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LOCAL VIBE

WORDS BROOKE REHMANN

SMOKY GOODNESS

Looking to add a little spice to your morning breakfast? Portuguese sausage, or more formally known as linguiça in its home country, is typically made from smoke-cured pork that gets seasoned with spicy paprika and garlic. When Portuguese immigrants left their homeland, typically from the Azores, an island chain in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean tied to the Portugal mainland (much like Hawaiÿi is to the US), they brought with them their culinary traditions, including what has been adapted as the “Portuguese sausage.” This tasty sausage, along with Spam, is the go-to breakfast meat of the Hawaiian Islands, perfect with a plate of fried eggs and a scoop of white rice. You’ll see it added to fried rice dishes and noodles or even on püpü (appetizer) menus, and McDonald’s offers Portuguese sausage as a breakfast option. Next time you’re in line at the hotel’s breakfast buffet or see it on a menu, give this flavorful local staple a try.

SPECIAL BIRD

The ÿalae kea, or the Hawaiian coot, is an endangered small waterbird endemic to Hawaiÿi. With a black head, dark gray body, and white under tail feathers, one of its most striking features is its conspicuous white bill and frontal shield. The Hawaiian coot can be found all throughout the Island of Kauaÿi except the higher mountain areas. On the Big Island they are found in Hilo, the valleys between Pololü and Waipiÿo, as well as the slopes of Mauna Kea (but no higher than 6,600 feet), and in the different ponds, like ÿÖpaeÿula Pond, along the North Kona/South Kohala coastline, preferring wetland areas. Hawaiian coots prefer to eat a diet of leaves, seeds, tadpoles, snails, insects, and crustaceans. Though they prefer to eat on land as well as the surface of the water, they will also dive for their food. Interestingly, though, these birds have the ability to fly between islands if their food sources become depleted. Traditionally, the ancient Hawaiians saw the ÿalae kea as a deity, but also as a tasty bird to eat. To help the Hawaiian coot recover its population, visitors and residents are asked to be mindful of the threats that hinder its recovery: loss of coastal plain wetland habitat, the introduction of predators, the introduction of non-native plants, including mangrove and water hyacinth, as well as avian diseases. Try to keep your cats indoor and your dogs on a leash when these special birds are nearby, especially around coastal wetlands so they can live on for future generations.

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