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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Corned beef musubi a blend of Ireland, Islands

By Wade Kilohana Shirkey

Call it a new Island tradition.

L&L Drive-Inn will stage the World's First Corned Beef Musubi Eating Contest at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Kahala Mall. Prizes for the first "Corned Beef Musubi King (or Queen)" include a trip to Las Vegas.

Gregory Yamamoto • The Honolulu Advertiser

Erin go, brah! Corned beef musubi! Doesn't it just scream the islands — as in Ireland and Hawai'i?

What's next, green rice and eggs?

Well, the rice will be green at tomorrow's World's First Corned Beef Musubi Eating Contest, intended by sponsoring L&L Drive-Inn to bring out that wee bit of the Irish in all of us.

And, setting a record at the 10 a.m. Kahala Mall stage event is no sweat: There's no existing world record to break.

The competition, served up by L&L in the name of a little fun will combine Hawai'i's fondness for musubi — and the Irish penchant for corned beef.

Lest the green rice throw you, it's only the green hana ebi powdered shrimp sprinkling usually seen in sushi.

The idea for the offbeat combination of traditions came to L&L President Eddie Flores Jr.

"I wanted to do something no one had done before, a contest, and make it a tradition," he said.

"Corned beef?!" he wondered. "It'll either flop ... or be highly successful," said the seasoned entrepreneur, whose business savvy has turned a tiny Liliha restaurant into a booming empire.

He used the staff as his test kitchen to perfect the new concoction. Ingredient by ingredient fell by the wayside: canned corned beef, ketchup, shoyu — even the traditional corned beef mustard didn't cut the mustard. Only the wee bit of teri sauce put between the meat and the rice stood the test of the local palate. And, of course, nori to keep it all together.

He can't imagine the concoction will be such a gastronomical success as to become a regular L&L menu item.

"It's just something to have fun with," he said of the St. Patrick's Day promotion.

And, of course, with all the Spanish speakers on the West Coast, Flores said, many respond in wonderment at the name of the wildly popular Loco Moco: "Loco" means crazy. And "moco?" "Crazy hana buttah," Flores said diplomatically.

The Advertiser's Wade Kilohana Shirkey is kumu of Na Hoaloha O Ka Roselani No'eau. He writes on Island life. You can reach him at 525-8090.