Archive for October, 2015

Celebrate Hawaii Seafood Month

By
October 8th, 2015



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comI knew there was a reason I snapped this photo when I was at Paradise Seafood & Gourmet Market over the weekend. It's National Seafood Month and Hawaii Seafood Month, and the market specializes in offering the kind of fish, like the yellow taape, that are typically ignored by consumers.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

I knew there was a reason I snapped this photo when I was at Paradise Seafood & Gourmet Market over the weekend. It's National Seafood Month and Hawaii Seafood Month, and the market specializes in offering the kind of fish, like the yellow taape, that are typically ignored by consumers.

Hawaii's well-being is tied to the health of the ocean surrounding us. The ocean sustains us in many ways, from providing food and healing, to relaxation and recreation, and for some, a steady income.

But the economics of development on land and overexploitation of ocean resources has put stress on marine ecosystems, leaving the sustainability of global fisheries in question. Add to that a killoff of microscopic marine life with the advance of global warming, and it's easy to foresee a day when we will no longer have seafood for our tables.

I can almost hear vegans and animal rights activists crying, "Yes! Just stop eating fish!"

But the reality is that with the global population set to increase 4 billion to 11 billion by 2050, how is the planet going to feed that many mouths? In this case, I don't think kale and amaranth are the answers.

Hawaii Seafood Month is a statewide campaign in conjunction with National Seafood Month, to raise awareness of sustainability issues and food self-sufficiency.

The campaign had its launch at MW Restaurant on Wednesday, one of several restaurant, supermarket and retail partners offering sustainably harvested, locally produced seafood to minimize the impact on overfished species and ecological systems, and help ensure future supplies.

From left, MW chef Wade Ueoka, United Fishing Agency assistant general manager Brooks Takenaka, and chef Lee Anne Wong of Koko Head Cafe and Hale Ohuna, have time to relax after guests at the Hawaii Seafood Month launch party have all been fed.

From left, MW chef Wade Ueoka, United Fishing Agency assistant general manager Brooks Takenaka, and chef Lee Anne Wong of Koko Head Cafe and Hale Ohuna, have time to relax after guests at the Hawaii Seafood Month launch party have all been fed.

Ueoka's contribution to the Hawaii Seafood Month kickoff was amaebi with pickled Hamakua eryngi, nagaimo and wasabi mashed potato, and below, smoked opah with Kahuku sea asparagus, tomato and onion.

Ueoka's contribution to the Hawaii Seafood Month kickoff was amaebi with pickled Hamakua eryngi, nagaimo and wasabi mashed potato, and below, smoked opah with Kahuku sea asparagus, tomato and onion.

sea opah

Kampachi crudo with beet sauce and avocado (hidden under the fish) made a nice starter for the evening, served up by chef Lee Anne Wong.

Kampachi crudo with beet sauce and avocado (hidden under the fish) made a nice starter for the evening, served up by chef Lee Anne Wong.

Pili Group and Mission Social Hall & Cafe chef Mark Noguchi offered up Samoan crab dip and ulu chips. The crab was fished out of He'eia Fishpond, where it is considered an invasive species. The stomach don't know that. I grew up in Waipahu fishing the crabs out of West Loch. Now I have to wonder, was I eating out of polluted water? That area is now fenced off.

Pili Group and Mission Social Hall & Cafe chef Mark Noguchi offered up Samoan crab dip and ulu chips. The crab was fished out of He'eia Fishpond, where it is considered an invasive species. The stomach don't know that. I grew up in Waipahu fishing the crabs out of West Loch. Now I have to wonder, was I eating out of polluted water? That area is now fenced off.

Wong also presented a cured opelu fritter over luau and coconut milk accented with chili pepper water, with paiai "croutons" that we first assumed was Spam.

Wong also presented a cured opelu fritter over luau and coconut milk accented with chili pepper water, with paiai "croutons" that we first assumed—this being Hawaii—was Spam. Though in keeping with the evening's message, Spam might be considered an introduced species, and therefore, not to be used on such an occasion.

Noguchi's he'e was a favorite at my table, the octopus made tender with a 45-minute pounding that paid off for the diner. With that kind of workout who needs a gym?

Noguchi's he'e was a favorite at my table, the octopus made tender with a 45-minute pounding that paid off for the diner. With that kind of workout who needs a gym?

Visit www.hawaiiseafoodmonth.com and click on the "Partners" tab to see its links to ThisFish.info, which tracks seafood by code to offer information on when, where and how your fish was caught, as well as special offers continuing through the end of October.

For instance, at Grondin: French Latin Kitchen, a portion of sales of a daily fresh local catch special will go to the Hawaii Seafood Council to help in its mission. Recently, opelu on its menu was harvested on the Miloli'i Fishing Grounds, South Kona.

