Archive for the ‘Markets’ Category

Explore Hyatt Regency Waikiki Farmer's Market

January 29th, 2014
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hyattcaneOne of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Farmers Market vendors is Lincoln Vo, “the sugar cane guy,” who runs stalks of cane through a specialized cold-press juicer for a full cup ($4.50) of pure sugar cane juice, with a touch of calamansi. We've been taught to fear products associated with sugar, but according to the Livestrong organization, sugar cane juice keeps glucose levels constant. It’s also an alkalizing drink that decreases acid and is full of essential minerals.Nadine Kam photos

As soon as Sven Ullrich took on executive chef duties at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki in fall 2011, he embraced all things local, and then some. He scoured markets for all Hawaii had to offer, from fresh seafood to artisan cheeses to tropical fruit including cheesy mabolos, puddinglike sapotes, mangosteens, jackfruit and dragonfruit, items not common on local tables.

A native of Hamburg, Germany, he sampled everything in order to fairly represent Hawaii on his menus. “It was very interesting for me. I had to try everything, Rainbow Drive-In, all the L&Ls. It’s been very fun and very educational.”


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That early experience has led to a new farmers market, introduced last fall, that takes place 4 to 8 p.m. Thursdays at the Hyatt. The chef selects purveyors whose locally made products he loves and who aren’t widely known, understanding that these artisan food companies could use a boost to make their efforts sustainable. One of the newest products is a delicious Kona coffee butter spread made in Waimanalo by Eric “Fats” Gaspar and his wife, Kahea, infused with Kona coffee from Kuni Goto. It’s delicious spread on toast, bagels, pancakes, waffles or steak, at $10 a jar.

What's more, the Hyatt is also starting a boutique project of its own, introducing an apiary housing 20,000 honeybees, which by summer may result in enough honey to serve in its restaurants and to make available at the farmers market.

“We’re working on the bottles and labeling now,” Ullrich said. “It’ll be 100 percent sustainable for the hotel.”

A whirl around the market:

hyattplateKalihi Corner's Tiffany Bracero, left, offers her local specialties ($8 per plate), including hamburger steak, beef stew, stuffed pork chops, and shoyu pork with turnips and black mushroom, ewith a touch of star anise.

hyattmoreWhat's a farmer's market without plenty of beautiful fruit and veggies?

hyattfruitLilikoi from Frankie's Nursery.

hyattmalaThere's fruit cream-, chocolate- and custard-filled malasadas for about $1.75 apiece.

hyattccSpun Paradise's yummy cotton candy is made from 100 percent organic cane sugar and contains no additives or dyes. Among flavors are lychee, pineapple, mango, coconut, sea salt caramel, macadamia nut and lili­koi. A 2-ounce container goes for $4. Don’t feel bad about eating it all — it has only 75 calories per container.

hyattmacawOne of the market's fans, a hyacinth macaw. When I last saw him, he was eating a Thai summer roll.

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Thailand eats Part 2: Terminal 21

September 15th, 2013
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Coconut candy on the ground floor of Terminal 21, one of the major malls along the Sky Train route, Asoke station. Nadine Kam photos

BANGKOK, THAILAND — At Terminal 21, one of the major malls in Bangkok, one of the food courts is set up like a marketplace for individual street-style vendors. It's cool that the cost of food is also no more than street cost so that you can get a full plate for about USD$1 to $1.50. One day I splurged and got a plate and a fresh fruit smoothie for a whopping $3!

You put money on a food court card before ordering at the various vendors so they don't have to deal with cash or make change to keep traffic flowing.

Which made it sad to come home and go back to paying $12 for a sandwich and smoothie here.

On the ground floor there's another area for confection sellers, ranging from Dairy Queen to locals hawking coconut and jelly candies and other treats.

