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The Future of Hawaii Restaurants


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#1 skchai

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Posted 28 September 2003 - 08:13 AM

I've taken the privilege of "borrowing" some posts from the Spam and Mac Salad thread over in the Cooking Forum to get discussion going, since these quotes were scattered amongst stuff about other concerns and may be hard to find otherwise.

(1) What restaurant concepts would work in Hawai`I but just haven't been tried or implemented effectively yet?

Kimo wrote:

Maybe this should be a separate thread...what are some food-related businesses missing from Hawaii? In general, food related businesses at a gourmand/foodie level don't always do well in Hawaii (look at the demise of the upscale market, Strawberry Connection in the industrial part of Honolulu, which moved closer to town and didn't survive). However, my surf-deprived husband, son, new kid-to-be and I would like to return some day (maybe the next 5-10 years) and possibly open or promote/market one of the following, which could do well in Honolulu:

Artisan bakery (i.e. La Brea in LA or Macrena in Seattle)
Restaurant with a great dessert menu, perfect for after the Honolulu symphony/Hawaii Opera Theatre/Blaisdell concerts (there's a fab restaurant in Portland that has a dessert menu of at least 20 desserts with wonderful dessert wines and ports and coffees)
High-end gourmet store like Strawberry Connection in a better location
Wine and cheese shop
Medium-priced Alan Wongs-type restaurant (entrees in the teens, not as fancy with the plating)
Tapas bar
Trader Joes or something like it (maybe Trader Kimos)
Whole Foods or other organic market/deli
A family-friendly restaurant with good food (not just hot dogs and mac-and-cheese)
A medium priced steakhouse (notch down from Ruth Chris)
A great fish/seafood shop with wonderful selections of poke (like Tamashiro Market, but closer to town)
An Atkins-themed restaurant (horror the thought!)

My .02...


Alanamoana wrote:

hey kimo:

i'm on the same page as you are...i'm sort of looking to start my own business and i'm wondering what would fit here. i guess that is one reason why i followed fifi's advice in starting this thread. one thing i've noticed is that no one in hawaii is really on-line...notice the geographic section of the discussion forum...if anyone talks about hawaii it is as a tourist  ...

of your ideas...there are several that have a fighting chance (imho of course):

bakery

wine and cheese shop

trader kimo's  but seriously!

family friendly restaurant that isn't "diner" style (not rainbows, not L&L, not grace's etc etc)

maybe not so good:

there are already hundreds of steak houses (yeah, i tend to exaggerate)

the "farmers' market" behind ward center/warehouse has the poke market...but you could do it better, i'm sure

NO ATKINS! (that's just me talking)


FoodZealot wrote:

Kimo,

I've been thinking about your situation. I'm removed from the market, but FWIW, I'd guess the most viable ideas you have are a dessert emphasis restaurant, a medium-priced Alan Wong's type restaurant, a family-friendly restaurant (depends on a lot of factors), and a Trader Joe's type market. I think the customer's concept of value is a governing factor. Word of mouth is pretty powerful there, so you'd want to factor that in.

Tapas/small plates could be really cool, but the pricing issue is tricky, due to aforementioned ...err... thriftyness.

I also would add that I think Trader Joe's and Whole Foods are well run businesses, and would be formidable competitors, should they ever try to establish themselves there. See Wal-Mart.

Back to the food: rainbow jello.


(2) Why is there such a big gulf between everday (e.g. plate lunch) cuisine and high-end (e.g. HRC) dining? Granted, a gap exists in every cuisine, but seems particular large in Hawai`I. What's the prospect for some that would help bridge this gap?

AlanaMoana wrote:

this brings me to another point...with hawaii home to at least three james beard award winners for best chef...and with such an ethnic diversity which includes culinary diversity, why is there such a lack of really good moderate restaurants on the islands? i think that most of us would like to be able to go out and NOT eat at tony roma's or some other corporate chain...also, to not bust the wallet and go to a hotel/resort restaurant. there's so little in the middle!


FoodZealot wrote:

As for restaurants, I agree that the middle segment is kinda empty. Several of those well-known guys have done middle level things like Kaka'ako Kitchen, Sam Choy's Breakfast, Lunch and Crab, the Pineapple Room, etc with mixed results, IMHO. I think there are 3 reasons - that the low end places are actually pretty dang good, people have a bias that only "fancy kine haole food" should be expensive and people are used to large portions. Not that it's soooo different from any other place, but it means it is competitive, and can be a little harder to find the right balance of quality, quantity and presentation. You gotta know your customers and listen to what they want.


Rachel/Caroline wrote:

I couldn't agree more that HRC did marvels transforming high end food in Hawaii. I'm going to tiptoe gingerly into this discussion because I am a home cook and not a restauranteur. Seems to me that HRC always catered to the visitor trade primarily. Sure locals loved to go to Roys and felt more comfortable there than with the "international" cuisine of the big hotels. But HRC remains (I suspect because I've been away from the islands for nearly a decade) high end. And for locals the economy has not been that good. The efforts that people have already mentioned to bridge high end and local food have not moved ahead nearly as rapidly as I expected when I left the islands.

I'm going to have to think this through. But my suspicion is that one of the problems is that mainlanders and other visitors still haven't the faintest idea about what's going on in Hawaii. The Hawaii Tourist Board, Jim Dole et al discovered a marvelous formula for drawing visitors to the islands but it makes the local scene invisible. It does so quite deliberately.

I think of the novelist James Michener. I'm not promoting his work but he was married to a Hawaii Japanese and did think a good bit about the problems of the islands (not always to the liking of people there). Anyway in his novel on Spain, he tells a story, true or not I don't know. In the 60s, the powers that were in the Hawaii state government decided to try a new kind of promotion. Hey, they said, we are a fascinating culture, great Pacific Island and Asian resources, one of the most mixed cultures on earth, an augury of the future. Let's promote this along with our great beaches.

Result (according to Michener) tourism plummeted. Hula and natural bounty was what visitors wanted. So ever since, it's been computers for the locals, luaus for visitors (his phrase more or less).

I don't think HRC has cracked this nut. Maybe no one wants to. May be no one can. Hawaii remains tiny so the visitor market has presumably to be included for any even modestly ambitious restaurant.

What is needed is the entrepreneur who can sell not just food, not just a simplistic notion of fusion foods, but Hawaii's secret. And that, I think, is the sheer glory of what local people have achieved (well, are achieving): a real political and economic transformation of the islands since the 50s. And with it, and indissolubly linked to it, a real grass roots fusion cuisine.

Now that would be revolutionary. But how to pull it off? Well I'm not a restauranteur.


FoodZealot wrote:

Thanks again for your comments, caroline. My disclaimer - I go to Hawaii once a year, and I don't get to eat out all that much because of visiting with family. But IMHO, I think one of the mistakes of HRC has been the emphasis on lightness, delicacy and refinement. Wonton napoleons, crab spring rolls, fancy salads, etc. I think that's the wrong way to go. As you say, there's a disconnect between the roots of it and the target customers. To me, local food is essentially soul food of Hawaii. And as such, I believe it's possible to elevate kalua pig, kau yuk (Chinese red pork belly), and whatever else the same way that the gutbucket food of France becomes the fad dish, like lamb shanks or gumbo for New Orleans. Or in contemporary Southern cuisine, they have brought grits and collards to new levels.

A better strategy for the cuisine, IMHO, it to do those dishes that no one wants to make anymore for reasons of time, scale, hassle, smelliness, hard to find ingredients or whatever. There's got to be some substance there, or it's just like something you can find in any other city. Sure, use new techniques, new presentation, and put your twist on it. But if chefs can procure opah and moi in NYC, the Hawaii guys better be doing something better or at least different with their homegrown ingredients. So in a sense, I think it's a "vision thing".

The weakness in my argument is the other issue you brought up - lots of people want the easily digested image of Hawaii, with pre-packaged omiyage(souvenir gifts), puka shell leis, pineapple and papaya with every meal - not the "real" Hawaii. It would be bad business not to include visitors in your business plan. But there are a decent percentage of visitors that go to the areas and the outer islands and look for spots where locals go, just like any other destination.

