supplement their diet with seafood. They called the island Boriken. (PBS)

On his second voyage to the Indies, Christopher Columbus arrived on November 19, 1493 on the island and claimed it for Spain, renaming it San Juan Bautista (Saint John the Baptist.)

Juan Ponce de León, who had accompanied Columbus and worked to colonize nearby Hispaniola, was given permission by Queen Isabella to explore the island. On a well-protected bay on the north coast, he founds Caparra, where the island’s first mining and farming begins. (PBS)

Puerto Rico chasf three geological formations: a system of deeply ribbed mountains; lower hills and playa plains, consisting of alluvial soil and old estuaries.

It is roughly estimated that nine-tenths of the Island is mountainous and the remaining tenth is of the foothill and playa character. (Alvrez; Pacific Commercial Advertiser, June 25, 1901)

The brief Spanish-American War ended with the Treaty of Paris (December 10, 1898) that resulted in Spain relinquishing its holdings in the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico.

The island was governed by a US military governor from October 1898 until May 1900; then it became an “organized but unincorporated” territory of the US. (President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status)

On August 7 and 8, 1899, the San Ciriaco hurricane swept through Puerto Rico with winds up to 100-miles per hour. Twenty-eight days of torrential rain caused approximately thirty-four hundred fatalities, massive flooding, and at least $7-million dollars in agricultural damage. (Poblete)

Tens of thousands of people lost their homes and means of livelihood. The 1899 coffee crop destroyed; it would take at least 5-years before coffee would be profitable again. (Poblete)

Besides no jobs, no homes and no education (as there was no system of compulsory public education,) the poor also had no money. (Souza)

At the same time, the booming Hawaiʻi sugar industry was looking for more workers. Puerto Ricans looked for alternatives and were drawn to another US territory, Hawaiʻi, and its sugar plantations.

Workers and their families left Puerto Rico with hopes that life in the Pacific Islands would be less bleak and provide more opportunity for stability and success.

The first group, that included 114 men, women and children, left San Juan by steamboat on November 22, 1900. The journey took them by ship to New Orleans, by train across the land to San Francisco. About fifty refused to continue their voyage to Hawaiʻi and founded the San Francisco Puerto Rican community. (Chapin; HHS)

The rest (families, young single men and women, and some underage boys who left without parents’ permission) were forced to board the steamship Rio de Janeiro and endured a harrowing trip to Hawaiʻi, arriving on December 24, 1900. (Vélez)

Between 1900 and 1901, eleven expeditions of men, women and children were recruited by the Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association (HSPA) to work alongside Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, Portuguese and Italians in the pineapple and sugar fields.

Contractual accords stipulated incentives – credit for transportation expenses, the availability of public education, opportunities to worship in Catholic Churches, decent wages and standard living accommodations. (Korrol, Center for Puerto Rican Studies) Eventually 5,100 settled on plantations in the Islands. (Chapin; HHS)

What did the Puerto Ricans find when they came to Hawaii? The early immigrant’s answer was usually, “trabajo y tristeza”—work and sorrow. (Souza)

Pay was $15.00 monthly for the men, 40¢ a day for the women, 50¢ a day for the boys, and 35¢ a day for the girls (for ten hours’ daily labor in the fields and twelve hours in the mills.) Later, for the men, pay included a bonus, usually 50¢ per week if they worked a full 26-day month. (Souza)

Unrest among the worker contingents surfaced almost immediately as reports describing the migrants’ horrendous ordeals appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times and newspapers in Puerto Rico.

Desertion was not uncommon, and tales of individuals who refused to board Hawaiʻi-bound vessels account for the emergence of the earliest Puerto Rican settlements in California. (Korrol, Center for Puerto Rican Studies)

Even in 1921, when several volatile years of labor organizing among Filipinos led the HSPA to negotiate with the Puerto Rican government to resume labor recruitment, the promises of increased wages, free medical care, and fair housing and work conditions again proved to be hollow for Puerto Rican laborers. (Gonzales)

Despite the fact that a small contingent of contracted workers was brought into Hawaii as late as 1926, labor recruitment virtually ended in the first decade of the century. (Korrol, Center for Puerto Rican Studies)

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Caravalho Juan Maria Robello Caravalho Felicita, early 1920s.



Puerto Rican Landing Monument – Honoipu-Betancourt

General_view_of_harbor_at_San_Juan,_Porto_Rico_looking_South to San Juan Bay, 1927

The results of Hurricane San Ciriaco over the island of Puerto Rico-LOC





Path of Hurricane San Ciriaco over the island of Puerto Rico-LOC


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how California, Puerto Rico and Hawaii demand independence — RT in Russian

Puerto Rico and Hawaii want to achieve recognition of their independence from the United Nations, the American states of California and Texas hope to enlist the support of the UN. In total, 35 territories intend to achieve recognition of sovereignty. The corresponding petition, which RT got acquainted with, was sent to the UN by the president of the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia, Alexander Ionov.

