Archive for August, 2016

Foodland Farms Ala Moana opens

August 31st, 2016


Foodland chairman and CEO Jenai Wall behind he counter of the new Foodland Farms Ala Moana Center's donut station, one of about a dozen that give shoppers to-go options in addition to traditional full-service grocery goods.

Foodland Super Market Ltd. officially returned to Ala Moana Center this morning with the unveil of its flagship Foodland Farms Ala Moana store following a Hawaiian blessing and grand opening celebration.

The store will donate a portion of sales made during opening week, today through Sept. 6, to Give Aloha, Foodland’s Annual Community Matching Gifts Program. The 47,395-square-foot store is in the Center’s Ewa Expansion, across from Japan Village Walk.

During the grand opening, shoppers will receive Foodland Farms Ala Moana’s new reusable bag with any purchase of $25 or more, while supplies last. The bag features a play on local puns with whimsical designs such as “Kim Cheehoo!” and “Saimin Says!” Maika‘i Card holders can also receive a commemorative Foodland Farms Ala Moana canvas bag for $5 with one My Rewards Certificate. The offer is valid through Sept. 30, 2016.

The store launched a sweepstakes with prizes ranging from $1,000 in free groceries, two $100 Hawaiian Airlines gift cards and five Aloha Gas gift cards. No purchase necessary to enter the sweepstakes continuing through Sept. 6. Visit to enter.

On Sept. 3, shoppers will be able to earn 400 HawaiianMiles when they redeem one My Rewards
Certificate at Foodland Farms Ala Moana only, with a limit of one per customer.

Charcuterie, cheese and smoked ahi will be offered in the Foodland Farms bar area.

Throughout the week there will be food tastings, product giveaways, cooking demos, keiki activities, and more. Exclusive grand opening specials will also be offered on popular in-store items at Foodland Farms Ala Moana, including king crab legs, Heineken, hot and cold bar items by the pound, Napoli pizza slices, fresh-made donuts, shave ice, and more, highlighting the many food stations that fill the space conceived to be part grocery, part food hall, a "grocerant in keeping with the trend of offering diverse meal options in a grocery setting.

Fresh-made grab-and-go cold-pressed juices, smoothies and fruit-and-vegetable-infused "spa waters" are healthful refreshers.

During a preview event on Monday, Wall said that after closing Foodland prior to the redesign of Ala Moana Center's Ewa Wing, she wasn't intending to return to the mall, but the mall's executives said they would work with the grocer to create the space of their dreams, and what she wanted to introduce was the "next generation Foodland."

Foodland corporate chef Keoni Chang said, "We're staying true to the DNA of Hawaii cuisine, plus introducing what is trending internationally. We've taken things happening in the forefront of metropolitan areas and brought it here."

Foodland corporate chef Keoni Chang stated developing menus for the new store in early March.

Some highlights:

Through Foodland's HI Steak brand, hungry diners will find steak and smoked meat plates.

They've partnered with Ono Pops to create new, natural shave ice flavors such as
lemon toffee, and chantilly cake.

They'll be offering fried chicken and chicken of the day with shaker seasonings ranging from habañero to Sriracha to change things up.

They'll be making pizzas with imported Naples 00 flour.

A sandwich station will offer selections from around the world, including Vietnamese banh mi and Cuban pernil and medianoche (pork and pineapple) panini.

They'll also offer charcuterie, housemade Italian sausages and Spanish-style chorizo.

All this has meant intensive training for staff more accustomed to the old way of simply reheating premade foods.

"They had to learn to make pizzas and know what a good pizza is," Chang said. "Sausage making was becoming a lost art. I think customers like to see the art of things, and it's a great time to bring those back."

That meant reschooling himself.

"I think the last time I made sausage was at the Greenbrier 30 years ago, but it's like riding a bicycle, you never really forget."

We joked that what he has to do next is host a Foodland Farms pop-up restaurant. It's a no-brainer, right? They've got all the produce and products, and showcasing them in a dinner and giving people recipes may inspire people to cook more.

Another store plus, a concierge and will call service so that those who purchase groceries can leave them at the store for pick up later, after they've finished shopping the mall.