Consumers can also do their part by choosing less popular, but abundant species of fish. Visit www.seafoodwatch.org to learn about Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch and download a Hawaii Seafood Watch guide to restaurant and sushi bar "Best Choices," "Alternatives" and seafood to "Avoid."

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage is in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Taste of Sichuan at Fortune Noodle

By
October 7th, 2015



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comDan dan noodles at Fortune Noodle showcase the full potency of the Sichuan pepper (hidden in the sauced at the bottom) that helps makes Sichuan cuisine so distinctive. It is definitely an acquired taste.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Dan dan noodles at Fortune Noodle showcase the full potency of the Sichuan pepper hidden in the sauced at the bottom) that helps gives Sichuan cuisine its distinctive character. It is definitely an acquired taste.

We did not have a true Sichuan restaurant until the arrival of Fortune Noodle at the new 808 Center at 808 Sheridan St.

The small, casual restaurant is the first Hawaii branch of a Chinese-based restaurant chain. It specializes in a short, fast menu of noodle soups, grilled meat and meat-and-vegetable sautes.

Dan dan noodles (below) are the star of the menu, at $6.99 for a small bowl. It will be an eye-opener for those who think they know dan dan noodles. This is the authentic version in which a sauce of chili oil, garlic and crushed Sichuan peppercorns lies at the bottom of the bowl, topped with noodles, ground beef and green onions. Mix it all together to get the full impact, which is not as much hot as mouth-numbing, thanks to the "peppercorn," which is not really a pepper but the dried husks of coriander seeds. Its herbal character is similar to lavender.

Though the dish is delicious, thanks to garlic and real peppers, the numbing factor and the soapy herbal taste is off-putting. It made me want to reach for something to rinse out my mouth. That didn’t stop me from going back for more. On the second trip I left the sauce at the bottom of the bowl and dipped the noodles in only as much sauce as I could tolerate.

Warm up to the peppers with red chili oil dumplings ($6.99). Then cool off with a dessert of iced “noodle” ($2.99), plant gelatin molded in its bowl and topped with brown sugar and a strawberry purée. It looks odd, but it’s so worth ordering.

This restaurant is really worth a full review, but alas, space in the newspaper is limited and with so many eateries opening in the new 808 Center, it would appear too repetitive to keep showing up at this spot week after week for my formal reviews. I'll be back at the center soon enough anyway, likely as soon as next week!

Chili oil dumplings with a dab of garlic paste are a winner for those who can handle a little bit of heat.

Chili oil dumplings with a dab of garlic paste are a winner for those who can handle a little bit of heat.

Don't attempt the boiled beef in hot chili sauce ($29.99) unless you're acclimated to the Sichuan pepper in the smaller dan dan noodle bowl. All those red chilis are no problem to me, but the herbal-flavored Sichuan peppercorns in the dish cause an uncomfortable numbing sensation.

Don't attempt the boiled beef in hot chili sauce ($29.99) unless you're acclimated to the Sichuan pepper in the smaller dan dan noodle bowl. All those red chilis are no problem to me, but the herbal-flavored Sichuan peppercorns in the dish cause an uncomfortable numbing sensation.

I loved the sweet delicacy of the Chef's Special Oxtail.

I loved the sweet delicacy of the Chef's Special Oxtail.

An assortment of skewered meat and vegetables. I only had the shrimp, at left, which were delicious.

An assortment of skewered meat and vegetables. I only had the shrimp, at left, which were delicious.

Mapo tofu with rice. Given that mapo tofu abounds locally, I'd try other items before ordering this again. It's $10.99 with rice.

Mapo tofu with rice. Given that mapo tofu abounds locally, I'd try other items before ordering this again. It's $10.99 with rice.

Marinated fried pork is one of my favorite dishes here, accompanied by a house togarashi-like chili pepper blend for dipping or sprinkling over the pork. It's delicious with or without the heat.

Marinated fried pork is one of my favorite dishes here, accompanied by a house togarashi-like chili pepper blend for dipping or sprinkling over the pork. It's delicious with or without the heat.

Sauteed beans for balancing the meat and noodle items.

Sauteed beans for balancing the meat and noodle items.

Dessert is not very pretty but it's very refreshing. Plant gelatin forms a glob of  a "noodle" topped with brown sugar and a pour of strawberry purée. I was skeptical but ended up loving it.

Dessert is not very pretty but it's very refreshing. Plant gelatin forms a glob of a "noodle" topped with brown sugar and a pour of strawberry purée. I was skeptical but ended up loving it.

Fortune Noodle is at 808 Sheridan St. Call (808) 349-3711.

———

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage is in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

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