I suppose for restauranteurs, it's a matter of what route to take to what kind of success do you want? How much Hawaii needs to be in that formula?


skchai (me) wrote:

There are actually a lot of successful middle-range dining places in Honolulu. The only problem is that they aren't really a successful bridge between local grinds and HRC. Most of these places would normally be classified as Asian ethnic food places, usually staffed by relatively recent immigrants, rather than local or Hawaiian. Some of the "stars" of the mid-range in my own limited experience:

[list of favorite restaurants deleted]


The missing category, however, consists of the mid-range "local" restaurants, i.e. restaurants that in some way reflect the particular integration of cultures that has taken place on these islands, rather than discrete elements of one or another of those cultures. The main cause, IMHO, is that syncretic local food has a tradition dating from the plantation days, hence the emphasis has been on quantity, thrift, and speed rather than dining experience. Later waves of Asian immigrants, usually from a high SES background, basically created an ethnically-subsegmented middle dining layer, which then could appeal to upwardly mobile sansei, yonsei, etc. without necessarily being "their" food. High-end, however, has always been dominanted by tourist-oriented restaurants and a few special occasion "continental" places frequented by locals, e.g. Michel's, Canlis, et al. in the old days and John Dominis even now.

HRC has not really eliminated this type of stratification, since it basically takes elements of the local food concept, as well as the various ethnic dining concepts, and finally the ideology of fusion, then packages them as haute cuisine for the newer generation of tourists, who no longer want to eat the same foods that they could find back home.

There is not as much financial incentive market this back down to the mid-level. Furthermore, from an intellectual point of view it is actually a much more difficult task than building up HRC. HRC, as haute cuisine, can be "artifical" in the sense of being self-consciously creative; indeed this is considered a virtue as long as it does not do too much violence to the taste buds. "Fusion" has always been a misnomer because the provenance of each individual ingredient or component of a dish is usually obvious. Local plate-lunch type grinds, on the other hand, have evolved slowly over several decades and reflect that evolution in that they comfort the tastebuds of those who have been raised our particular blend of cultures.

So how do we approach the middle range of dining while retaining a local flavor? A "top-down" option, as reflected by Sam Choy's Breakfast, Lunch, and Crab (on Nimitz Hwy nr Hilo Hatties), as well as Alan Wong's Pineapple Room (in Ala Moana Macy's), is to spawn a "casual" version of a celeb HRC chef's fine dining establishment. That's a good idea, and both places turn out good food, but the results "betray" (to use a too-strong word) their origins by offering for the most part slightly cheaper versions of HRC, not a bridge to local food in any meaningful sense. And for dinner, at least, the prices are not even much cheaper than in the fine-dining places.

The alternative, a "bottom-up" one, is to sell glorified versions of plate lunch. Choy's BLC does some of that on its lunch menu, with its fried poke and mixed "bento" plates, and manages to pull in a big local crowd. Russell (3660) Siu's Kaka`ako Kitchen (abutting Ward Center) is even a plate lunch place in ambience, adding things like grilled mahi with capers to the usual katsu n' teri.

Finally, there are those that try eclectic approachs. Onjin's Cafe (near Ward Center, across from Office Depot) takes a simultaneous top-and-bottom approach, selling styro-clam lid containers for dinner (to go only) filled with HRC-type mains. Finally, Big City Diner (on Waialae Ave. in Kaimuki) takes a middle-middle approach, juxtaposing American diner classics like meatloaf with a wide range of typical mid-range Asian ethnic dishes such as braised kalbi, etc.

Back to the main issue, if there is one. Which of these will actually work in bridging local food with HRC in a middle-range, popular dining concept? I dunno. I guess the missing ingredient is time - you can't rush these things. As HRC innovations and, more importantly, sensitivity to ingredients are assimilated (digested?) by the local population, it will become easier and easier to come up with dining concepts that reflect these influences and yet fit in with the resources and aesthetics of mainstream local culture. . .


Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host


#2 FoodZealot

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Posted 29 September 2003 - 03:48 PM

(2) Why is there such a big gulf between everday (e.g. plate lunch) cuisine and high-end (e.g. HRC) dining? Granted, a gap exists in every cuisine, but seems particular large in Hawai`I. What's the prospect for some that would help bridge this gap?


In my humble opinion, I think the gulf is mostly the result of the 80:20 rule - in this case, that making something that satisfies 80% of people is relatively easy, while making something better beyond that is quite difficult. In this case, difficult to market, rather than difficult to actually cook.

For the sake of discussion, let's say plate lunch is the 80%, and the high end, haute cuisine is ...90-96% (like an A minus or A in school). To hit something in the middle, say 85-90%, requires substantially more effort than making a plate lunch, but you can't charge as much for the disproportionate increase in time, labor, quality of ingredients, more trimming (waste).

I think once someone figures this segment out, it's possible to be quite successful. The middle range restaurants that skchai and others mentioned are predominantly ethnic - which is fantastic - part of the larger trend toward authentic regional food. But depending on where you're from, you might have some damn fine regional Thai food, or regional Chinese food or regional what-have-you. As a foodie, I'm interested in the unique food of a destination, or at least the unique local interpretation of ethnic foods. I think there are locals and travelers on a budget that are interested in that, too, not just those that will spend $100/person for a tasting menu and consider that to be a pretty good value. Even though local food itself is a intermingling of various cuisines, I believe it has it has developed its own aesthetic, and should be able to carve a niche.

Another factor is that stakes are pretty high in the modern restaurant business (in Hawaii, I'm guessing skilled labor and rent to be driving costs up), and it forces owners and investors to look at them as a business that has to offer return in a relatively short period of time, rather than something that can evolve over a period of time, find it's audience, and figure out the specifics of its niche. I think regardless of the experience of the chef/owner/investors, if a restaurant doesn't have to be an out of the gate winner, with unanimously good word of mouth, glowing reviews, positive cashflow, etc., it would have a better shot at long term viability.

Anybody got a few hundred grand lying around for an experiment?

~Tad

#3 skchai

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Posted 30 September 2003 - 12:12 AM

FoodZealot, thanks for your great response to this thread. I think you are exactly on the money on why the middle range Hawai`i local cuisine hasn't developed more. It's very hard to come up distinguish this category from the plate lunch while keeping expenses sufficiently under control

I'll make the following totally unsupported speculations on what a mid-range local restaurant need to be successful in the short run financially, and also succeed in bridging HRC and plate lunch gap:

1) Aim for price points of about $8-15 an entree. Even "casual" restaurants that charge $15-25 an entree are going to be seen as luxury, high-class destinations by most local residents, and hence can't really fill the role we're talking about in the sense of being places people can go to on a regular basis.

2) Justify this premium over plate lunch prices in part by providing a "restaurant" atmosphere, and for at least the more expensive entrees ($12-15) more deluxe ingredients such as ahi, shrimp, and ribeye (about Costco grade or thereabouts). By a restaurant atmosphere, I don't mean luxury, but rather carpeting, tablecloths, soft lighting and such, rather than formica and vinyl.

3) Help keep labor costs under control by making prep extremely simple - grilled, braised, stir-fried, and deep-fried items, plated without adornment or accompaning sides. Instead, entrees should be served "Chinese-style" with portions meant to be shared, and meat and vegetable dishes all considered as entrees.

4) The connection with HRC should not so be so much in the creativity or elegance but in the wider range of ingredients, with an emphasis on local procurement. Have desserts on the menu. While taro and breadfruit, locally-grown greens, and tropical fruits are not part of the plate lunch shopping list at this point, there are plenty of local home-style recipes that can be used or adapted to take advantage of such ingredients without resorting to complexity. This in turn can also help account for the difference that justifies the higher-than-plate lunch price points.

