Archive for the ‘Ala Moana’ Category

Gudetama at Eggs 'n Things

October 3rd, 2016


A Gudetama loco moco with bacon blanket is part of a three item Gudetama "Sleepy" menu available at Eggs 'n Things through Oct. 28. Gudetama's face is created with edible gel paper.

Two Gudetama set menus are available as part of a Sanrio and Eggs 'n Things collaboration benefit for the Japan Society's Kumamoto Relief Fund for victims of the April earthquakes in Japan.

The offer has Gudetama doing good, in spite of his detached, disengaged nature.

For those who have yet to discover Gudetama, he is Sanrio's popular "lazy egg," who prefers the warmth and security of his bacon blanket, or to hide in his shell, rather than explore his horizons and engage with society. Here's a video:

Gudetama is stenciled in cocoa atop whipped cream and hot chocolate.

Two set menus are available at Eggs 'n Things three locations:
Outside Ala Moana Center at 451 Piikoi St.
Waikiki at 343 Saratoga Road
Waikiki Beach Eggspress at 2464 Kalakaua Ave.

Gudetama is stenciled in lemon frosting onto dessert pancakes at Eggs 'n Things on a promotional menu through Oct. 28.

The $15 Gudetama "Sleepy" menu available from noon to closing features a loco moco with Gudetama egg and bacon blanket, Gudetama hot chocolate with whipped cream, and dessert of Gudetama pancake with lemon frosting, whipped cream, strawberries and chocolate sauce.

The $16 Gudetama "Lazy" menu available from 4 p.m. to closing features a burger with Gudetama egg and french fries, Gudetama iced coffee (or iced cappuccino) with whipped cream, and the Gudetama pancake dessert.

A portion of the sales price will go to the relief fund. For more information about the fundraising effort, visit

Two good things together.

Our photographer Cindy Ellen Russell posed with a Gudetama display piece at the Eggs 'n Things Ala Moana location.

Unwilling to walk, the lazy egg Gudetama was rolled into a media event Sept. 29 at Eggs 'n Things Ala Moana.

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.

Sabb Thai delivers authenticity

September 28th, 2016


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.

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.

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.

Blessings at Taste of Taiwan

August 23rd, 2016


A "Tray of Togetherness," assorted fresh fruit, captured the spirit of the "Taste of Taiwan" friendship dinner that brought Taiwanese and local Chinese together at the table.

Can you build friendships through food? That is question and the driving philosophy behind the United Chinese Society's Hawaii-sponsored "Taste of Taiwan" that took place Aug. 22 at Jade Dynasty restaurant.

From what I saw, yes you can. If not through food itself and the cooperation behind the scenes that goes into feeding hundreds, then through the camaraderie of sitting through a five-hour, 12-course meal. In between courses, there was also a lively bit of alcohol-fueled karaoke, for a good cause as friends challenged friends to step up to the mic in exchange for $100-plus donations to UCS.

The Taiwan chefs and crew took their bows following the dinner.

On the menu were homestyle comfort dishes from southern Taiwan, "not restaurant dishes," our hosts made clear. Many dishes looked familiar to anyone versed in local Chinese cuisine, but flavors were not. You don't often find cinnamon, and never find basil stirred into dishes at our Cantonese or Hong Kong style restaurants.

The one thing these cuisines do have in common is that the major ingredients have meanings tied to blessings and prosperity, and dishes presented were intended to bestow all guests with good wishes and abundance, and they sent us all home with a small planter of lucky bamboo.

Co-sponsoring the event were the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Honolulu, the Hawaii Taiwanese Center, China Airlines, Lucoral Museum and Jade Dynasty.

The dinner started with an appetizer of blessings, foods representing abundance, prosperity and all-round success. Plates comprised a shrimp fritter, a sliver of abalone, sea snail, mullet roe and spicy abalone.

Auspicious soup consists of crab meat, shrimp, ham and mushrooms. The Chinese word for crab and harmony are pronounced “xie.” Therefore, the dish reinforces the desire for peace. Shrimp represents liveliness, and mushrooms represent longevity and ability to sieze opportunities.

Lobster is known as the “dragon of the sea” and it represents strength, energy and good fortune. It was served chilled in these individual portions of salad.

The whole fish course was dubbed "Swimming in Prosperity" because the Chinese word for fish has the same pronunciation as the Chinese word for abundance or surplus, symbolizing the wish for an increase in prosperity.

Taiwan virgin, or juvenile, crabs were steamed, then cut in two to expose their insides and supposedly make them easier to eat. No having to lift the carapace. It was not as messy as our way, but I found it a little unappetizing because I thought of horror movies in which people are sliced in two.

Thin-sliced braised abalone signals an assurance of surplus, representative of wealth and good fortune.

Cuttlefish was stir-fried with sesame oil, basil and mushrooms, and served with broccoli.

A whole chicken went into this "Happy Family Chicken" soup with mushrooms representing longevity and seizing opportunities. The chicken represents prosperity, joy and togetherness of the family. Sweetened with antioxidant red dates and goji berries, it's also a home remedy for colds.

Serving the chicken and mushroom soup.

Aniseed and angelica were among the medicinal seeds and herbs that went into this dish of herbal shrimp, along with sorghum liquor and shaoxing rice wine. The flavor was light, but complex, not at all the basic salt/pepper shrimp offered at most Hawaii Chinese restaurants. I also detected a celery/celeriac component.

We were most curious about the dish called "Buddha Jumps Over the Wall," a seafood and poultry casserole said to be so good that smelling it would have Buddha beating a path to your door, and have vegetarian monks convert to eating meat. It is traditionally made with 30 ingredients, including controversial shark fin. This one featured dried scallops, crab meat, shrimp, ham and mushrooms. But the soup is the best part, spiced with star anise and cinnamon.

The finale was a "Happy Ending" traditional Taiwanese dessert of warm mung bean and rice porridge with sweet mochi dumplings.

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.

Little bites of Marcolini heaven

July 15th, 2016


Macarons have arrived at Pierre Marcolini Haute Chocolaterie at Ala Moana Center.

If you have not yet experienced Pierre Marcolini Haute Chocolaterie on the third floor of Ala Moana Center's Ewa Wing, now is a good time. In addition to the chocolatier’s fine Belgium chocolates, the boutique has welcomed some delicious new arrivals.

Although chocolate is at the heart of the company's business, after tasting their macarons, it's hard to go back to any other. These shimmer in beautiful pastels, some with a mica-like shine, and come in 10 intense flavors ranging from dark chocolate to salted butter caramel to rose water buttercream.

The meringue shells are so delicate, it feels like a bite of air. The cost is $3.80 per piece, $17 for a box of four, and $32 for a box of eight.

Marcolini’s signature Les Coeurs (hearts) are now available in six flavors—passionfruit, lime, matcha, nougat, pistachio and salted buttter caramel—beyond his signature framboise, or raspberry, flavor. A four-piece boxed assortment is $17, the eight-piece box is $28.

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.

Pierre Marcolini's beautiful chocolate les couers, or hearts, now come in signature framboise, or raspberry, flavor, plus passionfruit, lime, matcha, pistachio, nougat and salted butter-caramel flavors.

Macarons in rosewater, dark chocolate, dark chocolate caramel, lemon tea, cassis, coffee, vanilla, pistachio, and salted butter caramel.

Natural almond and butter, chocolate chip and raspberry Financiers are also new, sold in a six-piece box for $27.

A macaron tree in the store's window on the third floor of the center, outside Bloomingdale's.

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