In its petition, the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia (ADR), which cooperates with separatists around the world, asks to recognize the sovereignty of Puerto Rico and the Kingdom of Hawaii, as well as to allow Northern Ireland to secede from the UK and join the Republic of Ireland. Anti-globalists hope that the UN will support the idea of ​​holding a popular referendum in the US states of California and Texas to enable the citizens of these territories to decide whether to be part of America or not.

“The UN General Assembly should hold a special session to review the principle of the right of nations to self-determination. And also the United Nations must protect the diplomatic status of any movement of peaceful separation on the basis of the right of nations to self-determination. In addition, a special department should be set up in the UN to negotiate with the separatists to try to find a consensus to solve problems with existing governments to remove obstacles,” the petition says.

Will not go to live in London

Northern Ireland, which seeks freedom from Great Britain, is an administrative-territorial unit of Britain, consisting of six counties. The Sinn Fein party suggests that if the region is declared free from Great Britain, Northern Ireland will be able to reunite with the historical territory, which until 1800 was called the Kingdom of Ireland.

The idea of ​​separation from the United Kingdom belongs to the political organization «Sinn Féin» (irl. «We are together.» — RT ), which has 29 seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly and five seats in the British House of Commons for that region.

Together with anti-globalists, Sinn Féin calls on the British Parliament to recall the British military and police who are now in Northern Ireland.

«Since the early 1970s, British forces have committed several atrocities: ‘Bloody Sunday’ when the UK admitted to killing 13 unarmed innocent citizens, including six minors,» the appeal says. “The presence of the British is illegal, undesirable, and their interference in the affairs of the Irish is unjustified. We will announce to Westminster that we intend to secede from the UK and join the Republic of Ireland.»

Freedom for the Puerto Ricans…

In addition to the Irish socialists, the state of Borinquen wants to achieve independence. Separatists from the region first applied to the UN with a similar request in 2014, but received no positive response.

«We are also asking the United Nations to request the US government to release our oldest political prisoner, Oscar López Rivera, who has been in prison for over 34 years,» the petition reads.

The leader of the «Sovereign State of Borinquen» movement, Ramon Nenadic, earlier in an interview with RT said that Puerto Rico was «fettered by the boat law,» according to which the United States obliges Puerto Ricans to transport any goods by sea only with the help of the American merchant fleet. This legal restriction has been in effect since 1917 years old. Since then, Puerto Ricans have paid the United States more than $75 billion for the use of American ships.

The official name of the region is the Freely Associated State of Puerto Rico. The region has the status of an unincorporated territory: this means that the state is controlled by the United States, but is not an integral part of them.

…and the King of Hawaii

The 50th state of the USA, Hawaii, also demands independence. Now the island independence movement is demanding the right to «tribal sovereignty» («nation within a nation» — English nation to nation. — RT ) and compensation from the US government for illegal occupation.

One of the biggest Hawaiian independence movements is Ka Lahui Hawaii. Its activists advocate the recognition of the Hawaiians as one of the «First Nations» in the United States, along with the Indians.

“We call on all members of the United Nations to reaffirm and uphold the right of the Kingdom of Hawaii to be restored to the community of nations. We also call on all states to recognize the government of the Kingdom of Hawaii under our King Edmund Keliya Silva Jr., whose bloodline is descended from the ancient kings and queens of Hawaii,” the petition reads.

Independent states of America

The petition also included demands to recognize the independence of two American states — California and Texas. Since the election victory of Donald Trump, the regions have become more confident that they will win the issue of self-determination.

Yes California leader Luis Jay Marinelli, who campaigns for a California independence referendum, voted for Trump in the election. The activist hopes that the Republican President will support the idea of ​​state self-determination.

Texas separatist leader Nathan Smith expects a peaceful referendum on Texas’ secession from the United States following Donald Trump’s inauguration. He hopes that the vote for state independence will take place as early as 2017 — after the relevant law is passed in the Texas Legislative Council.

In addition, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Transnistria, regions that have been seeking sovereignty for about 25 years, have applied to the UN.

Low probability

According to Sergei Chernyakhovsky, professor at the Department of History and Theory of Politics at Moscow State University, it is hardly worth expecting a quick response from the UN.

“There are no real grounds to declare that all these territories listed in the petition are independent, . For example, Texas. They do not have a regular army, they are unable to defend themselves, and these are mandatory criteria that countries claiming independence must have. There is no economy in Texas and this is the territory of the United States — that says it all. At the very least, these petitions will not be productive, because even if we theoretically imagine that, say, Abkhazia is recognized, Texas will also have to be recognized, but this is impossible due to the geopolitical interests of the United States. However, there have been cases in history when states were recognized, for example, East Timor in Asia. But this territory was actively proving its sovereignty, including military and legislative,” recalled Chernyakhovsky.


