PBS Hawaii – HIKI NŌ Episode 617 | Kapaa High School | Mexican Restaurants

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Kapaa town has two fire stations, three grocerystores, a Starbucks, and nine Mexican restaurants.

In sucha small town, how could so many Mexican restaurants compete with each other? I don't think it's a competition, becauseeverybody has their own style.

In Mexico, it's a big, big country,every state has a different way to make food.

The nine restaurants in Kapaa serve food froma variety of regions in Mexico, from the Coast of Guerreroin Southern Mexico, to the slopes of Oaxaca, to Mexico City.

Each has a different styleand serves Mexican food in their own unique way.

A specialtyserved at Al Pastor is beef tongue.

We're the only food truck and restaurant establishmentthat actually does beef tongue.

We have a lot ofpeople, all the Filipinos, all the Latinos, come and eat.

We cook, like, two or threetongues a day, so.

Another item unique to the food truck is cookingmeat in the Al Pastor style kitchen.

They do the Al Pastor on the rotisserie, andit's so yummy.

It's like bacon with a Mexican twist.

Other restaurants feature homemade tortillas,local ingredients, and Hawaiian-inspired dishes.

Many ofthese recipes have been passed down from generation to generation.

Each dish has a taste of theirfamily's unique history.

For Tony of Paco's Tacos, serving aguas frescas brings back memoriesof his youth in Mexico.

When we were, like little kids, my mom alwaysmake us, you know, like lunch, and she always chooseone flavor to make.

Like, sometimes she make horchata the rice, rice aguas frescas andsometimes tamarind, sometimes Jamaica the hibiscus tea.

And that's what we make here in Paco's Tacos.

While the spike in restaurants could be becauseof the delicious food, it could also be due to the rise in theMexican population.

According to a study by the Migration Policy Institute, Hawaii hasseen a Mexican population increase of a hundred sixty-fivepercent since 1990.

There is like a huge population of Latinosactually here.

We've kind of, yeah, embraced the Latinocommunity here.

And they all come to eat, and they're all of our regulars.

Today, the aloha spirit is reflected in thevalues of the Mexican restaurants.

We're grateful to be in Kauai, and we're reallygrateful that we're allowed to be making food for allKauai.

It's amazing how every person makes their own flavor.

And especially, you know,when you make in a good mood and you make it with love,it tastes even better.

And it shows in how the customers are treated.

We don't call them customers.

We call themguests.

Because we treat them as a guest, like a familymember.

The addition of Mexican restaurants in theKapaa family has created a truly unique mixed plate.

We serve from our familia to the ohana, andwith mucho aloha, of course.

This is Jon MarkAlumpe from Kapaa High School,for HIKI NŌ.

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