A central poke bar will feature an array of sushi, musubi and variations on poke, including this one with avocado and truffle oil.

The store is also home to a Sugarfina candy boutique.

The store is the first Foodland with a First store full service kitchen that rivals that of any large restaurant.

Of course it's still a grocery and in addition to whole fruit and veggies, they'll be offering 20 kinds of pre-cut produce daily to streamline the cooking process for DIY eaters.

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Pokémon trainers play and eat

August 31st, 2016

Lickitung, the Pokémon that got away.

Like everyone else addicted to the game Pokémon GO, I said it would never happen to me.

I started playing the game because my friends started playing it. They got on "just to see" because it had real world repercussions for their businesses as the augmented reality game flowed from mobile screen to the streets and business could potentially flow into whatever business was near a PokéStop.

It was all too easy to get addicted because I have a naturally competitive streak and everyone's goal is to capture all of the 149 Pokémon currently available. Some are harder to get than others and rarely show up.

I knew I was in trouble when I was at Mediterrano restaurant with friends and through the magic of the Go Radar app spotted Lickitung three blocks away. A friend and I leaped out of our seats and made a run for it, crossing King Street and Young streets in a mad dash to Beretania, trying not to become two more Pokémon fatalities.

The good thing is people can get a lot of exercise playing the game because Pokémon "trainers" need to walk to hatch eggs that may contain creatures otherwise hard to get. I've hatched a rare Lickitung and Chansey.

The game tells you to always be aware of your surroundings, but that night we didn't know we had a tail, a person who was following us and after we had caught our Pokémon in a parking lot, asked, "What did you get?"

My friend had captured Lickitung. Mine disappeared in a puff of smoke. I asked this man, "How did you know we were playing Pokémon?"

"Because you were moving with intent, with purpuse," he said, as he, too, added Lickitung to his Pokédex.

While playing the game, I've come across restaurants surrounded by four PokéStops, none accessible from the dining room. It's frustrating to be so close, yet so far. It made me wonder which restaurants had PokéStops for people like me, Poké opportunists who don't have time to chase after them, but will multitask where we are.

So, here's a list compiled with the help of Toby Tamaye and my newsroom colleague Jason Yadao, who's part of the effort to transfer points from the game developer Niantic's Ingress database to a statewide map of PokeThings. He says there are 1,500-plus PokéStops/Gyms on Oahu so far, with more being added daily.

Some people maybe burning out on the game after capturing all the characters but five more characters will be let loose soon, and more will be added next spring. It will pay to keep catching creatures available now that can be evolved further down the line.

Restaurateurs and players who want to share more places, can email me at and I’ll be able to add to this list.

Multiple PokéStops

Big Kahuna’s Pizza: Loaded pizzas at 550 Paiea St.

Blue Tree Cafe: Juice bar and small selection of light, health-oriented salads and sandwiches, at 1009 Kapiolani Boulevard.

Buca di Beppo: Bountiful family-style Italian at Ward Village Shops.

Chart House: Seafood restaurant and bar at 1765 Ala Moana Boulevard.

Dave and Busters: Restaurant and bar at Ward Village Shops.

Doraku Sushi: Contemporary Japanese at 1009 Kapiolani Boulevard.

Eating House 1849: Roy Yamaguchi’s modern spin on plantation heritage food at International Market Place.

Genki Sushi: Fast sushi at Ward Village Shops and Waikele Premium Outlets.

Giovanni Pastrami: at Waikiki Beach Walk.

Highway Inn: Hawaiian fare at 680 Ala Moana Boulevard.

Hank’s Haute Dogs: Gourmet hot dogs at 324 Coral St.

Hokkaido Ramen: Ramen and Japanese curry at 1108 12th Ave.

il Lupino: Italian fare at Royal Hawaiian Center.

JJ Dolan’s: Pizza and pub at 1147 Bethel St.

Kaiwa: Upscale Japanese fare at Waikiki Beach Walk.

Mai Tai Bar: Bar at Ho’okipa Terrace, Ala Moana Center

Morimoto: Contemporary Japenese fare and sushi at The Modern Honolulu, 1775 Ala Moana Boulevard.

Real a Gastropub: Fusion bar fare at 1020 Auahi St.

