Hawaii has one of the richest culinary heritages in the United States. Where else would you find competitions for the best saimin, sushi, Portuguese sausage, laulau, plate lunch, kim chee, dim sum, shave ice, and hamburgers? Hawaii's contemporary regional cuisine (affectionately known as "Local Food" by residents) is a truly amazing fusion of diverse culinary influences. In The Food of Paradise: Exploring Hawaii's Culinary Heritage, Rachel Laudan takes readers on a thoughtful, wide-ranging tour of Hawaii's farms and gardens, fish auctions and vegetable markets, fairs and carnivals, mom-and-pop stores and lunch wagons, to uncover the delightful complexities and incongruities in Hawaii's culinary history that have led to such creations as saimin, crack seed, and butter mochi. Part personal memoir, part historical narrative, part cookbook, The Food of Paradise begins with a series of essays that describe Laudan's initial encounter with a particular Local Food, an encounter that puzzled her and eventually led to tracing its origins and influence in Hawaii. Representative recipes follow. Like pidgin, the creole language created by Hawaii's early immigrants, Local Food is a creole cuisine created by three distinct culinary influences: Pacific, American and European, and Asian. In her attempt "to decipher Hawaii's culinary Babel," Laudan examines the contributions of each, including the introduction of new ingredients and the adaptation of traditional dishes to Hawaii's way of life. More than 150 recipes, photographs, a bibliography of Hawaii's cookbooks, and an extensive glossary make The Food of Paradise an invaluable resource for cooks, food historians, and Hawaiian buffs.