Lobster with mochi rice steamed a lotus leaf bowl was among the highlights of a dinner presented at Jade Dynasty by hosts Titus Chan and Kimo Wong.
Once an educator, always an educator. People 40 and older may remember Titus Chan as one of the original television chefs, right up there with "The French Chef" Julia Child, and "The Galloping Gourmet" Graham Kerr.
But few know Chan was a math instructor before finding TV stardom in 1972, when "Cooking the Chan-ese Way" debuted on KHET, followed by a national PBS release in 1973, introducing the art of Chinese cooking to 200 public television stations across the United States.
It was a combination of ease with instruction and being in front of the cameras, as well as his knowledge of Chinese cooking that got him the gig, and more than 40 years after starting to educate people in the "Chan-ese" way of cooking, he's still a proponent of learning more about Chinese cuisine.
One of the origiinal celebrity TV chefs, Titus Chan.
A frequenter of Chinese restaurants, he says he feels he hasn't done his job when he sees people going to the restaurants and ordering the same old, like beef broccoli and sweet-sour pork, when Chinese fare has evolved so much over the decades.
To prove his point, he teamed up with Kimo Wong to host a nine-course dinner at Jade Dynasty Restaurant, showcasing options beyond beef broccoli, in hope that of encouraging people to step outside their comfort zone and perhaps try one new dish at a time.
Now that it's graduation season, most of these festive dishes can be prepared with 24 hours notice.
In addition, the restaurant in the fourth-level Ho'okipa Terrace offers dim sum offerings during the day, mirroring the latest innovations in Hong Kong and China. Call 947-8818 for reservations or information.
Jade Dynasty owners Alan and Sylvia Ho with Bank of Hawaii VP Kimo Wong and Titus Chan.
The first course of crisp, juicy pork in egg crepes, and garlic-marinated cucumbers (also plated below), arrived on this lighted vessel.
Steamed whole wintermelon soup arrived looking like a flower in bloom or burst of fireworks, with the rim of the melon lined with crab meat.
A baked Pacific oyster was topped with shrimp, scallop, spinach and a Portuguese-style curry sauce.
Crispy Peking duck skin and bun.
The duck meat was presented in lettuce cups.
Sweet, tea-smoked tiger prawns was one of my favorite dishes of the evening.
Braised pork ribs were presented for viewing before being taken back to the kitchen for shredding for individually portioned buns, below.
Housemade silken tofu was ladled into bowls with ginger nectar for dessert.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.
Ebisuya serves up broke da mouth kalbi beef udon bi bim bap.
There's a reason every bite at the newly open Street Food Stadium is delicious.
Every bite had to pass muster with Tomoya Tsuruhara, CEO of HL Honolulu LLC, the company behind the opening of this food truck park in a lot next to Home Bar & Grill on Kalakaua Ave.
More than 50 vendors applied, but only 10 were chosen for this revolutionary incubator concept that benefits aspiring entrepreneurs and chefs wanting to break into the food truck industry. SFS breaks down obstacles to entry by owning and leasing the 10 food trucks, so wannabe business owners don't have to deal with location, regulatory and cost burdens, giving them a turn-key outlet with short-term leases of six months to a year.
HL Honolulu CEO Tomoya Tsuruhara is revolutionizing the food truck business in Hawaii.
Current lease holders include Gindaco, a chain of takoyaki restaurants popular in Japan; Sahara, Middle Eastern cuisine from Kan Zaman; Ebisuya udon; HI Cravings acai bowls; Edo Mae Gyoza; Rice Tacos Tokyo; Samurai Grill; and Poke Roll
A beer and wine bar completes the picture.
Following a VIP preview April 1, Street Food Stadium officially opened April 2 at 11 a.m., and will be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily at 1687 Kalakaua Ave.
Here's a quick look:
The grand opening started with a maile lei blessing.
The Poke Roll truck is one of the first you'll spot from the Kalakaua entrance to the Street Food Stadium.
At the Gindaco truck, Yukari Whittingham is eager for a taste of its popular takoyaki, below.
A Middle Eastern sampler from Sahara, including chicken shawarma, dolma and hummus.
Bar service is offered all day.
A display of Edo Mae Gyoza.
Spicy garlic shrimp ramen is the bomb! It delivers everything promised.
