Rumaki Revisited. This is the 1950's Done Delicious

Posted by Jill Bosich on

Have you ever had Rumaki? Or if you have, has it been a while?! Everyone seems to be loving the jalapeno popper craze, well let's take a step back in time to appreciate a little snack, a little "one bite wonder" recipe that's even easier and just as big in taste delivery!

Popularly served at the famous Trader Vic's restaurants in the 1950's and 60's, Rumaki has origins dating back as early as the 1940's as referenced on the menu of "Don the Beachcomber", a popular restaurant in Palm Springs, CA at the time. Many versions however also included a chicken liver and for many, where that's not such a desirable ingredient, they are truly savory delicious.

So onto this recipe version! Although it's got Polynesian roots, I give it my very ranchy spin by incorporating a bit of heat and a bit of sweet by way of cayenne pepper and maple syrup in addition to the ingredients that truly make this snack a starter classic.
To have great success, be sure to choose a bacon brand that's not too thickly sliced. Typically packages NOT labeled "thick cut" will work just fine. The rumaki will cook much more evenly and the interior won't be underdone with the exterior looking just right. Here's an example.
Also, I recommend the water chestnuts are not only drained well, but patted dry. This will make sure the bacon gets good and crispy without a lot of extra moisture preventing the crisping process. Just a little chef tip for when you are wanting color! So here we go! I hope you love these little sweet and savory bundles! They are great to make ahead and pop into the oven just before you need them. They also freeze well and you can thaw and bake as needed!


  • 1 ½ pound bacon, sliced (not thick cut)
  • 16 ounces whole water chestnuts, drained
  • ¾ c. dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 t. cayenne
  • 2 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 c. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 c. ketchup
  • ½ t. garlic powder
  • ¼ c. maple syrup


Preheat oven to 375F. Cut bacon in half. Wrap each half slice of bacon around a water chestnut and secure with a toothpick. Place in a 9x13 baking pan lined with foil. Bake for 10 minutes then remove from oven to carefully drain the rendered off bacon fat from the pan. Return to the oven. While the bacon bites are baking, stir together brown sugar, cayenne, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, ketchup, garlic powder and maple syrup. Using a pastry brush, carefully pour sauce over the partially cooked bacon bites. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until the bacon is cooked to your liking. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Adapted from: Simply Stacie

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.