Archive for September, 2016

Uber Factory takes top honors in Rice Fest 'Riceipe' contest

By
September 29th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

The team of chef Andy Dalan of Uber Factory and KITV4's Brandi Higa took top honors during the Riceipe cooking competition that was part of the 7th annual Rice Festival that took place Sept. 25.

Chef Andy Dalan of Wahiawa's Uber Factory dessert shop successfully defended his Riceipe champ title, taking home first place honors for a second consecutive year during the 7th annual Rice Festival's Riceipe cooking contest that took place Sept. 25 on Auahi Street fronting Ward Centre.

Dalan, also a chef consultant at Waimea Valley, was teamed with KITV4's Brandi Higa for the task.

Chef Andy Dalan's winning dish of pineapple and rice crème brulée. As good to eat as to look at.

The event featured four chef/TV celebrity teams vying for the top spot, with recipes judged on criteria of taste, creativity, simplicity of preparation and visual appeal. The other teams were Johnny Kai (Treetops Restaurant) and Hawaii News Now's Lacy Deniz, Maile Sengoura (Maile's Thai Bistro) with KHON2's Kelly Simek, and Robbie "Rbz" Acoba (Side Street Inn on Da Strip) with OC16's Tiny Tadani. All three presented variations of fried rice.

Dalan differentiated himself from the pack by presenting a surprising pineapple and rice crème brulée tart. Rice is used as a basis for dessert throughout the world, but not so much in the U.S., so it did get curious audience members coming up to the stage area to see just how good a rice brulée could be.

And that's the whole point of the fest, to see this food staple in a new light, look beyond the basics and appreciate rice in all its forms.

Spam Musubi Man was there, soaking up the love we have for the Spam and rice combo.

Chef/restaurateur Maile Sengoura cooks up a meaty fried rice with KHON2's Kelly Simek.

Sengoura's beautifully plated fried rice.

OC16's Tiny Tadani was teamed with Side Street Inn on Da Strip's chef Robbie Acoba, to create the second place "Japa-Pino Pride" rice dish below, notable for the sweetness of corn and flourishes of nori and bonito.

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Hawaii News Now's Lacy Deniz sautés onions while helping Johnny Kai with his fried rice dish, below.

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Among dishes being offered by vendors were arancini from Mega-Load burgers.

Da Bolalohan and BBQ Grill was featuring dishes such as a beef brisket fried rice loco moco and a spicy grilled pork rice bowl.

There was a line for Sweet Creams genmaicha roasted rice ice cream rolls and below, strawberry rolls that were later topped with Rice Krispies, strawberry mochi and a fresh strawberry.

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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 nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Sabb Thai delivers authenticity

By
September 28th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

A Laotian specialty, nam khao tod ($12), or crispy rice salad, is on the menu at Sabb Thai. Mint, cilantro, fermented pork, scallions, fish sauce, peanuts are tossed with the rice, and plenty of lime juice gives the dish its distinctive sour note. It's served with lettuce leaves for wrapping.

Thai cuisine evolved over 30 years in Hawaii to suit our love of sweet, fatty, savory flavors, and downplay the sour aspects you’d find in Southeast Asia. Sabb Thai comes closest to the real deal.

The small mom-and-pop restaurant sits across from Palama Market near Don Quijote, in the space that formerly housed Tae Teppanyaki. A small roster of plate lunches accommodates local preferences for the simple charms of garlic chicken ($10), sautéed shrimp ($14), grilled steak ($13), and calamari ($14).

But the restaurant’s individuality shows in its a la carte menu. It’s owners are Thai and Laotian, so a handful of Lao dishes also make an appearance.

Here's a look at a few of the dishes:

Fish sauce, garlic and salt and pepper marinated ribs are delicious here.

Khao piak sen (currently $10), is a Lao chicken udon soup. Rice flour and tapioca noodles add starch to the chicken broth, giving it more body than its American counterpart. The soup also features cubes of boiled blood cakes as silky as almond pudding or soft tofu.

Rolled beef is a nod to former tenant Tae Teppanyaki, but it's very plain, geared toward those who like no-frills dining.