Ruby Tuesday: Family restaurant at 4470 Kapolei Parkway.

Shokudo: Contemporary Japanese fare and bar at 1585 Kapiolani Boulevard.

Stripsteak: Modern steak house and raw bar at International Market Place.

More PokéStops

The Alley at Aiea Bowl
Bangkok Chef (Iwilei)
Bob’s Bar-B-Que
BLT Steak
Blaisdell Farmers Market
Dave’s Ice Cream/Grace’s Inn (Waimalu)
Fatboy’s/Ninja Sushi/Panda Express (Waipio Gentry)
Forty Niner Restaurant (Aiea)
Kapiolani Community College Farmers Market
Liliha Bakery (original)
Maui Mike’s Fire-Roasted Chicken (Wahiawa)
McDonald’s (west Kapolei, across from Costco)
Palace Saimin
Rice Place (site of former Ah-lang, or Angry Korean Lady restaurant
Richie’s Drive Inn
Shiro’s (Waimalu)
Soon’s Kalbi
Sorabol (Keeaumoku)
Taco Bell (Waipio Gentry, Stadium Mall)
Tanaka Saimin
Zippy’s (Waipio Gentry)

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Short video: Inside Sun Noodle

August 31st, 2016

Here's a small peek inside the Sun Noodle factory in Honolulu, where the humble process of mixing flour, water, eggs and other ingredients to make noodles and dumpling wrappers feeds people hungry for ramen, saimin, gyoza, won tons, and more.

It coincides with my story in the paper today, about how a tiny one-man operation that started in 1981 has grown to become a kama'aina operation at the forefront of a global ramen revolution due to its philosophy of providing artisinal noodles to restaurants' specifications and push for creativity.

Some of that creativity starts with Sun Noodle's New Jersey-based Ramen Lab, that welcomes both consumers and restaurant professionals to learn more about ramen, and helps chefs develop recipes for their shops.

Moving beyond traditional Japanese ramen, they've supported regional incarnations ranging from New York-style Italian ramen, Texas brisket tsukemen in Austin, Texas, and gator ramen in Gainesville, Fla.

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Fanta-Sea Part II: Day trip

August 30th, 2016


We are so far-removed from the source of our food that seeing a living Pacific white shrimp was a thrill to those on The Royal Hawaiian Hotel's Fanta-Sea Table farm tour to Kualoa Ranch's Moli'i Fishpond. A few wanted to hold them in the air to get a good look at them.

The introduction of oysters to Kualoa Ranch's Moli'i Fishpond started in 2008 as an experiment in controlling the excessive growth of invasive algae to create a healthier environment for its food fish. They had already tried adding more herbivore fish, but these were too easily cannibalized by the pond's carnivorous barracuda, ulua and toau.

The oysters not only did their job, they flourished and presented the opportunity to become another sustainable source of food for our isolated islands. The ranch was cerfified to sell shellfish two-and-a-half years ago, and today, visitors to the property can buy Miyagis or Kumamotos on site, or if we're lucky, we can spot them on the menus of Oahu's farm-to-table restaurants.

During Part II of The Royal Hawaiian Hotel's "Fanta-Sea Table" event initiated by executive chef Colin Hazama, that took place Aug. 21, participants who a night earlier had enjoyed feasting on the oysters and other products from Kualoa Ranch and its fishponds, took a bus ride to the country to visit the source of the sumptuous meal prepared by Hazama at Azure restaurant, with the help of Azure sous chef Colin Sato.

Pacific white shrimp fished out of Kualoa Ranch's shrimp ponds.

Pacific white shrimp fished out of Kualoa Ranch's shrimp ponds.

Oysters are removed from their cages and given a "spa day," where their shells are cleaned of algae and barnacles to keep them attractive for market.

Fishpond ki 'ai (guardians) Kui'ipo McCarty and Ikaika Velez took us out on the 153-acre fishpond to visit the oyster cages, placed on the water's surface, where they do nothing but get fat quickly feeding on algae drawn to the surface by sunlight. The ranch doesn't interfere with this natural balance—in place for 800 to 1,000 years according to carbon dating—putting no other food or additives into the water.

