Looking for Unique 4th of July Foods? Try These

Thoughts of July 4th may immediately bring up images of red, white, and blue; fireworks; your famous apple pie recipe; and, of course, the classic backyard BBQ. Get ready to fire up the grill! You can almost hear it sizzling as a light breeze carries through the air the enticing aroma of those juicy burgers or a rack of baby back ribs smothered in barbecue sauce. Also in the air, the sounds of the kids laughing and playing and your playlist of favorite summertime songs.

Over the years of Independence Day celebrations, you and your friends and family have probably created your own traditions. That’s one of the many beautiful things about holidays and celebrations, particularly the Fourth of July: There’s a freedom in how you choose to spend the day, how to create your own fun, and what kind of amazing food to serve! Don’t ditch the deviled eggs or nix your mom’s legendary potato salad, but if you’re looking for a couple fresh 4th of July food ideas to put on the table next to those tasty traditional items, here are four 4th of July foods you might enjoy. Who knows, maybe you’ll serve them again next year and the year after that!

For starters…a starter:

Take a Dip 

In our post about Mother’s Day goodies, we mentioned that Chef Sheldon Simeon (of Tin Roof Maui) recently released a fabulous new cookbook, Cook Real Hawai`i. It’s full of top-notch recipes from the Hilo-Hawaii-born, two-time Top Chef finalist. The book also offers personable insight into the important roles family and local traditions have always played in the creation of Chef Simeon’s delectable dishes.

The first recipe in the section “Heavy Pupus” (appetizers; starters) is for Shoyu Dip with Sesame Crunch. It celebrates the magical local-style combination of mayonnaise and shoyu (soy sauce). Chef Simeon prefaces the recipe by saying this mixture “grooves beautifully with many things, sort of like a homegrown spin on veggies and ranch dressing. At the Simeon house, we didn’t even know what ranch was when we were little!”

So if you’d like to make your crudités platter even cooler, you don’t need to delete the seasoned ranch dip; just add a bowl of this inventive Shoyu Dip. It’s an easy recipe to make and requires less than 10 simple ingredients. Surround two bowls with:

  • Crackers
  • Carrots
  • Celery spears
  • Cucumber slices
  • Broccoli florets
  • Any other dipping veggies or finger foods you like

Fill one bowl with the classic ranch dip, which delivers the cool and creamy, and fill the other with the Shoyu Dip, which supplies the salty and savory (plus a little extra nutty crunch from the sesame seeds).

Grilling up teriyaki chicken? You could even serve the Shoyu Dip as a dipping sauce on the side. And those who want to make a teriyaki-chicken sandwich may have just found their new favorite condiment!

Check out the full recipe and many others in Cook Real Hawai`i, including something to put next to a bowl of macaroni salad: a creative kale salad featuring a classic crispy, crunchy component everyone will love (drum roll, please… (It’s potato chips!).

Take a New Take 

Since 1977, local flavors have inspired us here at Big Island Candies. For example, our Taro Shortbread Combo is an innovative, intriguing addition to our line of shortbread cookies. Taro is the root vegetable that’s been a signature item in Hawaiian cuisine for generations, and it’s used to create the iconic side dish known as poi.

Taro is just too good to stay in a side dish, so we made it the star of this shortbread. Each cookie also features another beloved side: purple sweet potato. These ingredients help give the Taro Shortbread and our White Dipped Taro Shortbread their naturally earthy, brownish-purple hue. Subtle hints of sugar and the creamy white coating for the White Dipped variety add even more interest to the taste and texture.

For your Fourth of July dessert table, add a beautiful purple hue to the red, white, and blue. Combine this twist on shortbreads with scoops of ube (purple yam) ice cream for a new take on “cookies and cream.” Or, if you’re in Hawaii, visit our Hilo Flagship Store or Ala Moana Center store on Oahu to purchase our Frozen Ube Pie Crust Manju (pictured above) that you can easily bake in a muffin pan right at home, Star-Shaped Brownies, or Patriotic Pretzel Rods.

Opting to keep it iconic? Add our Apple Pie, also available at our stores. It’s ready to bake, then you can enjoy its golden, buttery crust and an abundant amount of sliced apples. Top it off with your favorite vanilla ice cream.

Any of these dessert options are worthy of a salute!

Take a Bite (Size)

This year’s Independence Day brings with it a long weekend! Perhaps you and your family will spend Sunday in the park, enjoying a picnic that extends into the evening, maybe ending with an awesome, professionally choreographed fireworks show. With those grand displays, bigger and brighter is better, right?

When it comes to snacks, sometimes bite-size can be bright and beautiful too. Our bite-size cookies deliver big-time flavor and big-time fun as you watch the big show on a warm summer night:

Big Island Candies’ bite-size cookies are available in 6-oz. boxes and 13-oz. containers, which feature re-sealable lids, plus the containers are easy to stack, making them easy transport to and from the park. Keep an eye out, though, the kids—and you—might get caught with a hand in the cookie tub! 

Take a Chance*

Here in Hawaii, there’s one food item that will most likely make an appearance (or several) on a potluck table, just about any time of year. This product has almost become synonymous with the Islands, embraced by families and local lunch shops for generations. It’s also been on (home and restaurant) breakfast and dinner menus as part of entrées and featured in a near-perfect snack that can be taken just about anywhere.

It simply goes by the name of SPAM®. (CAPS LOCK, say it loud and proud!) And the supremely satisfying snack is SPAM Musubi, a rectangular-shaped, sushi-roll-inspired slice of heaven in your hand, consisting of cooked sushi rice as the base, a slice of cooked SPAM on top, with a thin strip of nori (seaweed) wrapped around it to hold it all together. It’s safe to say people, including Chef Simeon, have their own special recipes (tested and perfected) for family and shared with friends. According to the official SPAM website, “Hawaii eats seven million cans of SPAM® products every year.” You can also find a Recipes section featuring an entire page dedicated to various SPAM creations, including a “Musubi Burrito.”

As you plan your Independence Day celebrations and dream about the fun you’ll have, we hope you’ll consider these flavorful 4th of July food ideas. It’s not about breaking with your food traditions but making room on the table to bring in some new ones! Have a safe, fun, delicious Fourth!

*“Don’t Knock It ‘Til You’ve Fried It.”

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