4) Try to in at least some of the tourist market by of course advertising the restaurant as "Hawaii Cuisine" and playing up the local origin of the ingredients whereever possible. But expect a much lower percentage of your custom to be tourist-related than is true for HRC. Tourists (on the average) to be less sensitive to price than locals, even those with similar resources, since they treat their trips as special occasions. And of course, the very fact that they are able take a trip here implies that they will not be impoverished. Those with curiosity about local cuisine will seek out HRC, though they may occasionally soak up the local flavor by seeking out plate lunch. Those with no curiosity will eat at Sizzler's.

Anyway, those are my vague thoughts. I'm sure that there's a lot of holes in them. Also, even if they're accurate, easier said than done!

But it was fun to think about it.

Thanks again for the post FoodZealot. Very glad to have you aboard on Egullet. Hope we and the other Hawai`i connected people can keep a conversation going on these and related topics. . .

Sun-Ki Chai
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Former Hawaii Forum Host


#4 FoodZealot

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Posted 30 September 2003 - 01:32 PM

Thanks for your kind comments, skchai. In return, I very much appreciate your efforts in creating the digest and taking the initiative in starting topics!

You make some very good points here. I'm a big fan of family style eating.

I think another tactic that could possibly work is simplicity - in the sense of Jean-Georges Vongerichten or Daniel Bouloud - where it might have only a few components, but they're absolutely and profoundly right. Perfectly conceived, perfectly chosen, perfectly cooked, yet ultimately very simple. To me, this is the opposite of the usual high-end strategy of going for ornate, fussy, and exotic-for-the-sake-of-being-exotic.

[rant]
Let's take an example like a Hawaiian Lau Lau plate. Lau lau is taro leaf wrapped around pork butt, sometimes with a lump of salted butterfish, and steamed. Sides include lomi lomi salmon (tomato and onion "salad" with salted salmon), poi, rice, sometimes a little kalua pig. When I get this at restaurants, while often the most expensive item at $8-10, it's usually unsatisfying because I feel that I'm being cheated when the portions are small, they skimp on the salmon in the lomi, or one or more of the items aren't cooked properly. There are no big technical hurdles in preparing these items. I'm certainly not advocating making it into Medallions of Corn Fed Pork Tenderloin and Sauteed Calaloo, with Salmon Tartare and Roasted Malanga Puree (although that doesn't sound too bad).

What I'm saying is make it right, then charge a reasonable amount for it. Call it the Ultimate Hawaiian Plate. Same cooking methods, but invest some thought and pride in the result. There's little cost involved in seasoning with the right amount of salt. There's almost no difference in steaming for 1 hour versus 45 minutes. I really believe that if it was even approaching your grandmother's neighbor's lau lau that you ate only once when you were 9 years old, people will pay the $16 or $20 for it (in the right setting). Just like people go to bbq joints looking for those ribs from their memories and pay $20 for a rack of ribs and some beans and white bread.

Or maybe I'm way off base. Maybe it already exists and I haven't found it. Maybe everybody has hypertension and complains about the salt. Maybe the economics of mean that it has to be $40, not $20, and you'd be pricing yourself out of the market. [/rant]

Any Hawaii restauranteurs out there care to comment?

~Tad

#5 skchai

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Posted 01 October 2003 - 05:01 PM

You're right that there may be people who would pay substantially higher prices for laulau, kalua pig, or lomi salmon that's prepared just right. In general, there may be some cases in which plate lunch classics could be sold at higher prices if they're simply prepared well and with the best ingredients.

Indeed, certain plate lunch classics are fast food adaptations of ethnic foods that are also successfully sold at mid-range restaurants at higher prices. Tonkatsu is an obvious example - people still go to Japanese restaurants and pay $10+ for tonkatsu teishoku, even if tonkatsu's available for $3.50-6 at plate lunch places.

Here are a couple of related reasons why I would hesitate, however, in making "just-right" preparation it the entire basis for a mid- or casual-range restaurant concept (not that you were suggesting this).

* While most plate lunch versions or adaptations of classics fall short, there are always versions that go beyond that. For instance, the lau lau and kalua pig at Helena's and Ono's are both first class is quality and quantity (lomi salmon is more difficult given the cost of salted salmon). While neither is a pure plate lunch place, if I recall correctly, their prices are close to the plate lunch class (< $10). So in order to do well with just-right laulau, the entrepreneur would probably have to give some value-added above this, probably more a matter of ambience rather than quality, since as I've said, I think the quality would be hard to improve on. BTW Helena's won a James Beard Foundation award a few years ago as one of their "Regional Classics".

* While it's true that some people pay $20 for a few ribs and white bread, my impression is that these people are VICTIMS or POSERS rather than BBQ nostalgics. Yes, baby back ribs at Tony Roma's cost nearly $20 (I couldn't help it, my cousin from Korea wanted to go) but you can have a huge feast of real BBQ for less than that even in Hawai`i at Molly's Smokehouse. And though I haven't tasted my way across the BBQ belt the way you have, how many of those places charge more than $20 for a plate of ribs, pulled pork or brisket? From a non-systematic geographically dispersed survey of some of Roadfood's more notable reviewed sites: Moonlight BBQ, Owensboro KY, $8; Louie Mueller's, Taylor TX; $10; Arthur Bryant's, Kansas City MO, $12; Charlie Vergos Rendezvous, Memphis TN, $15 (but that's for a full meal). That's not directly relevant to Hawai`i, of course, but shows that people will always be able to find the "just-right" for a cheap price if they're akamai enough. And if they're not - who wants to make money off those types?

I do think, however, that there can and should be a number of standard, basically unmodified plate lunch items on a mid-range menu. They need to be there for those who are extremely timid about trying new things but either have the resources to not mind step up a level in price, or are dragged there by their girl/boyfriend, family, etc. An here, you would want to make sure that the execution was flawless to justify the price, so that these people will actually return to eat again, and hopefully to try other menu items as well.

Anyway, Foodzealot, I hope you answer back with reasons why all this wrong!

Sun-Ki Chai
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Former Hawaii Forum Host


#6 caroline

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Posted 01 October 2003 - 05:56 PM

Hi Sun-Ki and Food Zealot,

I love this thread. And because I'd love some of Hawaii's food to get some recognition, here's my two cents worth.

My question is this. Can you get a mid/range restaurant going that caters primarily to locals. I don't think this is just a Hawaii question. Now that I live in Mexico, I find a multitude of comida corrida or quick midday meal places. Just like plate lunch places these are mom -n pop operations offering pretty good food at a great value. Probably the closest thing to Mexican home cooking.

Trouble is, no one is going to pay more to eat this food. Eating out is a treat so you go to an upmarket continental restaurant, or to an ethnic restaurant, or to an Amercian restaurant. Actually eating out on your own food at a high price is a really weird idea when you think about it.

That's not so strange. Most of us don't go out to eat what we cook at home. Even in France most regional restaurants cater to the tourist trade. And Boston hasn't yet learnt how to do this, so there's no way to get baked beans and cod cakes in Boston.

So my sense is you are stuck with the tourist trade as your best option. But how that trade loves to discover the authentic. You could go much more authentic than HRC. And if that happened then locals would flock in to see what they were missing.

Hope this doesn-t sound too cynical,

Rachel
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#7 FoodZealot

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Posted 01 October 2003 - 08:10 PM

Thanks everyone for the dialectic. It's very helpful.

The barbeque community has some pretty strong parallels to the local food of Hawaii, coming from humble, working class people. The price points are definitely skewed low (or value driven, if you prefer). If you're looking to have 2 authentic, small, pork sandwiches, a bit of coleslaw and sweet tea in North Carolina for under $4, with table service, it is very possible.

I guess my own experience is colored somewhat because I'm looking for the full experience, and so I ALWAYS get the 3-4 meat sampler platter, or order 2 entrees and all the sides. [grin]

On the other hand, I don't think that a more expensive version of a humble food is automatically for posers - not that SK does either. It cuts both ways. Quite a few of those legendary bbq joints are a ripoff at any price, in my humble opinion. But more to the point, there are chains and multi-location family owned places that do well in the South in "nicer" neighborhoods, sanitary conditions and offer pretty good food. Whether it's as good in food quality and dining experience as the special, unknown shack is arguable, or even I'll even grant less likely. But they do survive quite nicely at 2 or 3 times the menu price of the obscure shacks. Might also be related to the discussion of steakhouses.

