Story by Shannon Wianecki | Photography Nina Lee
For the seafood finale at this year’s Kapalua Wine & Food Festival, Chef Ryan Luckey of Pineapple Grill prepared some serious eye candy. Balanced atop purple Moloka‘i sweet- potato mash and liberally douse d in yellow Thai curry sauce was a plump Markea prawn, skewered on a sugarcane stick. The standout dish snared the prize for “Best of the Fest.”
Sugarcane skewers have long been popular in Vietnamese cooking and hit the mainstream a decade ago. Used in place of a bamboo spear, they add sweet pizzazz to grilled shrimp or Asian spiced meats. Doubling as a garnish and a sweetener, they also make excellent swizzle sticks for fancy cocktails.
You can purchase sugarcane sticks frozen or canned, or make your own from fresh cane—not such a difficult prospect for island residents. Simply shuck the thick rind from the cane and slice the inner fibrous flesh into narrow skewers.