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In the July 3 article “More venues offer diners a taste of Hawai‘i, close by,San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Vanessa Hua explores the Bay Area’s booming plate lunch business.

Warm island breezes are rare around San Francisco Bay, but Hawai‘i’s vibrant culture and cuisine are blossoming anyway, from the Peninsula’s El Camino to Columbus Parkway in Benicia. The classic Hawaiian “plate lunch” ... is available any time of day at three new restaurants on the San Bruno-South San Francisco border alone. ...

The Bay Area is home to a tight-knit community of Hawaiian expatriates, many here for school and for jobs. Between 1995 and 2000, more than 44,000 people moved from the island state to California. Organizations followed. Founded in 1999, the Hawai‘i Chamber of Commerce of Northern California now has 2,500 subscribers to its newsletter. ...

The expansion of Hawaiian restaurants comes as Americans are becoming more adventurous eaters, industry analysts say, and barbecue is growing in popularity. ... For Hawaiian expatriates, it’s comfort food. For many others, Hawaiian barbeque is a filling and tasty alternative to fast food.

“Middle America is looking for an opportunity to trade up, with bolder flavors and cultural immersion,” said Aaron Allen, chief executive of Quantified Marketing Group, restaurant consultants in Orlando. “To walk away with something more than the typical hamburger, they’ll pay a little more, and the Hawaiian concept fits that perfectly.”

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