A basic Thai red curry is another dish for those who don't care to venture far from the tried-and-true. An ample amount of bamboo shoots made it stinkier than most.

Thai pork sausage usually contains a lot of pieces of fat, which tends not to sit well with Americans who grow up averse to visible fat. It is otherwise delicious, but my friends and I ended up with piles of fatty globs on the side of our plates.

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Sabb Thai is at 1666 Kalauokalani Way. Open 1 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays. Call 445-3882.

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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 nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Yakiniku pops up in Liliha

By
September 21st, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Skirt steak, pork belly and beef tongue on the grill at Ono Sushi & Yakiniku.

The scenery on Liliha Street rarely changes, so I did a double-take two weeks ago when the Korean take-out shop, Ono Sushi & Yakiniku, started looking a little more like a sit-down restaurant and advertising all-you-can-eat yakiniku.

The site had been home to Mama’s Kitchen and Mama’s Korean BBQ, which first-time restaurant owners Victor and Stella Kim purchased two years ago.

The couple earns points for having the creativity to turn part of their take-out menu into a more elaborate experience in a bedroom community where there are few sitdown options.

Start with the eatery’s plate lunches, such as kalbi ($13.99), BBQ beef ($11.99), spicy pork ($11.99) and BBQ chicken ($11.99), and if you like those, you can opt for the experience of cooking these to-go items yourself at the table.

The all-you-can-eat yakiniku dinner starts with a round of all of the above, plus pork belly, inner and outer skirt steak and beef tongue, at a cost of $29.99 per person for a minimum of two people (it’s $24.99 for lunch), and $15.99 per child between the ages of 3 and 10.

After you finish the first round, you can order more of the meat you like. Basic buffet rules apply, especially, don't order more than you can finish on the spot.

The all-you-can-eat yakiniku special starts with a round of eight different kinds of meat.

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Ono Sushi & Yakiniku is at 1805 Liliha St. Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays. Call (808) 524-0024.

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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 nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Cook with See Dai Doo Society

By
September 19th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Pork belly and Chinese taro are covered in sauce, then topped with scallion and cilantro before being steamed to make kau yuk.

Kau yuk, ip jai, an East-West stir-fry of beef and bok choy, and vegetarian spaghetti, were on the menu when the See Dai Doo Society presented a cooking demonstration at its social hall on Sept. 18. (The recipe for kau yuk follows.)

I had been hearing about the event for months during Mandarin classes, where everyone was especially enthusiastic about biting into the ip jai, or steamed mochi dumplings, which few people make these days, save for special occasions.

Ip jai filled with black sugar. Below is a more savory version of the steamed mochi dumplings, filled with a mixture of ham, mushrooms, dried shrimp and water chestnuts.

sdd-ip

Charlene Chang led the demos for the ip jai and kau yuk (pot roast pork), before the men took over the burners to round out the feast to come. Bixby Ho showed how to make easy vegetarian pasta, while See Dai Doo president Wesley Fong, with the help of daughter Cecilia, showed how to make a simple stir-fry of flank steak and bok choy.

He offered up one of the Chinese secrets for tenderizing meat, which is to soak it in water with a little baking soda and massage it for 5 minutes.

He said, "The reason I cook is because I was told all good Chinese husbands cook."

See Dai Doo Society president Wesley Fong, with daughter Cecilia, takes a hands-on approach to leadership. He prepared an East-West stir-fry of flank steak and bok choy. People kidded him later, "What was West?" because beef and bok choy are both eaten by Chinese.

Fong's finished dish.

My father cooked, even if his idea of cooking meant getting an assist from Hamburger Helper.

That we were all there to enjoy the event is the result of the foresight of forebears more than a century ago. The society was founded by 18 men, immigrants from the See Doo (Sidu) and Dai Doo (Dadu) districts of Zhongshan county in Guangdong, on May 10, 1905.

As a matter of survival and mutual support in overseas communities that did not always welcome them, clan groups formed to provide banking and loan services, secure housing, host social events and invest for the future.

In 1910, See Dai Doo members contributed what was then a fortune, $5,000, for the purchase of the Wong Siu Kin School building at 285 N. Vineyard St. to serve as the group's headquarters. Today, rentals provide income that allows the society to function, and public events such as the cooking demo are their way of preserving their heritage and giving back to the community.

