Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

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

September 29th, 2016


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.


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


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.


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.

Cook with See Dai Doo Society

September 19th, 2016


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.


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.

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.

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.

The Kahala meets Asia streets

September 12th, 2016


Satay skewers sizzle on the grill during The Kahala's Asian Street Food event Friday.

Inspired by the bustling street and night markets of Asia, The Kahala hosted its first Asian Street Food event on Sept. 9.

Guests were welcome to visit stations set up on the beachfront lawn outside Plumeria Beach House for drinks and food selections like wok-fried garlic prawns, satay skewers, Indonesian corn fritters, and dim sum with Tsingtao and Taj Mahal beers, wines and more.

Woks and grills set up on the lawn brought some of the street sizzle to the venue, that is decidedly cleaner and much more serene than the markets of Singapore or Bangkok. This being The Kahala, diners also had the run of the restaurant for seating, so everyone could dine comfortably without the usual struggle to juggle drinks and plates as at other street-oriented events.

<p align="left">A selection of Indian beef curry and Thai chicken curry kept warm on the grill.

In between bites, diners could stop by calligraphy and a craft station, where I was able to make an origami box. With most people focused on eating however, little origami kits with instructions were offered for those who wanted to try their hand at making boxes, lucky stars and cranes at home.

It was a great relaxing evening, and though no decisions have been made over future pop-up dining events, I hope they will continue offering new themes and dishes, especially ones hard to find locally. (Hint: Being there gave me a craving for Singapore chili crab and prawn mi over the weekend so I finally made it from a box mix I had purchased there. But sadly, it wasn't the same as the real deal.)

Tibetan prayer flags fluttered between coconut trees, while tables were graced with Chinese lanterns.

Singapore noodles tossed in a wok on the lawn. The finished dish below:


Satay skewers and delicious Indonesian corn fritters.

Korean BBQ beef shortrib sliders.

It was hard for them to keep the pork hash tray full. These were made fresh with juicy diced pork.

Chinese chow funn.

People who needed to give their stomach a brief rest, could get a mini origami lesson from Casey—whose father, Alan Arita, went table to table performing magician's tricks—or visit a calligraphy station.

A make-and-take origami box and crane.

After the event, I had a craving for Singapore chili crab, and made it from a box mix I purchased when I was in Singapore, but I always prefer to have someone else do the cooking for me.

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.

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.

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.

Recent Posts

Recent Comments