Buddha’s Hand

Enlightenment is nearly guaranteed.


Shannon Wianecki

Chef’s Tip: To make a flavorful simple syrup, grate an average-sized Buddha’s hand. Simmer with one cup of sugar and two cups of water, and strain.

Chef James McDonald, the creative force behind I’O, Pacific’O and the Feast at Lele, has a larger pantry to draw from than most chefs—in fact, he’s got an entire farm. At O’o Farm, a gorgeous spread of fruit trees and tidy vegetable rows up in Kula, McDonald can plant whatever he might need in his kitchen. His citrus orchard is particularly diverse. Dangling from one tree is a bright yellow, tentacled fruit called “Buddha’s hand.” Its white, pithy center isn’t bitter like most citruses, and because it has no juicy pulp, you can use the entire fruit in recipes requiring zest. Chef James collects this exotic harvest—one of the oldest cousins in the citrus family—to make sorbet at Pacific’O. He also recommends flavoring swanky cocktails—such as Caipirinhas or Mojitos—with the lemony, aromatic fruit. Enlightenment is nearly guaranteed.


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