According to Alexander Ionov, President of the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia, the petition to recognize the sovereignty of some regions is a response to the recent UN resolution on Crimea.

“Now is a special case connected with the cynicism of Western politicians, such as US and French Presidents Barack Obama and Francois Hollande, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who lobbied for a declaration on Crimea in the General Assembly and thereby turned the UN into a politicized machine,” — Ionov said.

The UN has long been a politically interested organization, the president of the ADR is sure.

“We understand that it is unlikely that it will be possible to demand anything from the committee, as the resolution on Crimea showed, the UN is a controlled organization, so we do not expect an early response to our petition. But we hope that they will give an explanation why, where human rights are not violated, where people themselves have chosen to be part of the Russian Federation — in Crimea — claims are inflated. And where there are real problems, such as the armed conflict in Yemen, problems with refugee camps and human rights in Western Sahara, no one recognizes the critical situation, ”said the anti-globalist.

“There are problems with refugees in the Sahara – everyone is silent. Puerto Rico is on the verge of a technical default — everyone is silent. Everything rests only on the situation in the Crimea, but in fact there is no problem there! I personally worked there during the referendum, when the inhabitants of the peninsula were deciding their fate, and not a single violation was noticed, ”Ionov emphasized.

The president of the anti-globalists also drew attention to the fact that petitions that were sent to the UN in previous years remained unanswered.

ADR stands for ensuring the sovereignty of states in the world. The activities of the organization are directed against the monopolization by some countries of a number of unrecognized states.

The request for recognition of the sovereignty of a number of countries was also made by the participants of the international conference “Dialogue of Nations. The right of peoples to self-determination and building a multipolar world”. Separatist congresses have been held since 2015 in Moscow. The conferences are attended by about 35 representatives of anti-globalization movements from such territories as Catalonia (Catalan Solidarity for Independence), Northern Ireland (Sinn Féin), DPR (Donetsk People’s Republic) and LPR (Luhansk People’s Republic), Texas, California , Hawaii, Puerto Rico (Borinken state) and others.

Kristina Oleneva

United States of America Residents of Puerto Rico decided to become full-fledged citizens of the United States: World: Lenta.ru

archipelago statehood. Even now, Puerto Ricans are American citizens, but they are still deprived of some of the rights that residents of full-fledged states have. However, the results of the referendum do not yet guarantee that Puerto Rico will indeed become part of the United States

The referendum, which could launch the procedure for changing the status of Puerto Rico, was not the first. For the first time, the inhabitants of the group of islands that the United States inherited in 1898 during the Spanish-American War were offered to decide the fate of the archipelago back in 1967. However, Puerto Ricans then chose to maintain the status quo, refusing both to become part of the United States and to gain full independence. The second such referendum took place in 1993, the third — in 1998, and both times the population voted against changing the situation.

It is worth noting that the supporters of the idea to give Puerto Rico the status of a state each time became more and more. If in 1967 this option was supported by 39 percent of those who voted, then in 1993 they were already 46.3 percent, and in 1998 — 46.5 percent. During the last vote, which took place on November 6, more than half of all those who took part in the plebiscite — 61 percent — were in favor of joining the United States.

Benefits of the parties

Whether Puerto Rico needs US membership is debatable. Became dependent on the United States in 189In the year 8, in 1917, the inhabitants of the island immediately received American citizenship, which opened up broad prospects for them, allowing them to travel freely throughout America. Then the territory gained partial self-government — in addition to the already existing House of Representatives, the Senate appeared, and in Washington the interests of the archipelago began to be represented by the Resident Commissioner, who, however, still does not have the right to vote. Puerto Rico received its current status in 1947, when the post of governor, elected by popular vote, was introduced. The final touch was the receipt of the territory in 1952 year of its constitution, which was ratified by the US Congress and which formalized the dependence of the archipelago on Washington.

Supporters of joining the islands to the United States argue that this will give Puerto Ricans access to the rights that all residents of the States already have. In particular, they single out the economic component of the reform. In particular, apologists for accession argue that, as part of the United States, the archipelago will receive the right to federal assistance, which it is currently deprived of. According to some estimates, this assistance could reach $20 billion a year.

At the same time, advocates of accession insist, Washington will be able to create new jobs on the islands, despite the fact that the unemployment rate there is about 13.6 percent. For comparison, in the United States in September 2012, 7.8 percent of the working population remained unemployed. However, the unemployment rate in Puerto Rico has always been high: in the 1970s and 1980s, it exceeded 20 percent, and the lowest value was recorded in September-October 2000 — 9.7 percent. However, unemployment is not limited to the complexity of the territory: since 2005, its economy has been in recession, and in 2011 it increased by only 1.1 percent. Puerto Rico’s debt is about $67 billion. Finally, about 58 percent of the residents of the archipelago chose to leave it and now live in the United States.

