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Hawaii, You Had Me at Aloha

In the May Travel + Leisure—our annual Food Issue—I take a look at the next wave of Hawaiian cuisine. This January I spent two weeks eating my way around Oahu and the Big Island, along with my wife, T+L Features Director and Food Editor Nilou Motamed. (You may know Nilou from NBC’s Today Show.) And I have to say: Hawaii, you had me at aloha. Island chefs, restaurateurs, farmers, and food artisans are firing on all cylinders these days, driving a remarkably creative culinary scene—one that’s also surprisingly affordable, given the state’s reputation for high prices. You heard it here first, people: Hawaii is shaping up to be one of the hot food destinations for 2012. Book your flights now.

To whet your appetite further, here’s a peak at a great new documentary called Ingredients: Hawaii. Directed by James Beard Award–winning filmmaker Robert Bates, it’s an inspiring look at the islands’ field-to-fork revolution, and at the challenges that Hawaii’s traditional foodways and farms face in today’s global economy. (Did I mention it’s inspiring?) Look for appearances by chefs profiled in our story—including Ed Kenney of Town in Honolulu and Mark Noguchi of He’eia Pier General Store & Deli on Oahu’s east coast.

Watch the 60-second trailer above, and check out ingredientshawaii.com for info on upcoming screenings.

I’ll be back here on Carry On later this week with a spotlight on Madre Chocolate, Oahu’s first bean-to-bar chocolate operation. (You haven’t tasted chocolate till you’ve had Madre’s amazing sea-salt-and-pink-peppercorn bar.) Till then: Mahalo nui.

More on Hawaii’s New Cuisine
Madre’s Amazing Artisanal Chocolate
Artisanal Cocktails from Town Restaurant
Farm-to-Table, Hawaiian Style

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Peter Jon Lindberg is Travel + Leisure's editor at large. You can follow him on Twitter @PeterJLlindberg.

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