Archive for the ‘Chinatown’ Category

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.

Fête draws a crowd downtown

By
April 14th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Bacalao fritters served with a mild harissa aioli are among the highlights on the evening menu at Fête, the newest addition to the ever-growing Downtown food scene. Chicken liver mousse was another favorite.

I have eaten at so many poorly managed restaurants in the past year that I feel a little gun-shy when visiting an eatery for the first time. If I walked into a new establishment with no expectations in years past, I now walk in with skepticism.

A restaurant run by professionals has become a rarity as barriers to entry have been broken down by food trucks and popups, and so many who graduate to bricks and mortar appear to be winging it.

But, sitting down to dinner at downtown Honolulu’s newest restaurant, Fête, and speedily plied with greetings, menus, ordered drinks and pupu in spite of the full house, I breathed a sigh of relief. Yes! Obviously, professionals at work, and diners are responding. Barely a month old, it's packed, making reservations a must.

Even though Fête is a first-time effort from the husband-and-wife team of Chuck Bussler, who serves as general manager, and Robynne Maii, executive chef, the two have lengthy backgrounds in food service.

Maii’s extensive culinary métier starts with such local restaurants as 3660 on the Rise and Padovani’s Grill, leading to New York’s Waldorf Astoria. She’s also been an educator and worked for Gourmet magazine as a research assistant and "Truth in Labeling" columnist. The couple met in New York, where Bussler worked at several restaurants over time, including Savoy, Blue Hill and Prune.

PHOTOS BY CRAIG T. KOJIMA / ckojima@staradvertiser.com

I’m already a sucker for Chinatown’s brick walls and picture window storefronts, but the additions bring warmth and a modern sophisticated grace to the early 20th century space. It’s a restaurant that could fit in easily in San Francisco’s or Brooklyn’s food scene, but we’re the lucky ones.

Bussler, who also worked with “Top Chef’s” Hugh Acheson to open 5&10 in Athens, Ga., designed Féte’s interior, which included tasking local artists to create glass lighting fixtures, a living wall and other unique details.

Fête’s artisanal menu is short and sweet to keep service manageable for the kitchen. In spite of its brevity, there’s no shortage of good ideas, so you’ll probably be hungering for all 11 lunch dishes and 16 dinner items, plus a handful of sides and desserts. This is a place where it’s just as pleasant ordering a few small grazing bites before a night at Hawaii Theatre, as it is sitting down for a full meal.

The bar is similarly curated with a handful of old-fashioned cocktails, predominantly local craft beers, and an eclectic roster of small production wines from around the globe.

At the bar, Mari Maffioli created a Clover Club cockktail, that includes Brooklyn Gin, a shout-out to the city the owners' once called home.

Owner Chuck Bussler takes a hands-on approach in running the restaurant, and to date, the staff has been equally capable. This should be a given, but alas, so rare in this town.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Marinated olives accented with orange zest was a delicious amuse bouche. I could have eaten these all night.

There wasn't enough foie gras to be satisfying in a foie gras gyoza appetizer.

Kabocha squash risotto (recently, $23) isn't very sexy, but delivers a healthier take on the rice dish, with curly kale and shiitake, shimeji and maitake mushrooms that also give the dish texture.

Maii shows her Korean heritage with a dish of grilled kalbi-marinated bavette ($28), the steak flavored with a mild touch of kochujang sauce and layered over flavorful fernbraken and mungbean sprout fried rice. The dish is topped by an overeasy egg and cucumber namul.

If you can get past an unusually hard shell, you might enjoy the juiciness of Fetê's fried chicken. I think a lot of people would appreciate a change in the batter.

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Fête is at 2 N. Hotel St. (corner of Nuuanu Avenue). Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays, and 5 to 11 p.m. Saturdays. Call (808) 369-1390.

Georgie Pie pop-up coming to FM studio

By
February 12th, 2014



gpkawehiKawehi Haug, left, with Kim Potter, will launch her Georgie Pie popup Feb. 20 and 21 at FM Studio.Nadine Kam photos

Let Them Eat Cupcakes and Fashionista's Market staged a preview of Georgie Pie's monthly pop-up pie shop at FM's new studio space adjoining its 1185 Bethel St. storefront.

FM owner Alyssa Fung is making the space available to other creatives in town, whether it's a food popup like Georgie Pie, a photographer requiring a studio for a day, or designer looking to set up shop, at an approximate rate of $150 per day to start.

Georgie Pie is a division of Let Them Eat Cupcakes, and owner Kawehi Haug—a former Honolulu Advertiser reporter—said she started experimenting with baking pies a year ago as a followup to her cupcake enterprise.

Baking is in her blood, as she says she learned everything she knows from her mom, whose middle name is Georgeanne, Georgie for short.


Non-flash video

Kawehi started selling her pies last fall to test demand, and Georgie Pie will now commandeer the FM Studio every third Thursday and Friday of the month, this month taking place Feb. 20 and 21.

Those are dates to mark in your calender for delicious pies that don't skimp on fresh fruit or other ingredients. You probably never have tried a banana cream pie as divine, rich and thick as Georgie Pie's.

With dinner following the preview, my friends and I went in simply for a small taste, but the nibbling didn't stop because a great pie is a terrible thing to waste. I had to stop one of my friends from devouring the entire slice of banana cream pie before giving me a bite!

Pies are also available by special order. In addition to dessert pies, Georgie Pie offers savory, hand pies filled with beef brisket or beef and potatoes.

