Monday, June 27, 2022 |
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PO‘IPU — Coconut syrup out of a package without the mess is the answer to more than 15 years of trials by Barbara Oki.
“It’s quick. It’s easy,” said Oki, a retired school teacher and restaurant owner. “But it took a long time to develop, and now, people can have it with a few cups of water and a few minutes.”
Oki, whose three sons, Ryan, Dean and Richie, are involved with the coconut syrup in one form or another, said the process to produce the dried syrup, which forms the base of the popular haupia dessert, was very trying.
“Every time we would go in to get the health clearances, the product would fail,” Oki said. “For 15 years, we tried and each time, it would not get the clearance.”
Remembering how her restaurant customers would say, “This is the best coconut syrup we have ever had. You should package it,” Oki said she could not get over the obstacle with the fresh product, so she decided to look into drying it.
Two years later, the packaged version of Hawaiian Coconut Syrup received all necessary clearances and certifications and Oki unveiled it to an eager public.
“Simply add the package of dry mix to 11⁄2 cups of boiling water, or 2 for thinner syrups,” Oki said. “It’s so simple and quick. Anyone can do it.”
The syrup forms the base for the coconut syrup, which helped catapult Oki’s pancakes to a highly desired spot.
It also forms the base for Hawaiian desserts such as haupia, coconut tapioca, also known as tapioca haupia, pina colada, smoothies, coconut sundaes and rice pudding.
“My sons are all involved with the coconut syrup,” Oki said. “Ryan, the eldest, is at the Coconut MarketPlace farmers markets (and) the Kaua‘i County Farm Bureau-coordinated markets. Dean is on O‘ahu, and Richie serves the ‘famous’ Oki pancakes with coconut syrup” at his restaurant.
Oki said the packaged coconut syrup is all-natural and tastes exactly like the homemade syrup, which was available when she had her restaurant.
Recipe cards are also available when visiting the booths at the farmers markets, or the 8-ounce packages are available at www.kauaitropicalsyrup.com.
To visit Oki, stop by Richie’s Bar and Grill, located at 2978 Umi St., Lihu‘e, and get a first-hand narrative while enjoying the pancakes.
• Dennis Fujimoto can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.
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