But Caroline's comments ring true. It's probably simple geography - otherness. A restaurant targeting $15-20 local food would probably have a better chance in LA than in Hawaii, because it's considered exotic in LA (it would probably have to be away from Gardena, too), and either superfluous or "too big for it's britches" in Hawaii. And I suspect that in the home region of the food, people who can do a good if not better job at home, do exactly that, whether Mexico, Hawaii, Texas or France. It follows that many, many restaurants have made national or international reputations based on dressed up peasant food - but from other places.

I haven't thought this through yet, but I'm sure we can all think of cuisines where the locals seem to frequent restaurants - Japan and Spain come to mind - what do you make of these? Is this perception wrong? Some other cultural forces there?

~Tad

#8 skchai

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Posted 02 October 2003 - 08:39 AM

Rachel, Tad, your comments about location and otherness really have made me rethink the mid-range concept. I of course went overboard in saying that anyone who pays $20 for barbeque is a poser or victim. They just may not want to drive or fly for hours to get to the place where they can get the stuff for less.

The $6 bhelpuri thread in the India Forum is very instructive. Bhelpuri (including some very good ones) would go for no more than the equivalent of several cents on Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai. Suvir has to charge more for his because of his much higher rent and labor costs. Moreover, he can charge more because Manhattaners are not anywhere near Mumbai to get the cheaper stuff.

On the other hand, as you note, perhaps the absence of the local mid-range is inevitable when you are dealing with people who can either eat it at home or go to a hole-in-the-wall and pay much less. Perhaps I had some idealized vision of the regional bistro / bouchon or trattoria in my head. As Rachel mentions, even those nowadays cater mostly to the tourist trade.

I guess the hope is / was that local food could benefit from the wider palette of ingredients explored by HRC, hence boosting the local producers who have sprung up to supply those ingredients, and HRC could benefit from becoming more deeply rooted in the local community, both in terms of customers and in terms of links the dishes that people eat regularly. But perhaps this is a forlorn hope . . .

Sun-Ki Chai
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Former Hawaii Forum Host


#9 caroline

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Posted 02 October 2003 - 04:26 PM

Sun-Ki, I agree entirely about the potential for cross-fertilization between plate lunches and HRC. Perhaps romantically I believe that this kind of interchange has been one of the main driving forces for many of the regional cuisines we admire. I do however doubt that in the short term mid-range restaurants can survive on local food alone.

And Tad I agree that there are societies where people are prepared to pay to eat out. The Chinese would be an obvious choice. But (and you guys know more about this than I do) I've always had the impression that Chinese restaurants in the mid-range and above serve something different from what is had at home. I am pretty sure that was true of French restaurants in France in the 70s and 80s when I still ate out in that part of the world.

But I'm not restaurateur. Others know this territory much better than I do,

Rachel
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#10 wesza

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Posted 02 October 2003 - 04:51 PM

Having been involved with the Restaurant business in Hawaii, since 1965 there has always been one major difficulty in operating any restaurant. The problem has always been the RENT. It seems that the only operators, even in the local markets, have been those with enough capitol to sustain chain operations, or that own the real estate or even more rarely have a landlord interested in keeping a long relationship with the same tenant. Even operators with small square foot business, most likely have had to relocate thru the years. A good example is the very recently closed, "Washington Saimin", posted under a seperate thread of "Saimin". I operated a very successful Restaurant for many years in a lousy location, that we choose not to renew our lease at a increase in rent of over 300% per month, after 10 years in business. This was at a time that business wasn't doing well in Hawaii. When it comes to rent's this doesn't seem to matter. Right now all the tenants located for years in the "International Marketplace", in Waikiki are being forced to move out, primarily because of Landlords greed. Especially upsetting because so very little remains of what used to be the "Old Waikiki", except for the Market Place. Of course since the Landlords said that the Giant Banyun Tree, will remain, Zoning quickly agreed. Of coarse no one realizes that this is the only properly Tacky remainder of Movie Hawaii on Oahu, soon to be no more. Look whats happened to Institutions like the "Flamingo Restaurants", or the "Columbia Inn", thru the years. The biggest loss to me was the "Willows Restaurant", anywhere else it would have become, historical and preserved. Certainly not closed. Another place that was lost to Landlords greed, was the visitor from Seattle, that had become identified with Waikiki for so many years "Canlis Restaurant". Landlord wanted 500% + increase in rent. Irwin
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#11 skchai

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Posted 03 October 2003 - 02:02 AM

Irwin - I never realized that you were so closely associated with the local restaurant business. May I ask the name of the restaurant you ran for 10 years? Perhaps some of the others on the board would have memories of it.

The rent problem unfortunately is one that has been with us for a while. I am sorry you had to suffer through this. As you mention, rents remained high even after the "bubble economy" of the 1980s was long over.

We all have great memories of the Columbia Inns. They were sold in the 1980s by the Kaneshiro family to Kyotaru Corp. of Japan, a restaurant chain, which turned the Waimalu branch into a Kyotaru restaurant. Frank and Tosh Kaneshiro have long since gone on to the great Dodger Stadium in the sky. Though ironically the Inns were doing great business-wise, Kyotaru itself was teetering near bankruptcy by the late 1990s and they were sold off again. A bunch of people tried to have the Kapiolani branch turned into a State landmark, but they failed in the end and it became a Servo Pacific auto showroom. Fortunately, the Kaimuki location was bought up the brothers Tri and Thanh Nguyen who have kept it alive - as far as I know it is still open and doing well.

I believe that some of the Flamingos are still operating, though the main branch on Kapiolani closed down a couple years ago.

Willows reopened last year after at the same address on 901 Hausten, but it is now a multifaceted restaurant and wedding complex. There is the traditional buffet restaurant as well as the upstairs "Rainbow Room", which specializes in tapas-like HRC small plates. Here is the website for the new Willows, as well a recent review of the Willows Rainbow Room by Nadine Kam.

So at least some of the places are staying alive or coming back, though not in exactly the same form as we remember them. . .

Sun-Ki Chai
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#12 wesza

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Posted 03 October 2003 - 08:15 PM

Irwin -  I never realized that you were so closely associated with the local restaurant business.  May I ask the name of the restaurant you ran for 10 years?  Perhaps some of the others on the board would have memories of it. 

The rent problem unfortunately is one that has been with us for a while.  I am sorry you had to suffer through this.  As you mention, rents remained high even after the "bubble economy" of the 1980s was long over. 

We all have great memories of the Columbia Inns.  They were sold in the 1980s by the Kaneshiro family to Kyotaru Corp. of Japan, a restaurant chain, which turned the Waimalu branch into a Kyotaru restaurant.  Frank and Tosh Kaneshiro have long since gone on to the great Dodger Stadium in the sky. Though ironically the Inns were doing great business-wise, Kyotaru itself was teetering near bankruptcy by the late 1990s and they were sold off again.    A bunch of people tried to have the Kapiolani branch turned into a State landmark, but they failed in the end and it became a Servo Pacific auto showroom.  Fortunately, the Kaimuki location was bought up the brothers Tri and Thanh Nguyen who have kept it alive - as far as I know it is still open and doing well.

I believe that some of the Flamingos are still operating, though the main branch on Kapiolani closed down a couple years ago.

Willows reopened last year after at the same address on 901 Hausten, but it is now a multifaceted restaurant and wedding complex.  There is the traditional buffet restaurant as well as the upstairs "Rainbow Room", which specializes in tapas-like HRC small plates.  Here is the website for the new Willows, as well a recent review of the Willows Rainbow Room by Nadine Kam.

So at least some of the places are staying alive or coming back, though not in exactly the same form as we remember them. . .