Due to the plentiful algae, the oysters grow to market size for dining on the half shell in about nine months, whereas this would take a year to two in Washington and Oregon, which still supply most of the oysters we eat in our restaurants. The flavor of the Kualoa oysters is mild and clean, due to the ranch's process of letting the oysters fast in nutrient-free water and poop days before going to market. Velez said that prior to using this state-mandated practice, the oysters had a more fishy flavor reflecting the pond environment.

Ikaika Velez shows oyster cages that are tied to posts in the fishpond, allowing the oysters to feed and grow in the natural environment. The tumbling action of gentle waves helps smooth the oyster shells so they don't have the sharp, jagged edges of bottom growers.

It was amazing to see the work being done, and learn about the interrelationships between all the flora and fauna that comprise the pond ecosystem. As a fisherman and outdoorsman, Hazama has been a longtime proponent of maintaining the balance between man and nature, and events such as this are a reminder that all of our actions have an impact on the planet.

Over the two days, I learned more about the invasive species we consider trash fish, a self-fulfilling prophecy in which we refuse to eat them just because we are told they are rubbish fish and assume they taste bad or are somehow unclean. Toau is one of them, but the blacktail snapper from Tahiti is as moist and delicious as any snapper, and they are plentiful in the fishpond, where they wreak havoc on native populations. We could keep them in check by eating them, but there is no demand because most people paying restaurant dollars will opt for the familiar rather than take a chance on the unknown. Events like this raise awareness and lead us to commercial realities, like the fish being cast as rubbish by commercial fishermen who can't make money off of catching them.

Following the boat ride on the fishpond and tour of the shrimp facilities, we sat down for another wonderful lunch by the two Colins, this time with a "Down by the Kualoa Bayou" theme inspired by Louisiana cuisine. Here's a look at the day:

Fanta-Sea Table creator chef Colin Hazama, right, with, from left, his chef collaborator Colin Sato, 6th generation Kualoa Ranch co-owner David Morgan and Ku‘uipo McCarty, who runs the seafood program on the ranch.

A view of the fishpond, where fry enter from the ocean through sluice gates, get fat on algae, and are unable to escape back to the ocean.

The next Fanta-Sea Table events will take place Oct. 21 and 22; and Dec. 16 and 17. Following the weekend's dinner, people were signing up on the spot for the Oct. 21 dinner featuring Kahuku sea asparagus and Kona Cold lobsters. Hazama will team with chef Nathan Tasato to present a meal at Azure restaurant featuring chilled Kona mussels and clam brushchetta, Hawaii kampachi carpaccio, white bouillabaisse with tea-smoked Kualoa shrimp and Kona Cold shellfish, fricasee of Kona Cold lobster, Moroccan-spiced Niihau lamb loin and Kona Abalone brulée, and dessert of a local citrus bar.

The next-day excursion will be to Kahuku Sea Asparagus, followed by lunch. The cost is $150 or dinner; $180 with wine pairing; $250 for dinner (no wine) and farm tour; and $280 for dinner with wine pairing and tour.
For reservations for the next event, call the Starwood Waikiki Dining Desk at (808) 921-4600.

After hours in the sun on a boat and touring the shrimp ponds, we were happy to enjoy refreshments including this Kula strawberry and lavender lemonade. Those so inclined could add a splash of Pau Maui vodka.

Before lunch, Azure sous chef Colin Sato presented a demonstration on how to make a Kualoa shrimp salad with Ho Farms smoked tomato medley, charred Ewa sweet corn, and Wailea heart of palm remoulade.

Ku'uipo McCarty with a portrait of longtime Moli'i Fishpond caretaker, the late George Uyemura. You can learn more about this remarkable man at

Hazama also presented a demonstration on how to shuck an oyster. He's able to shuck 150 in 25 minutes. Don't try to break his record, at risk of injuring yourself.

Being on the water inspired the chefs to take their cue from Louisiana bayou fare, so one of the lunch dishes we enjoyed was Kualoa Ranch oyster po' boys with 'Nalo Farms herbs, yuzu kosho mustard aioli, and Maui onion fennel.