Makaweli Ranch tenderloin tartare with pickled ho'io, pecorino, Ululoa amaranth and truffle was my favorite dish of the evening at the "Hula Grill Digs Farmers" farm-to-table event, paired with Ocean Vodka.
Hula Grill Waikiki paid tribute to Hawaii’s ranchers and paniolo during "Hula Grill Digs Farmers," a farm-to-table event that took place at the restaurant on March 23.
Chef Matt Young's menu highlighted the Kauai-based Makaweli Meat Co., with five stations offering food and drink pairings at $65 per person.
A portion of ticket sale proceeds will be donated to the Royal Order of Kamehameha, which supports the Paʻu Riders of the King Kamehameha Floral Parade. June 11, 2016, marks the 100th anniversary of the parade that will begin at Iolani Palace and continue down Kalakaua Avenue to concludes at the Waikiki Bandstand.
Guests included several pa'u riders, including pa'u queen Gayle Fujita Ramsey.
The event is part of Hula Grill’s charitable Legacy of Aloha program, supporting local non-profit organizations that foster sustainability in our communities and/or preserve the Hawaiian culture and the culinary arts.
The view from Hula Grill.
For this paniolo-themed event, even the Lanikai Brewing Co. bottles dressed for the occasion. Excuse the spelling of "paniolo" on the inset caption. I was playing with Snapchat and the booboos are impossible to fix!
A snap of Ocean organic vodka. I promise to get a stylus so my handwriting is better!
A different kind of loco moco, made with burger topped with roasted Hamakua mushroom and bordelaise sauce, with 146-degree poached Ka Lei egg and rosemary arancini. Paired with Deep Island Hawaiian Rum.
Red curry-marinated Makaweli skirt steak was accompanied by coconut-braised taro, Ho Farms cherry tomatoes, and toasted peanuts. Pairing: Lanikai Brewing Co. Imperial Red Ale with Ginger.
Niihau lamb ragu with handmade pappardelle, tomatoes, melted leeks and Naked Cow Dairy feta. Pairing: Lanikai Brewing Co. Pillbox Porter.
Dessert came in a paper bag, accompanied by a Lanikai Brewing Co. Haupia Imperial Stout and Okole Maluna chocolate gelato milkshake. I promise to get a stylus so my handwriting is better.
Spareribs in black bean sauce was cooking when June Tong presented a cooking demonstration for the See Dai Doo Society.
In Chinese four pillars astrology, my bazi chart is heavy on water. Water flows. Water can be as gentle as a brook or raging like a tsunami. It's one of the strongest of the elements, seeping into crevices to break rocks apart. In relation to the other elements, water douses fires, rusts metal, causes seeds to sprout from the earth, and nourishes wood.
Because water is an unstoppable force, I love freedom and hate being put in a box. I disdain authority, which is represented by metal.
There is no metal in my sign. So, the surest way to make me do something is to tell me I can't do it.
I was in Shanghai a few years ago and met a designer from Brooklyn who, after starting his business in China, became fluent in Mandarin. A disciplined sort in contrast to my free spirit, he dared me to learn the language and wanted to bet that I could not do it in a year.
Whoa, them's fighting words! So next thing you know, I started attending Mandarin classes offered by the See Dai Doo Society. Difficult, serious stuff, but it's not all about how hard work. The society's programs extend to other cultural pursuits such as Chinese cooking.
Start with three pounds of ribs that have been parboiled and lightly dredged in flour.
On March 20, the society welcomed "Popo's Kitchen" cookbook author June Tong for a demonstration of her black bean sparerib, mochi rice and dau lau recipes.
I was interested in the dau lau, or mochi balls, because it's something my mom made when I was a child and over the years, everyone got busy, moved away from home, and I forgot all about dau lau until my memory was sparked by seeing it again at a new year festival at the now-shuttered Grand Café.
It is a new year treat that can be enjoyed anytime of year. Unlike anything in Western cuisine, every element of the dau lau is symbolic, starting with the white of the mochi rice flour, representing purity, according to society member Sharlene Chun. Its spherical shape represents infinity, with no beginning and no end. The stickiness of the mochi rice also represents family cohesion, and toppings of coconut represent good health, peanuts stand for longevity because of the length of the vines and the nuts' enduring quality, sesame seeds reflect an abundance of sons and wealth, and the sweetness of brown sugar is equal to the sweetness of life.