Thank you for the information. What's your feeling about the Rebuilding/Renovation of the International Marketplace in Waikiki? I have several friends who have recieved official notification of pending eviction, after being in business for many years. I'd personally hate to see it dismantled. I was a good friend of the original Trader, who set up the tiki hut in the tree that used to carry radio broadcasts. Remember how Zulu and Hawaii 5/0 made the location a must destination to every touist. I was fishing on the charter Boat just the day before the Gigantic Marlin on display was caught

My Restaurant was called. "Lisboa". We opened with Americas first Wine Bar, serving 15 wines by the Glass, We also introduced the Liquor Brandy Cart with over 150 varieties. Served Portugese, Spanish, African and the largest selection of local Hawaiian and Imported Seafoods. I was given the title of 'Hawaii's Mr. Restaurant", by the students at Kapolini Community College, and The University of Hawaii. We won many awards including Dish of the Year twice at the NRA Show in Chicago, and the Escargot Competition in France, where the showed my picture and said the winner was located in Honolulu, Polyanesia. never one word about the USA.

I also owned and operated a Hotel, Restaurant, Bakery Food Service, Import Export Consultants Business before relocating to Honolulu from Hong Kong. Since we were, primarily Trouble Shooters, we were required to sign confidentiality agreements, no longer applicable since i've been semi-retired for several years. This business operated world wide, and still continues with my associates since 1965. We have been invlved with many operations previously on the Islands. Mostly Hotels. Irwin
I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

#13 skchai

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Posted 04 October 2003 - 08:36 AM

Thank you for the information. What's your feeling about the Rebuilding/Renovation of the International Marketplace in Waikiki? I have several friends who have recieved official notification of pending eviction, after being in business for many years. I'd personally hate to see it dismantled.  I was a good friend of the original Trader, who set up the tiki hut in the tree that used to carry radio broadcasts. Remember how Zulu and Hawaii 5/0 made the location a must destination to every touist. I was fishing on the charter Boat just the day before the Gigantic Marlin on display was caught

The renovation of the International Market Place has been predicted for a long time. As you may know, there was a big move to tear it down in 1988 in order to build the new convention center. A that time, it led to militant opposition among small vendors, many of whom are first-generation Korean immigrants. They went to the State Capitol and presented a petition, signed in their own blood. . . I remember many members of the local Korean community, including my mother, being very active in the anti-renovation movement. At any rate, the attempt to renovate was defeated, and the convention center built on the old Aloha Motors lot (which was more suitable size-wise, anyway).

I am not sure this time why there isn't more opposition. It seems the owners have done a better job this time preparing the merchants and laying the groundwork politically. Here is an article in the Advertiser about the renovation, though it doesn't really go into depth about the reaction of the merchants. It does however quote David J. Kenney. the owner of Captain Zak's, the place with the giant marlin. Naturally, it's sad to see somethings that's been a part of Waikiki for many decades to pass into history - I'll miss the small carts, the candle-makers, even the haggling.

You were a friend of Trader Vic? What was he like as a person? I was just about to start a new topic on this forum comparing and contrasting Hawaiian Regional Cuisine and Trader Vic-style "Tiki Cuisine". On a related note, tiki culture is making a big comeback . . . Martin Denny is still around and is giving a show this week with a neo-Tiki act called "Don Tiki".

My Restaurant was called. "Lisboa". We opened with Americas first Wine Bar, serving 15 wines by the Glass, We also introduced the Liquor Brandy Cart with over 150 varieties. Served Portugese, Spanish, African and the largest selection of local Hawaiian and Imported Seafoods. I was given the title of 'Hawaii's Mr. Restaurant", by the students at Kapolini Community College, and The University of Hawaii. We won many awards including Dish of the Year twice at the NRA Show in Chicago, and the Escargot Competition in France, where the showed my picture and said the winner was located in Honolulu, Polyanesia. never one word about the USA.


I definitely remember Lisboa - though I was too young at the time to go there (or be invited there). Lisboa was probably the single most innovative restaurant in Hawai`i during that period around the 1970s. I still remember reviews in the newspapers where critics would rave about your unique foods and wines that could be found nowhere else on the islands. In fact, even today, there probably isn't any place here that is willing to serve Portuguese cuisine in a first-class atmosphere, despite the large population of Portuguese ancestry. You were truly one of the pioneers.

I also owned and operated a Hotel, Restaurant, Bakery Food Service, Import Export Consultants Business before relocating to Honolulu from Hong Kong. Since we were, primarily Trouble Shooters, we were required to sign confidentiality agreements, no longer applicable since i've been semi-retired for several years. This business operated world wide, and still continues with my associates since 1965. We have been invlved with many operations previously on the Islands. Mostly Hotels.  Irwin


Thanks again, Irwin. We really appreciate your contributions. Hope to hear more from you in the future!

Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host


#14 wesza

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Posted 04 October 2003 - 10:51 PM

Thank you for the information. What's your feeling about the Rebuilding/Renovation of the International Marketplace in Waikiki? I have several friends who have recieved official notification of pending eviction, after being in business for many years. I'd personally hate to see it dismantled.  I was a good friend of the original Trader, who set up the tiki hut in the tree that used to carry radio broadcasts. Remember how Zulu and Hawaii 5/0 made the location a must destination to every touist. I was fishing on the charter Boat just the day before the Gigantic Marlin on display was caught

The renovation of the International Market Place has been predicted for a long time. As you may know, there was a big move to tear it down in 1988 in order to build the new convention center. A that time, it led to militant opposition among small vendors, many of whom are first-generation Korean immigrants. They went to the State Capitol and presented a petition, signed in their own blood. . . I remember many members of the local Korean community, including my mother, being very active in the anti-renovation movement. At any rate, the attempt to renovate was defeated, and the convention center built on the old Aloha Motors lot (which was more suitable size-wise, anyway).

I am not sure this time why there isn't more opposition. It seems the owners have done a better job this time preparing the merchants and laying the groundwork politically. Here is an article in the Advertiser about the renovation, though it doesn't really go into depth about the reaction of the merchants. It does however quote David J. Kenney. the owner of Captain Zak's, the place with the giant marlin. Naturally, it's sad to see somethings that's been a part of Waikiki for many decades to pass into history - I'll miss the small carts, the candle-makers, even the haggling.

You were a friend of Trader Vic? What was he like as a person? I was just about to start a new topic on this forum comparing and contrasting Hawaiian Regional Cuisine and Trader Vic-style "Tiki Cuisine". On a related note, tiki culture is making a big comeback . . . Martin Denny is still around and is giving a show this week with a neo-Tiki act called "Don Tiki".

My Restaurant was called. "Lisboa". We opened with Americas first Wine Bar, serving 15 wines by the Glass, We also introduced the Liquor Brandy Cart with over 150 varieties. Served Portugese, Spanish, African and the largest selection of local Hawaiian and Imported Seafoods. I was given the title of 'Hawaii's Mr. Restaurant", by the students at Kapolini Community College, and The University of Hawaii. We won many awards including Dish of the Year twice at the NRA Show in Chicago, and the Escargot Competition in France, where the showed my picture and said the winner was located in Honolulu, Polyanesia. never one word about the USA.


I definitely remember Lisboa - though I was too young at the time to go there (or be invited there). Lisboa was probably the single most innovative restaurant in Hawai`i during that period around the 1970s. I still remember reviews in the newspapers where critics would rave about your unique foods and wines that could be found nowhere else on the islands. In fact, even today, there probably isn't any place here that is willing to serve Portuguese cuisine in a first-class atmosphere, despite the large population of Portuguese ancestry. You were truly one of the pioneers.

I also owned and operated a Hotel, Restaurant, Bakery Food Service, Import Export Consultants Business before relocating to Honolulu from Hong Kong. Since we were, primarily Trouble Shooters, we were required to sign confidentiality agreements, no longer applicable since i've been semi-retired for several years. This business operated world wide, and still continues with my associates since 1965. We have been invlved with many operations previously on the Islands. Mostly Hotels.  Irwin


Thanks again, Irwin. We really appreciate your contributions. Hope to hear more from you in the future!

