I’m lumping McDonald’s for Hawaii, Guam and Saipan all together. They are pretty much the same and all share the one unique thing I find interesting.
The McDonalds in Waikiki did something I liked an haven’t seen anywhere else. They gave you a free package of diced pineapple with every meal: breakfast or dinner. It was a descent sized portion of pineapple too. A similar sized package cost $3.99 across the street at a convenience store.
Waikiki, Guam and Saipan all served Spam and rice for breakfast. In Guam they also served Chamorro sausage and Portuguese sausage. I tried them both (not at McDonalds) and couldn’t really tell the difference. They are both rather spicy.
The idea of rice (and even fried rice in some places) is something which you wont find in the mainland United States, but is something you get used to pretty quick. In fact, I have really come to like rice and eggs.
What all three places have in common at their McDonald’s is they serve taro pie. (see photo)
I guess taro pies were originally served in Asian McDonald’s then picked up in Hawaii and later in the Marinas. The idea of a taro pie isn’t shocking, but serving it as a dessert sort of is. Taro is a root vegtable. It’s like a potato or perhaps a sweet potato. Usually if a pie has potatoes in it, it would be joined with meat and served as an entree. (One of my favorite dishes are pasties which are Cornish pies that are really big in Northern Michigan)
The McDonald’s taro pie is sweet. It is designed to be served as a replacement for the apple pie. The sweetness comes from the purple, jelly like filling that is inside the pie. It is far sweeter than a sweet potato is sweet, so its not coming from the taro itself.
The other reason I’m surprised they have taro pies has to do with the difficulty of taro cultivation, at least in the Pacific. Taro is probably the biggest staple food in the Pacific. Growing it can be a real pain. Often, if you live on an atoll, you have to dig very deep pits to access fresh water to grow the taro. I don’t know how they do large scale cultivation of taro, but I can only assume they don’t have to dig enormous pits.
I would really like to see a McDonald’s cassava pie….