True, integration into the US economic system promises the islands not only profit, but also losses, since at the moment most of their inhabitants do not pay federal income tax, and companies based there do not pay corporate tax. Therefore, the state investments that Washington will direct to Puerto Rico will turn out to be clearly less than supporters of joining the United States expect.

Economic reform protesters in Puerto Rico. Photo Reuters

Nevertheless, among the arguments in favor of becoming a state, there are not only economic ones. One of the most important is the possibility of full participation of Puerto Rico in the political life of the United States. Now the inhabitants of the islands have almost no influence on the presidential elections, as they do not have the right to take part in the vote. The only thing they can do is support this or that candidate during the primaries, but such influence is unlikely to be of particular importance. Another benefit for Puerto Ricans, perhaps more important, would be full representation in the US Congress. If the territory becomes a state, it will automatically receive two senators (then the number of the upper house will grow to 102 people) and four or five members of the House of Representatives (the number of members of the lower house will not change, which will require a redistribution of the representation of other states).

One of the negative consequences of a possible entry into the United States, also not related to the economy, is the loss of the official status of the Spanish language, and this is often called one of the main conditions for the admission of Puerto Rico to the federation. Puerto Ricans frankly fear that with the adoption of such a requirement, their land, which has a long history, may lose its cultural heritage. And although two official languages ​​exist in only one US state, Puerto Ricans consider the downgrading of Spanish to be unfair. The fact is that two official languages ​​exist in Hawaii, which also have a distinctive history and culture.

As for the United States itself, for them the benefit from the accession of Puerto Rico can be regarded more as a political one than any other. Obviously, the emergence of a new, without exaggeration, backward region for Washington, which itself is going through hard times, is far from a gift: the federal authorities will obviously have to pull newcomers to a more or less acceptable economic level. However, if both Republicans and Democrats traditionally talk about their readiness to give Puerto Ricans the opportunity of self-determination, the latter are more interested in joining the islands to the United States, since the inhabitants of the archipelago will obviously be their electorate.

Technical side

Like the benefits of Puerto Rico’s accession to the US, the correctness of the referendum results has also become a subject of controversy. The fact is that two issues were put to the vote, and both were declared mandatory, that is, there was no direct connection between them. In the first case, Puerto Ricans were asked if they agreed with the status quo. In the second part, it was proposed to choose one of three statuses that could be granted to Puerto Rico to replace the existing one: an independent state, a sovereign associated state in alliance with the United States (a kind of extended autonomy), and a US state.

A number of analysts were dissatisfied with the partial annulment by the authorities of those ballots in which no answer was given to the second question. Partial — because these ballots were not taken into account when analyzing the distribution of answers only to the second question. It is worth noting that the previous time, in 1998, among the options proposed to the participants in the plebiscite, there was a column that allowed them to reject all of the listed options (an analogue of the «against all» column in ordinary elections). And it was this column that was chosen by the majority of the participants in the referendum. This time, there was no such option, which was criticized more than once for being illogical: the voter actually has no choice but to leave the second part blank if he is not satisfied with any of the options offered to him or if he does not want to change the status quo.

Barack Obama and Alejandro Garcia Padilla. Photo (c)AFP

As a result, analysts accused the authorities of Puerto Rico of deliberately distorting the results of the referendum. In their opinion, if we take into account all the ballots rejected on the second question, which turned out to be almost 470 thousand (26 percent of all votes), it turns out that only 45 percent of voters voted for granting statehood to the archipelago, and not 61 percent at all. However, the arithmetic here may turn out to be somewhat more complicated, since it is not known exactly how many of the canceled ballots were those where the current state of affairs suited the referendum participants. It is obvious that such «blanks» really should not be taken into account in an alternative calculation. However, the general meaning of the claim does not change from this, since the number of supporters of joining the United States could indeed be overestimated.

However, the results of the referendum do not mean that Puerto Rico will become the 51st state any day now. And it’s not even that from the very beginning the plebiscite was announced as a consultative one. By itself, this nature of the referendum does not mean that the authorities will simply take note of its results and shelve them. Quite the contrary: now the US Congress must deal with the situation, which will be obliged, on the basis of the voting results, to consider the issue of admitting Puerto Rico to the United States. However, the political preferences of American parties can play a deterrent role here. Following the results of the elections to Congress, the majority in its lower house was retained by the Republicans, who are less interested in accepting the archipelago than the Democrats. So when it comes to voting in the House of Representatives, the question of Puerto Rico may be decided against the islanders.

In addition, the newly elected governor of the territory, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, who, unlike his predecessor Luis Fortuno, is opposed to joining the United States, is about to take his own initiative regarding the status of Puerto Rico.

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