SkChai: Thank you for your response. To me if and when there is no longer a "International Marketplace", Honolulu will lose the only remaining artifact of Island character in Waikiki. I'm aware of the "Kelly's', intention of rejuvenating the area around where the," Reef Hotel", is located. But this or any other project or so called improvement will not have a positive effect on the community. It appears to me that in the years to come, the only locals except for employees, who will be spending time in Waikiki will be visitors.

I was also involved initially in the "China House", restaurant at Ala Moana Center, Honolulu's first restaurant to serve "Dim Sum", is it still operating. I'm proud of how successfull so many of my protoges have become since i've left the Islands. My former partner still resides in Oahu. I wouldn't be adverse from being involved again in a restaurant on Oahu, since so many former customers would welcome us back. All my children graduated from UH.
I'm curious if my friends and author of my favorite Chinese Cookbook are still involved with UH. Flora L. Chang and her husband, who was a Professor. She co-authored "Five Treasures of Chinese Cusine", with Gaynell M. Fuchs.

My two favorite foods I understand are very rare or unavailable.
"Samoan Crab'
"Hawaiian Red Shrimps or Prawns", were originally, caught in traps from the boat "Easy Rider". The sweetest and best tasting ocean shellfish.

I used to enjoy "Trader Vic's", company he was a authentic character. I used to get him fresh boneless shin beef, from the Oahu Market, from Big Island Range Beef that he'd make into numerous dishes at his home near to "Hawaii Kai". He had a interesting manner, sort of okay i'm here and now i'm in charge that somehow never offended anyone. Very nice person. He always dressed in his own trader style. I've still got one of his Hat's that I'd complimented him abou, so he honored me by presenting it to me in exchange for a "Calfs Liver", from the market. We had a write up on Friday in the "whats Happening', section of the 'Seattle Post-Intelligencer", Newpaper, about a new Seattle Restaurant, called the "Islander Polynesian Cusine", with the, "Tiki Lounge". The reviewer coundn't decide if it's eleganty Kitschy or Kitschy elegant. It should be available on the internet. Irwin
I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

#15 skchai

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Posted 05 October 2003 - 11:29 PM

SkChai: Thank you for your response. To me if and when there is no longer a "International Marketplace", Honolulu will lose the only remaining artifact of Island character in Waikiki. I'm aware of the "Kelly's', intention of rejuvenating the area around where the," Reef Hotel", is located. But this or any other project or so called improvement will not have a positive effect on the community. It appears to me that in the years to come, the only locals except for employees, who will be spending time in Waikiki will be visitors.


Again, you're right that the renovation seems to be going against the movement to attract locals back to Waikiki. At any rate, it seems a lost cause unless they deal with the shortage of reasonably priced restaurants that appeal to local people and, more than anything else, the parking problem.

Here, by the way, is the proper link for the article on the International Market Place renovation. I put an extraneous tag in it last time.

I was also involved initially in the "China House", restaurant at Ala Moana Center, Honolulu's first restaurant to serve "Dim Sum", is it still operating. I'm proud of how successfull so many of my protoges have become since i've left the Islands. My former partner still resides in Oahu. I wouldn't be adverse from being involved again in a restaurant on Oahu, since so many former customers would welcome us back. All my children graduated from UH.
I'm curious if my friends and author of my favorite Chinese Cookbook are still involved with UH. Flora L. Chang and her husband, who was a Professor. She co-authored "Five Treasures of Chinese Cusine", with Gaynell M. Fuchs.


I've been to China House restaurant quite a few times. It's always a great place for local Chinese favorites such as Cake Noodles with various stir-fries on top. Naturally, it would be great to have you back here in the restaurant business - we need people here like yourself who carry the history of the cuisine with you.

I'm not certain if Flora L. Chang's husband is still associated with UH. You you happen to know his name and / or department? I could then look him up.

My two favorite foods I understand are very rare or unavailable.
"Samoan Crab'
"Hawaiian Red Shrimps or Prawns", were originally, caught in traps from the boat "Easy Rider". The sweetest and best tasting ocean shellfish.


You're right they're quite rare. In fact, I haven't had the privilege of tasting either in my life! Most of the prawns sold here in high-level restaurants are the "Kahuku Prawns" which are farmed locally, not ocean-caught.

I used to enjoy "Trader Vic's", company he was a authentic character. I used to get him fresh boneless shin beef, from the Oahu Market, from Big Island Range Beef that he'd make into numerous dishes at his home near to "Hawaii Kai". He had a interesting manner, sort of okay i'm here and now i'm in charge that somehow never offended anyone. Very nice person. He always dressed in his own trader style. I've still got one of his Hat's that I'd complimented him abou, so he honored me by presenting it to me in exchange for a "Calfs Liver", from the market. We had a write up on Friday in the "whats Happening', section of the 'Seattle Post-Intelligencer", Newpaper, about a new Seattle Restaurant, called the "Islander Polynesian Cusine", with the, "Tiki Lounge". The reviewer coundn't decide if it's eleganty Kitschy or Kitschy elegant. It should be available on the internet. Irwin


Here's a cite for the Post-Intelligencer article you mentioned:

Pacifically speaking: The Islander menu roams the South Seas

Interesting that someone would be opening up a Tiki-style restaurant in Seattle in this current day and age. But on the other hand, many of the Trader Vic's around the world are still doing well.

Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host


#16 wesza

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Posted 06 October 2003 - 04:37 PM

SkChai: Thank you for your response. To me if and when there is no longer a "International Marketplace", Honolulu will lose the only remaining artifact of Island character in Waikiki. I'm aware of the "Kelly's', intention of rejuvenating the area around where the," Reef Hotel", is located. But this or any other project or so called improvement will not have a positive effect on the community. It appears to me that in the years to come, the only locals except for employees, who will be spending time in Waikiki will be visitors.


Again, you're right that the renovation seems to be going against the movement to attract locals back to Waikiki. At any rate, it seems a lost cause unless they deal with the shortage of reasonably priced restaurants that appeal to local people and, more than anything else, the parking problem.

Here, by the way, is the proper link for the article on the International Market Place renovation. I put an extraneous tag in it last time.

I was also involved initially in the "China House", restaurant at Ala Moana Center, Honolulu's first restaurant to serve "Dim Sum", is it still operating. I'm proud of how successfull so many of my protoges have become since i've left the Islands. My former partner still resides in Oahu. I wouldn't be adverse from being involved again in a restaurant on Oahu, since so many former customers would welcome us back. All my children graduated from UH.
I'm curious if my friends and author of my favorite Chinese Cookbook are still involved with UH. Flora L. Chang and her husband, who was a Professor. She co-authored "Five Treasures of Chinese Cusine", with Gaynell M. Fuchs.


I've been to China House restaurant quite a few times. It's always a great place for local Chinese favorites such as Cake Noodles with various stir-fries on top. Naturally, it would be great to have you back here in the restaurant business - we need people here like yourself who carry the history of the cuisine with you.

I'm not certain if Flora L. Chang's husband is still associated with UH. You you happen to know his name and / or department? I could then look him up.

My two favorite foods I understand are very rare or unavailable.
"Samoan Crab'
"Hawaiian Red Shrimps or Prawns", were originally, caught in traps from the boat "Easy Rider". The sweetest and best tasting ocean shellfish.


You're right they're quite rare. In fact, I haven't had the privilege of tasting either in my life! Most of the prawns sold here in high-level restaurants are the "Kahuku Prawns" which are farmed locally, not ocean-caught.

I used to enjoy "Trader Vic's", company he was a authentic character. I used to get him fresh boneless shin beef, from the Oahu Market, from Big Island Range Beef that he'd make into numerous dishes at his home near to "Hawaii Kai". He had a interesting manner, sort of okay i'm here and now i'm in charge that somehow never offended anyone. Very nice person. He always dressed in his own trader style. I've still got one of his Hat's that I'd complimented him abou, so he honored me by presenting it to me in exchange for a "Calfs Liver", from the market. We had a write up on Friday in the "whats Happening', section of the 'Seattle Post-Intelligencer", Newpaper, about a new Seattle Restaurant, called the "Islander Polynesian Cusine", with the, "Tiki Lounge". The reviewer coundn't decide if it's eleganty Kitschy or Kitschy elegant. It should be available on the internet. Irwin


Here's a cite for the Post-Intelligencer article you mentioned:

Pacifically speaking: The Islander menu roams the South Seas

Interesting that someone would be opening up a Tiki-style restaurant in Seattle in this current day and age. But on the other hand, many of the Trader Vic's around the world are still doing well.