Fruit pies run $22 to $26; slices are $4.50; hand pies are $4.50 to $5.50; and savory 4-inch meat pies are $6.
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Georgie Pie popup will take place every third Thursday and Friday of the month at Fashionista's Market FM Studio, at 1185 Bethel St. To order pies, call 808.531.2253 or email georgiepiehawaii@gmail.com.

gpstrawNormandy brie and strawberry jam hand pies represent a sweet take on classic brie en croute.

gpbananaLuscious, dreamy banana cream pie with decadent banana Bavarian cream.

gpsliceKawehi slices one of her creations. It seemed a shame to mar the beautiful golden crust.

gpinsideLayers and layers of fruit in Georgie Pie's signature apple-cranberry pie, with hint of citron.

gpalyssaFashionista's Market owner Alyssa Fung samples the blueberry pie.

gpappleOne of the star ingredients.

gpyuzuStrawberry-ume petite pies topped with brown sugar streusel.

gpsignA sign pointed the way to the event.

 

 

 

 

 

gplemonWe also tried vanilla bean lemonade.

gptoolsTools of the trade, in miniature.

First course: Cake Envy opens in downtown Honolulu

By
January 16th, 2014



cheesecakeA vast selection of cheesecakes awaits at Cake Envy, which opened this morning in downtown Honolulu, next door to the Fighting Eel boutique.Nadine Kam photos

Otto Cake's departure for Kaimuki left a cheesecake void in downtown Honolulu, which paved the way for the opening of Cake Envy, featuring fluffy confections baked up by chef/owner Amy Brookes, who's been baking for restaurants, events and TV productions since 2002.

This is her first storefront, at 1129 Bethel St., in a former floral shop next door to the Fighting Eel boutique.

Her refrigerator shelves are full of her 9-inch creations (enough for 12 to 16 people, according to her, though I'm sure some can eat more than their share), made with locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, such as Kona coffee and mango. Then there are classics by category, such as "Lust for Chocolate," including mocha and "Death by Chocolate" cakes, "Sinful Fruits," "Imposters" inspired by other desserts, and "Indulgence" such as Baileys, mojito and maple bacon flavors. Call ahead to see what's available on a particular day.

The 924-square-foot space has 25 seats for those who want to sit and enjoy dessert, whether after lunch, dinner or as a pre- or post-Hawaii Theatre treat.

A "Slice of Heaven," in any flavor, is $6. A whole cheesecake is $50. A sampler of three or four flavors is $60.

For special orders, allow 48 hours notice.
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Cake Envy is at 1129 Bethel St., open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays. Call 599-8900, or visit www.cakeenvy.net

cakeenvy
Chef-owner Amy Brookes with her Strawberry Silk cheesecake.

cake delish
The interior was done by Cathy Lee, of Cathy Lee Style, who turned some negative feaatures into positives, incorporating pipes into quaint decor, or covering them, such as the pipe shown, with the "L" in "Delish," which beckons passersby to stop in.

cakedeath

cakecara
On opening night, Jan. 15, guests enjoyed small bites, including this Salted Caramel cheesecake. Truly delish, as the wall reads. (more…)

First Course: The Pig & the Lady at home in Chinatown

By
November 14th, 2013



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The pho tsukemen served at the grand opening of The Pig & the Lady was terrific. Loved the texture of the silky noodles with the crunch and burst of salt from the fried shallots and garlic, and fantastic slow-roasted brisket.Nadine Kam photos

After two years of pop-ups, The Pig & The Lady, or, The Pig & the Le Family, has a true brick-and-mortar home at Lemongrass Cafe at 83 N. King St., partnering with The Pacific Gateway Center in developing programs to promote its mission of supporting and assisting immigrants, refugees and low-income residents.

As part of their partnership, TP&TL will be employing participants in the PGC's work training program and using produce they are planning to grow on their farms.

The dining area was built with community effort as well. Le took time to thank Daniel Anthony of Mana Ai for donating five beautiful, communal handcrafted mango wood tables. Someone I was talking to suggested the tables would be great for an Oktoberfest party. Other decor was the work of Fishcake.

The new restaurant will continue serving Vietnamese street food-style lunches and tasting dinners—based on Le's food memories—that have been hits with its pop-up and farmer's market clientele ever since TP&TL first popped up at Hank's Haute Dogs.

The restaurant hosted a private grand opening party Nov. 12, before opening to the public on the 13th.

For now, the restaurant is only open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., offering popular dishes from the farmer's markets and expanding its selection of banh mis (Vietnamese sandwiches), and noodle and rice dishes.

A few new additions featured at the grand opening party were:
>> P.L.T. melt banh mi: Fried portobello mushroom filled with cheddar, sprouts, local tomato and "Srirancha" sauce (Sriracha and ranch dressing).
>> New noodle soups: Including Vietnamese posole and pho tsukemen.
>> Doughnut- and Specaloos-flavored soft serve ice cream.

Dinner service will start on Dec. 12, when the restaurant will be serving Southeast Asian-inspired food.

Future events include the ever-popular “Dinner and a Movie” and “Trough Dinners,” and an oyster bar is in the works.

plbar

At the bar.

pllion

Chef Andrew Le and the lion.

plma

Chef Andrew with his sister Allison and mom.

plposole

The ingredients for Vietnamese posole soup with chickpeas, pig head, shishito pepper paste, lemongrass and radish, before the broth went in.

plmelt

The P.L.T. (Pig & the Lady, tomato) Melt with a center of portobello mushroom, topped with spicy Sriracha sauce.

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Dessert of Speculoos ice cream sandwiches.

plroom

The red brick walls and high ceilings gave the feeling of being inside a New York City or Boston restaurant.

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A tribute to the family.

plcake

A friend of the family also dropped off a pink cake in the shape of a pig, with a dragonfruit in its mouth.

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