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Big Island man plans to keep making pasteles even though fire destroyed his home

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A Hawaii island pastele maker said he plans to continue making the traditional Puerto Rican dish even though a fire destroyed his rural Puna home.

Peter Mercado has been making pasteles, which are similar to tamales and popular among Hawaii residents, since he was 18. Each week, he and his family make hundreds of pasteles, which he sells for a dollar each. 

The 51-year-old father of nine told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald that selling the green banana morsels helped pay for the mortgage on his home. 

But there was an explosion on his property on Friday night and firefighters weren’t able to save the house. 

Police are investigating the case as possible arson.

Mercado says he doesn’t know who would do such a thing, and that he always kept the home unlocked.

 

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