SkChai: The articles are very interesting. The biggest bunch of Balonga, is that the "International Marketplace is become run down> That basically because it's always been contrived to appear "RUNDOWN". that's been a deliberate part of it's so called, 'Chrisma". There is nor has ever been any purported running down structurally sine the Fire Marshalls, or Building Department has never permitted this to occur. They have always been very much on top of this property due to the volume of visitors. What has been allowed to occur is MIMIMAL maintainence of the property deliberately. Sure it will allow many more parking stall's for transients, at prices locals can't afford, and more $$$$$ per Square Foot, especially since there will be a minimul amount of common area. The tennant's have been browbeaten, after all who can fight the Estate, for the long run. Reasonably priced Restaurant's only have to do about how much rent they have to pay to surive. Most Waikiki Restraunts are not high priced, just high volume. Tourist are often you're lowest common denominator in the amount spent for meals at restaurants. especially with the prolifigation of Time Shares and Condo Transients.

I belive Flora Chang was involved directly with UH. Her husband may have taught 'Geology".

"Samoan Crab", can still be special ordered from, "Tamishiro's Market". Walter Tamishiro was a close friend and a frequent customer at "Lisboa', as were many of the local fish dealers.

Lunch Wagons and Plate Lunches, evolved during the second World War. There were several local business preparing "Bulk Volumes", of Sandwiches that branched out to preparing and delivering "Hot Boxed Lunches". I met several different, Hawaiian and Okinawian Families whom were involved in this business when I first moved to Hawaii.

I've tried most of the, "Hawaiian Style Places", located in the Seattle Area. The best appearently that I haven't yet tried is located in, "Everett".

The winner of the Barbeque Competion recently was , "Rainbow Caterers", owned and operated by a family from the Islands.

I was very sorry when the , "Pearl City Tavern", closed it was one of my favorite restaurants. It was fun to bring visitors there and overwhelm them with the "Bonsai Trees", and the Giant Maine Lobsters", available in of all places Hawaii. Even today there are very few restaurants that have Lobsters in the larger sizes for sale anywhere. I remember eating a 12 pounder for my 30th Anniversity. Irwin
I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

#17 KarenS

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Posted 06 October 2003 - 07:16 PM

Hawaii does need good bakeries/cafes/bistros. I feel that "50's food" has been adopted as being "Hawaiian". Spam, vienna sausage, canned corned beef, canned salmon. This is not Hawaiian and we need to move beyond it. Nutrition is apalling in Hawaii. It is mostly carbs, fat, and protein. Various fried meats with white rice or mac salad is not healthy. Most of the HRC Chefs focused on the "fine dining crowd". I don't like to focus on them because I believe that the PR blew them way out of proportion. I have worked with many of them. It is much more about $$ then promoting Hawaii. Ice cream base, imitation crab, ranch dressing, blackening spice, panko, frozen seafood from asia and south america, sold as "local".
Hawaii is a place of many asian immigrants. i work with many people from the Phillipenes. They love pork, beef chicken, and did not have it in the quantity that they can in the US. What happens is that will be all that is eaten (and massive amounts of white rice). They develop high blood preasure and diabetes. All of this is had with soda (also before a rare "treat"). There needs to be a vegetable and fruit campaign here in Hawaii!

#18 wesza

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Posted 06 October 2003 - 08:22 PM

Hawaii does need good bakeries/cafes/bistros. I feel that "50's food" has been adopted as being "Hawaiian". Spam, vienna sausage, canned corned beef, canned salmon. This is not Hawaiian and we need to move beyond it. Nutrition is apalling in Hawaii. It is mostly carbs, fat, and protein. Various fried meats with white rice or mac salad is not healthy.  Most of the HRC Chefs focused on the "fine dining crowd". I don't like to focus on them because I believe that the PR blew them way out of proportion. I have worked with many of them. It is much more about $$ then promoting Hawaii. Ice cream base, imitation crab, ranch dressing, blackening spice, panko, frozen seafood from asia and south america, sold as "local".
Hawaii is a place of many asian immigrants. i work with many people from the Phillipenes. They love pork, beef chicken, and did not have it in the quantity that they can in the US. What happens is that will be all that is eaten (and massive amounts of white rice). They develop high blood preasure and diabetes.  All of this is had with soda (also before a rare "treat"). There needs to be a vegetable and fruit campaign here in Hawaii!

KAREN: What your calling ,"Hawaiian" is actually more indicutive of "Polynesian", in general. I've had occasion to have been invited as a guest at ,"Samonan", or other Island's, homes, where these foods, especially the one you overlooked,"Franco American Canned Spaghetti', may be considered company treats. This evolved due to these items, while actually not expensive were merchandised, required no refrigeration to become part of the culture. It's also easy to overlook the the, McDonalds located in Hawaii, are often the top producers for the chain. When I relocated to Honolulu in 1965, almost no stores carried Brown Rice. Nut thru the years it's progressed to being comparable to the mainland. The 2 exceptions are that there is the highest per capata consumption of, "Bar Soap" and "Rice". The overall eating habits of the multi ethinic population is really in my opinion better then the mainland in general. Simply look around you, especially at the young people. They appear fit and healthy, compared to their peers.

Far to many of the Imported Food Service Professionals are not the best available, just pay attention to the turnover in personel. There has been and will continue to be many capable chefs and cooks, who are taking advantage of the shortage in competent restaurant workers, traveling and learning who will eventually return to the Islands and bless them with their knowledge. The biggest problem was in aquiring capitol to begin a modest operation anywhere else, will get you no where in the Islands. Although many hotels are unionized, with good benefits the wages offered, are not offset by the actual cost of living so aren't attracting workers.

Also consider that Management are operating as destination resorts where your clientle is there only for short stays, so the food service easily gets into a rut. What would you expect when your repeat customers are probably semi-annualy. Also very small proportion of sales are received from the Hawaiian Residents, anywhere in the Islands.

I leaned that when operating in Honolulu it wasn't feasable to try to run a lower, more locally priced restaurant, due to rent, cost of advertising and economics. When we changed to a top of the line business, remembering customers by name, where the sat and what they enjoyed, we continued to prosper. But it was only because we were better at what we did then any of the competition. We had plenty of covered secure parking, and catered to professionals, business people, hotel/restaurant employees and the Military. the majority of visitors were recommended by locals or word of mouth and hotel workers who sent us customers because they enjoyed eating at our restaurant. Irwin
I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

#19 KarenS

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Posted 06 October 2003 - 10:39 PM

I totally disagree that Hawaiian young people are fit and healthy. There is rampant obesity, a huge part of the population has diabetes and high blood preasure/ cholesterol. Yes, I have known that Hawaii has the highest per capita consumption of fast food. It is not healthy to eat 8c of white rice a day, beef, pork, noodles and lots of shoyu. Asian cultures ate small amounts of protein with a little rice and vegetables. It has turned into massive portions with lots of rice/ carbs/fats/ and meat everyday.

#20 wesza

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Posted 06 October 2003 - 11:11 PM

I totally disagree that Hawaiian young people are fit and healthy. There is rampant obesity, a huge part of the population has diabetes and high blood preasure/ cholesterol. Yes, I have known that Hawaii has the highest per capita consumption of fast food. It is not healthy to eat 8c of white rice a day, beef, pork, noodles and lots of shoyu. Asian cultures ate small amounts of protein with a little rice and vegetables. It has turned into massive portions with lots of rice/ carbs/fats/ and meat everyday.