There's a reason the "Popo's Kitchen" cookbooks have held up over time. The recipes are simple to make and delicious. For the spareribs, for example, all the ingredients went into a wok and simmered for 45 minutes, with all the magic happening while the cook rests.
Then, of course, the best part of the demo was the feast that followed. While Tong and her assistants demonstrated cooking in small batches, more work was being done in the society's kitchen, where volunteers humbly cooked up what they called a "snack," but the rest of us would call a meal, for about 50 lucky souls. Xie xie!
Leonard Kam prepares to add garlic and black beans to James Acopan's wok.
Cookbook author June Tong passes the finished dau lau to Dwayne Wong for sampling.
Dau lau in a coating of shredded coconut, peanuts and brown sugar. Each of the ingredients holds meaning.
SPARERIBS IN BLACK BEAN SAUCE
3 pounds spareribs, cut up
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 can chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cube chicken bouillon
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
Parboil spareribs. Rinse and drain well. Lightly dredge in flour.
Heat oil in heavy pan. Stir-fry black bean mixture. Add spareribs and brown.
Add seasonings while browning spareribs. Add broth and bring to boil. Cover with lid, lower heat and simmer 45 minutes.
Thicken with cornstarch mixture. Place on platter and garnish with green onions and Chinese parsley.
DAU LAU Flour mixture
1 pound mochi flour
16 ounces water
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup peanuts, chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Combine flour mixture and mix well. Pinch dough to form approximately inch-size balls.
Boil a pot of water. Drop mochi balls into rapidly boiling water. When dough floats to the top, remove with a slotted spoon. Roll cooled balls in topping mixture.
STICKY MOCHI RICE Mochi rice mixture
4 cups mochi rice
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon hondashi
1/2 cup dry baby shrimp, washed and hard-boiled
1 cup lup cheong, cooked and diced fine
1/2 cup smoked ham or roast pork, diced fine
1 cup black mushrooms, soaked, par-boiled and diced fine
1 cup green onions, diced fine
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon five spice
Cook rice in rice cooker according to directions. Heat wok, adding 3 tablespoons of oil. Stir fry filling mixture. Combine rice and filling mixture as soon as rice cooker shifts to "warm." Mix well and let steam 30 minutes or more. Drizzle on soy sauce to taste, if desired, and mix well.
Homestyle Meals larb sticky rice burger was served up during a popup at Wang Chung's in Waikiki.
Leave it to Wang Chung's owner Danny Chang to come up with another attention-grabbing invitation to his popup with Homestyle Meals Ashley Thaira. With her larb sticky rice burger as the star attraction, his headline read: "Me Larb You Long Time," in luring the hungry to sample a $12 Lao-themed family dinner that took place Feb. 11.
It's one of many homey, family style popups he has planned for his fun pau hana pupu and karaoke bar, because he's a natural-born social director who just loves bringing all kinds of people together.
As for this particular event, Chung, our hi-energy host with the most, explained that he was celebrating the Chinese New Year in Chinatown when he came upon Thaira's booth serving "the most delicious home-style Lao cooking. They had unique dishes that you don't find here in Hawaii such as Nam Khao Tod (Lao crispy rice ball salad) and this amazing larb sticky rice burger."
PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / email@example.com
Look mom, no wheat! Gluten-free rejoice! The larb sticky rice burger was the highlight of a popup at Wang Chung's.
Ashley Thaira shows her green papaya salad, also below.
The burger is of minced pork, and the patty is dipped in a sweetened fish sauce before being layered with cucumber, cilantro and green onions between two sticky rice buns. Yummers! What's more, it's perfect for this gluten-free era.
Also on the menu was a green papaya salad, Nam Van, a dessert of fresh fruit and tapioca in coconut milk, and Sa Dok Bua, lotus tea scented with pandan leaves.
Beyond the popup, Homestyle Meals and Thaira's $8 larb sticky rice burger can be found at the Mahiku Farmers Market at Iroquis Point 3 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays at 5105 Iroquois Ave. She's looking for more venues in downtown Honolulu. Let's hope that happens soon and I'll keep you posted when that happens.
Wang Chung's is in the Stay boutique hotel at 2424 Koa Ave. in Waikiki, behind the Hyatt Regency Waikiki. Open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Call (808) 921-9176.
Inside Wang Chung's.
——— 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.