When the demos were pau, it was time to eat. The demos represent a two-day commitment, because food prep to feed the crowd took place a day ahead.

Someone brought sliced sugar cane for dessert and for the taking. It was so good and sweet. Not like the dried out canes often inserted into tourist cocktails. I grew up in Waipahu, so we were very familiar with sugar cane.

It all starts with pork belly.

KAU YUK
Recipe courtesy Charlene Chang

1-1/2 pounds pork belly, cut into approximately 2-inch-by-3/4-inch slices
1 half Chinese taro, cut into 2-inch-by-1/2-inch slices
1/2 bottle red nam yi (red fermented bean curd
1/2 bottle white nam yi
Oyster sauce, to taste
Brown sugar, to taste
1/4 cup whiskey or cooking wine
Scallion and cilantro (Chinese parsley) stems

In a bowl, mix red and white nam yi, brown sugar, oyster sauce and cooking wine. Set aside. Sprinkle a little sugar on the pot belly. In a skillet, brown the pork belly on all sides on medium heat.

Arrange alternating slices of pork belly (skin side down) and taro in a large bowl. Pour the wet ingredients on top of the pork belly and taro. Layer scallion and cilantro stems on top of arrangement.

Place in hot steamer; steam at least 1-1/2 hours. Allow kau yuk to sit in the pot for another 1/2 hour.

Lift the bowl out of the steamer and pour the sauce out. Place a platter or plate on top of the bowl. Turn the bowl over so the skin side up is facing up and ready to serve.

Pork belly and taro are arranged in alternating slices before sauce is added and it all goes into a steamer.

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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 nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Dean & DeLuca opens mañana

By
September 13th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Dean & DeLuca will open its doors tomorrow, offering to-go and fast salads and lunches, wine, cheese, charcuterie and its own branded candies, pastas, chips, preserves, and more.

Dean & Deluca will open the doors to its first Hawaii location at the Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki Beach at noon Sept. 14.

The gourmet food purveyor first opened in New York City's SoHo district in September 1977 and became known for searching the globe for the finest ingredients and kitchenware, and as a go-to spot for premium food gifts, wine, cheese and charcuterie.

The smaller Hawaii location means its less of a grocery and more of a boutique shop that will also be a site for quick bites to eat, whether purchasing food items by the pound, sandwiches or salads to go, to eat on the spot in a casual outdoor space, or head upstairs to the wine lounge where you can enjoy sips, cheese and charcuterie boards, or panini and bruschetta featuring showcased ingredients. The paninis are wonderful, at about $15 or $16 each.

The curated wine list features unique domestic and international selections with a focus on natural and biodynamic wines where possible. Food is being prepared by sister restaurant BLT Market, upstairs in the Ritz-Carlon Residences, under the leadership of executive chef Johann Svensson.

In addition to Dean & DeLuca-branded artisanal goods, there will also be packaged goods from such local purveyors as Kahala Fresh, Madre Chocolate, Haleakala Creamery, Monkeypod Jam, Choco Le'a, and more.

Dean & DeLuca is in the Ritz-Carlton Residences, 383 Kalaimoku St. and it will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Here's a quick look at some of the selections that await:

Among cheese selections that await in the wine bar are fontina, morbier, port salut and mimolette.

Selections available by the pound downstairs include broccolini with garlic, wild rice with mushrooms, meatloaf, beef rib roast, and below, spinach salad.

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Caesar salad with chicken.

Charcuterie available in the wine bar. Sample prices are $12 for 18-month aged prosciutto di parma, $18 for a cheese of the day platter, and $16 for sliced charcuterie and cheese with an assortment that might include prosciutto, coppa, chorizo, salami, cow's milk and goat milk cheeses.

A peek inside the wine bar.

The pastry case and coffee bar downstairs.

Treats for dessert lovers include lilikoi cakes, strawberry shortcake, and macarons, below.

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More cheese selections.

Quail eggs.

Dean & DeLuca preserves and products available for purchase downstairs.

Dean & DeLuca branded flatbreads, honey and caramelized onions.

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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 nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

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