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Someone who saw this photo when I posted it to Facebook said he wouldn't eat this. I looked at it and said, "I have to eat that!" Various forms of pork with hard-boiled eggs stewing together. Below, the pork plate for 45 baht, about USD$1.50 with rice, egg, pickled vegetables. I added the chili peppers from a condiment tray.

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Condiments.

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Jelly candies.

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Looks more like a street marketplace than mall food court setup.

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People on lunch break await smoothies.

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Cups are filled with fresh fruit awaiting blending into all-fruit smoothies. They do add a bit of sugar, but you can request no sugar.

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The Terminal 21 mall is loosely set up to duplicate airline terminals around the world. On the "Paris" level, there are macarons and Western-style desserts like the chocolate mousse cakes below.

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Thailand eats Part I: Open air

September 15th, 2013
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This chicken, coated with a light, sweet barbecue sauce was delicious. I negotiated 20 baht, about .65 cents, for two pieces, at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. — Nadine Kam photos

The mobile food vendor has made a comeback in the West, but the Thais are experts, hawking everything from noodle soups to grilled meat to dessert on land and on dirty water.

I knew I wanted to eat the street food so it's recommended that those traveling to Thailand get immunized against hepatitis A. I also got tetanus and typhoid injections, but the hep A hurt the most and I was left with a big bruise! What we go through for a taste of authenticity.

What is also authentic is getting ripped off. I was warned to watch out for the taxi drivers, but you never know what's going to happen when you get into a cab. I caught a cab outside the royal palace, a good place to scoop up tourists. I was heading for the Jim Thompson house, and the cab driver seemed friendly enough. Then, the scam starts. First, he says he's going to make one stop for gas. So I goes, "Fine. Just one stop."

Then as we're moving along, he says he's going to take me to a jewelry gallery and if I look around, they'll give him a free liter of gas. "You just have to look 10 minutes," he said.

Sigh. "All right, but no more than that. I have to meet someone for dinner," I said.

Later on, he says it's not good enough to look for 10 minutes. I have to make it look good, 20 minutes before they'll give him gas. And if I buy, they'll fill his tank!

I actually did have to buy a gift for someone, but later he asked, hopefully, if I had spent $10,000 baht, about $350. "Forget it," I said.

Nevertheless, I booked him to take me to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market the following day. And he cheated me again, taking me to the tourist entry area, where I had to pay $2,500 baht, about $80, to get on a boat to get to the market, instead of the walk-in entry. I actually did want to get on the water, and probably would have ended up paying around that anyway, but I just didn't like the way it was done. (It's basically the same cost for one person as a couple, because the boat operator's time cost is the same.)

They have the tourist thing down, snapping my photo on the boat so that a plate bearing my image was waiting for me on my return, about $7. I bought it because I didn't want a picture of me circulating around Thailand!

A lot of times the drivers will also turn off their meters. One did that when I went to the airport and I caught him midway through, so I asked him how much he would charge me. He said $600 baht, about $21. The real cost is about $400 baht, or $14, so I told him that's all I was paying. Arguing with taxi drivers became tiresome, so at the airport I converted all my baht to dollars. I didin't feel like going back to Thailand.

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Two of these tourists ran their hands through the dirty water. Why they would do that, I don't know.

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Market vendor of bananas and mangosteen. Sure, the market is touristy, but the boats also provide a service to the community,  making their way from home to home to hawk their fare. The women trade with each other, and as you can see below, socialize while eating their own cooking.

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Fish, chicken and pork on the grill in Sukhumvit.

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Waiting for the hungry in Sukhumvit.

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The plastic to go bags at left contain sauce.

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Meatballs and sausages being offered on the streets of Lumphini.

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Fish and skewered, barbecued frog (they looked like toads) were offered by this Lumphini vendor.

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This bag of cockles being sold in the Lumphini district was 35 baht, roughly USD$1.12.


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There was construction and a lot of dust flying going on behind these Sukhumvit vendors.