Sato also created an outstanding Jidori chicken gumbo with Ho Farms okra, housemade Portuguese sausage, grilled shishito peppers and optional crispy chicken cracklings.

Hazama's Forbidden Dirty Rice with blackened spice, lup cheong and Mari's Garden Tokyo Negi.

Jasmine rice dusted fried green tomatoes with charred Maui onion ranch and crispy pipikaula.

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Fanta-Sea Part I: Night at Azure

August 29th, 2016


An ice display showcased fish from Kualoa Ranch's Moli'i Fishpond that was featured during the latest Fanta-Sea Table collaboration dinner at Azure restaurant in the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

While at the Sheraton Waikiki, chef Colin Hazama's reverence for the work that farmers do to sustain us, led to the start of his Table to Farm dinner series. Now, as executive chef of The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, he has introduced the combination dinner-farm tour concept via "Fanta-Sea," this time focusing on an epicurean journey by sea.

The most recent two-day event started with a chef’s dinner on Aug. 26 at Azure restaurant, followed by an Aug. 27 excursion to Kualoa Ranch's Moli'i Fishpond for a tour and gourmet lunch. Both meals were presented by Hazama and Azure sous chef Colin Sato.

At the heart of the meal was Kualoa's farm-fresh oysters, Pacific white shrimp, toau, and 100 percent grass-fed beef.

The toau was a revelation on two levels. First, the blacktail snapper is delicious. The reason we don't hear more about it is because it's an invasive species deemed a rubbish fish because it doesn't have commercial value as long as people don't know about it.

A pre-dinner small bite of verjus glazed Kualoa oyster with Wailua tomato water, pickled Kunia watermelon rind and serrano pepper. Pairing: Nicolas Feuillate Brut NV.

Another small bite of Kualoa shrimp.

It also provides a cautionary tale about nature's delicate balance and how man's shortsighted ideas for improving on nature can yield unexpected results and wreak havoc on a fragile environment.

The species was introduced from Tahiti in 1956, with the idea that the tasty, delicate white fish could become a cash crop. But it is a carnivorous night-feeding fish that fed on the fishpond's day-feeding herbivores, including more popular eating fish such as the mullet, whose populations have plummeted.

Old timers would say that we should not try to improve on nature, but we must accept and adjust to what the land and sea give us. At the moment, it seems to be telling us to eat more of what we consider to be rubbish fish such as toau and ta'ape. But it is a hard sell. Because of the cost of going out to eat, no one wants to take a chance on the unknown. So we continue to order the fish we recognize: ahi, onaga, opakapaka, opah.

Educational cuisine programs such as Fanta-Sea go a long way in introducing new ways to think about the food we eat and the impact of our choices.

First course of charred Kualoa Shrimp with Ho Farms Market radish, 'Nalo Farms mizuna puree, yuzu kosho, and Naked Cow Dairy brown butter dashi. Pairing: Henriot Blanc de Blanc NV.

A dish of Hot & Cold Oio (Hawaiian bone fish) included lomi oio tartare, pickled Kualoa ogo, Wailea Ag garlic-ulu chips, Mari’s Garden ginger-watercress puree, and a crispy shiso wrapped oio tempura with local red onion preserve, Kualoa papaya mustard and young coconut-avocado mousse. Pairing: Veuve Clicqout Rose NV.

Crispy Toau was served with Ewa corn pudding, Ho Farms summer ragout, seared Samoan crab dumpling, and Mari’s Garden negi pistou. Pairing: Bouchard Beaune de Chateau Blanc Chardonnay, 2013.

Kualoa Ranch Slow Cooked Ribeye with prickly ash, Pacific oyster and Hamakua mushroom stuffing, spiced Ho Farms butternut squash purée, Mari's Garden smoked melted Tokyo negi and marjoram-cognac essence. Pairing: Red Schooner Voyage Malbec 2013 by the Wagner Family.

Dessert by executive pastry chef Carolyn Portuondo was Wailea Ag Vanilla Kaffir Lime Semifreddo with a mac nut feuilltine crust, Kualoa Sunrise papaya and candied hibiscus reduction. Pairing: Pattrick Bottex Bugey Cerdon NV.

Next: Day 2 field trip!

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

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