Gabe Norwood's new food venture salutes his Fil-Hawaiian roots

Jun 25, 2021

FORTUNATE enough to have lived in two food-loving cultures, the family of Gabe Norwood into the food business, merging Filipino and Hawaiian dishes into one flavorful mix.

The Rain or Shine veteran and his wife, Lei, have always perceived themselves as casual food enthusiasts. And over the pandemic, their growing interest for it has evolved to the point that they set up Aloha Eats, an online food delivery service.

“We make plans centered on food, and would even travel just to try local food in a particular destination. My wife is passionate about it and cooks for the family a lot. Our kids share our enthusiasm and also like trying out new dishes,” Norwood told SPIN Life. “This love for food led us to our first restaurant venture with other partners, and we really enjoyed that experience.”

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‘Aloha Eats’ is a fusion of Asian dishes, with flavorful ties to Hawaiian cuisines. “Not only there are many similarities between Hawaiian and Filipino cuisines, but the latter is actually ingrained in Hawaiian food culture as a whole,” Norwood said.

Plus, they like rice a lot.

With Filipinos making up about quarter of the state’s population, Gabe said that the island state's food culture is now very much familiar with the most popular Pinoy dishes.

“Filipinos make up a large and growing part of the population, and it greatly influences local food culture. Adobo, pancit, and lumpia are just some of the everyday dishes that are being made in a typical Hawaiian home,” he shared.

He added: "They also have kalua pig, a likely counterpart of lechon, but the former is cooked in an ‘imu’ — an oven created [by] digging a hole underground."

Much like in the Philippines, gatherings and celebrations in Hawaii are also often accomnpanied with food. Lots of it.

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    Aloha Eats was officially opened to the public last June, partnering with food service F&B. Orders can be made through the Grab Food app, and the business is open 24/7.

    Less than a month into the biz, Gabe hopes to share his food experience with his kababayans.

    Norwood was born in North Carolina, but spent his early childhood in Hawaii.

    “Hawaii has always held a special place in our hearts. From my Filipino side migrating to the Aloha state, and being the place where my parents met and fell in love, to my earliest childhood memories and the beautiful setting of our own wedding,” he said. “All these great memories and experiences inspired us to come up with Aloha Eats.”

    Through the resto, he's connecting both his worlds, and indulge his family’s passion for food.

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    Personally, his top picks from their menu are: Burger Steak Loco Moco Plate (a juicy grilled beef patty smothered with mushroom gravy), Salmon Poke Bake, and their very own Pork Adobo Fried Rice.

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