Your daily bread at Brug

July 8th, 2013
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brugbacon
Nadine Kam photos

Can't go wrong with bacon and cheese bread.

St. Germain is no more at Shirokiya Ala Moana. In its place is Brug, a Hokkaido institution for 35 years, known for its low-calorie, preservative-free breads, inspired by German baking techniques.

A grand opening for the new shop-within-a-shop took place July 3, with samples of 40 different kinds of bread set up. Brug actually has about 100 different styles of bread and pastry in its repertoire, ranging from distinctly Japanese, like the large and mini adzuki-filled anpans, to French- and Italian-American-style offerings, like the pizza-style offerings.

Customers lined up to fill their trays with varied mixes of croissants, cinnamon cake, apple danishes and specialty dry kase, with its light cream cheese center.

The carbs all wreaked havoc with my diet for the day, now that I'm keeping tabs via the My Fitness Pal app.

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Customers lined up to take their pick of about 100 different kinds of breads and pastries.

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Croissants are a staple at Brug.

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Bags of rye flour front an informational display featuring Brug founder Takemura Katsuhide.

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Samples of 40 different kinds of bread were set up for sampling.

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Pear danishes awaiting selection by customers lined up in the background.

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More selections to choose from.

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Taste of Marukai draws 1,000 to sample Japanese fare

April 12th, 2013
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mtoastNadine Kam photos
After a kagami biraki ceremony, Mr. Takemura, president of Tsukasabotan Brewing Co., of Japan, shared a toast with 3660 On the Rise chef Russell Siu, Marukai Corp. executive vice president Richard Matsu, and Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

Marukai Wholesale Mart welcomed food and sake fans to enjoy dozens of dishes along with a variety of sake, shochu and Japanese beer during its annual Taste of Marukai event that took place April 11 at Marukai's Dillingham store at 2310 Kamehameha Highway, which packed in its 1,000 guests easily.

Sure there were lines for sashimi, sushi from Gokujo Sushi and edibles cooked up by 3660 On the Rise chef Russell Siu, but there was plenty to go around, so much so that chances are, most people probably got full before they could sample every offering.

Although there is less emphasis on outside chefs than in past years, in favor of showcasing fresh seafood and products carried by Marukai, crowd pleasers from past events were back, including fresh grilled abalone, platefuls of sashimi, made-to-order handrolls, tempura, yakitori, and more.

The event opened with the traditional Kagami Biraki sake barrel opening ceremony, with Marukai Corp. executive vice president Richard Matsu welcoming chef Siu, the president of Tsukasabotan Brewing Co., and Gov. Neil Abercrombie to crack open the barrel and share a toast.

Elsewhere in the store, highlights included a soba-making demonstration, amezaiku Japanese candy art, and a fish-cutting demo. People seem to be fascinated by the process because a video I made three years ago continues to draw hits and comments.

marukaiGuests started lining up early for Taste of Marukai for a bite of Japanese specialties.

marukai1Marukai executive vice-president Richard Matsu with his wife Jo, right, and Kori Higa.

mcheckMatsu presented a check for $30,000 to representatives from four beneficiaries of the fundraising event: Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce, and the Hawaii United Okinawa Association.

mfishlineDiners in line passed a sashimi boat, below, and ahi en route to sashimi plates.

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msashimi2Plates full of sashimi; the fade in the photos is due to refrigeration mist.

msashimiThe big three: hamachi, maguro and sake.

m3660Pan-seared, shichimi-scented mahimahi topped with cucumber crab salad, in a dashi-ginger nage, from 3660 on the Rise.

mshortribHoisin-glazed braised shortribs over jasmine rice.

msushiAn event goer shares her wishes with a sushi chef from Gokujo Sushi, which provided made-to-order nigiri and handroll sushi.

mcandyNathan and Chika Tanaka of Candy Art Hawaii were there, demonstrating the traditional Japanese art of amezaiku, shaping hot melted sugar into whimsical lollipop shapes.

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