KAREN: Thats a very interesting assumption. As I haven't personally visited Honolulu in the last several years I had received my imformation from 3 Physican friends for whom, i'd made arrangements for their visit. They are all connected with the University Hospital in Seattle, and commented about the physical attributes they observed in young people on Oahu and the neighboring Islands. I'm aware that there is appearently more and more overweight American's, but had hoped this was not the case in Hawaii.

It seems that SCARFING their food, is the most regular way of eating. I had hoped that they were still utilizing the more traditional stir-fried veggies and some meat or protein that was more traditional.

Has your information been published. It would be interesting to peruse this information. I still have some contact with Kapolani CC, and UH, as well as Straub Clinic and Queens. It's a shame that in such a small, enviormently controlled population can be so lacking in communication. Irwin
I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

#21 tighe

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Posted 07 October 2003 - 06:12 AM

Has your information been published. It would be interesting to peruse this information. I still have some contact with Kapolani CC, and UH, as well as Straub Clinic and Queens. It's a shame that in such a small, enviormently controlled population can be so lacking in communication. Irwin

I don't remember where I first read about this, but this article published in the Honolulu Advertiser this August confirms my understanding that obesity rates for young people in Hawaii are quite high.

Until 1994, the national average was 10 to 11 percent of children (ages 6 to 19) considered obese — defined as above the 95th percentile for weight in the growth charts. But by 1999 that rose to 13 percent for children and 14 percent for adolescents. A study by professors from the University of Hawai'i and Brigham Young University-Hawai'i studied obesity rates among 1,437 Hawai'i students in one school district and found double those rates for the period from 1992 to 1996.


Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.
- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

#22 KarenS

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Posted 07 October 2003 - 06:42 PM

I'll look for some of the articles on diabetes also. It seems that Hawaii has the highest occurance in the country (also per capita). This was connected to the huge consumption of white rice (which is present at every meal in addition to any other carb served). These are not small bowls of rice, but huge mounds.

#23 KarenS

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Posted 07 October 2003 - 06:49 PM

This is from the State of Hawaii:

The Facts and Figures about Diabetes in Hawaii





- Diabetes affects 16 million Americans and more than 80,000 Hawaii residents.

- Half of all Hawaii residents with kidney failure have diabetes. Hawaii ranks 2nd in the nation in renal failure.

- Hawaii Island has a disproportionate share of diabetes sufferers, with the highest concentrations in the windward areas.

- Asian Americans are twice as likely to get diabetes as Caucasians.

- The prevalence of diabetes varies markedly among ethnic groups in Hawaii. Prevalence rates are highest among Japanese (80 per 1000), Filipino (60 per 1000), and Hawaiians (50 per 1000).

- Mortality rate differ significantly by ethnicity. The age-adjusted mortality rate for Hawaiians is more than two times as high as the rate for Caucasians, Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese (117.1 per 100,000 for Hawaiians vs. about 50.2 per 100,000 for the other four major ethnic groups).

- If someone in your family has diabetes, you are at an increased risk of getting the disease.

- Symptoms may begin with increased thirst, urination and fatigue. If left untreated it can lead to poor circulation, kidney failure and blindness.

- Forty-four percent of people with diabetes on the Big Island of Hawaii have not received the recommended biannual blood tests, while 51 percent have not undergone foot examinations, according to a recent insurance survey

#24 KarenS

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Posted 07 October 2003 - 06:54 PM

here is more:

American Journal of Public Health, Vol 87, Issue 10 1717-1720, Copyright © 1997 by American Public Health Association


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

JOURNAL ARTICLE


Diabetes in Hawaii: estimating prevalence from insurance claims data
G Maskarinec
Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, Honolulu 96813, USA.

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of diabetes mellitus in Hawaii from insurance claims data. METHODS: Information from two major health plans covering approximately 66% of the state's population was used to estimate prevalence rates by sex, age group, and geographic area. Weighted multiple linear regression was applied to identify predictors of diabetes prevalence. RESULTS: The statewide diabetes prevalence was estimated at 43.8 per 1000 persons. The ethnic composition of the population and rural residence partially explained the geographic variation in diabetes prevalence. CONCLUSIONS: Insurance claims data may be a useful tool for population-based diabetes surveillance.


This article has been cited by other articles:

#25 KarenS

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Posted 07 October 2003 - 06:58 PM

and more:The University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Native American Research and Training Center (NARTC)
Type 2 Diabetes: A Threat to Indigenous People Everywhere


by Robert S. Young, Ph.D.

Type 2 diabetes has become a modern-day scourge not only for Native peoples throughout the United States, but also in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Basin, as described in the following summary:

United States: In some U.S. tribes, the prevalence rate of diabetes is 50% of the adults over age 35. This is one of the highest rates in the world.

Hawaii: Approximately 70 to 90 thousand of Hawaii's native population have Type 2 diabetes. In Hawaii, Native Hawaiians also have a diabetes-related mortality rate that is 6 times that for the general U.S. population.

Pacific Basin: Crude prevalence rates among aboriginal peoples in Australia are 2-6 times the rate for Australians of European Origin, and in some aboriginal communities, the prevalence rate is 33% of adults over age 35 (O'Dea, 1991). High rates of diabetes are also found among native peoples in New Zealand, Western Samoa, Fiji, Kiribati, and the Cook Islands (Humphreys and Zimmet, 1994).

Canada: A survey conducted by the Canadian Diabetes Association in the province of Ontario found prevalence rates varying from 2 to 40 percent on the various reserves, each with populations numbering from 100 to 300 persons (Kewayosh, l987). In general, rates vary by tribe and by region. The highest prevalence rates for Type 2 diabetes are found in the southern part of Canada, where major urban areas are located and the majority of the Canadians reside.

What Kind of Diabetes Are We Talking About?

Although there are a number of different diseases classified as "diabetes," the three major forms of diabetes are:

Type I diabetes, a form of diabetes characterized by destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas, thus requiring the patient to take insulin daily in order to survive. This form of diabetes is rare in Native Americans.

Type 2 diabetes, the form of diabetes that is most common among Native Americans. Patients diagnosed with this form of the disease can often control their diabetes by diet and exercise, although some may require medication. In the later stages of the disease, some patients with type 2 diabetes may require insulin.

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM), is a form of diabetes that occurs in some expectant mothers only during pregnancy, although these mothers are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life. Babies born to mothers with GDM are more likely to become diabetic at an earlier age than the rest of their peers born to mothers with normal blood sugar levels (Pettitt et al., 1988).

Secondary Complications

The symptoms of Type 2 diabetes are subtle and often are not apparent to the patient. As a result, approximately half of the population with Type 2 diabetes are unaware that they have the disease, and by the time the disease is diagnosed, secondary complications may have occurred. Some of the secondary complications include eye problems (glaucoma and retinopathy), high blood pressure, kidney failure, coronary heart disease, and loss of sensation in hands and feet.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include a family history of diabetes, gestational diabetic birth, being overweight, being sedentary, and eating a diet high in saturated fats.

Why has it Reached Epidemic Proportions?

Being overweight was rare among Native Americans prior to 1940, and very few people had diabetes. Researchers believe there is a connection between being overweight and lack of physical activity.

Being overweight is associated with a number of health problems, including Type 2 diabetes. But high numbers of Indian peoples who are overweight is a recent phenomenon. What are the causes of this phenomenon? Most researchers agree that changes in nutrition and a decrease in physical activity are major contributors to the epidemic of type 2 diabetes.

Changes in nutrition: Jackson (l994), in documenting the history of food consumption by Native Americans, estimates that fat content was about 17% prior to the arrival Europeans but is 38% in the current diet. Most tribes before the coming of the Europeans traditionally consumed foods high in fiber and low in fat and refined sugar (Jackson 1994). Meals today are high in calories and fat but low in fiber; there is a high consumption of butter, lard, and fried foods, including fry bread, eggs, meats, and vegetables as well as consumption of alcoholic and high sugar content non-alcoholic beverages.

Lack of physical activity: Traditionally, before the advent of trucks and fast-food restaurants, indigenous people had to hunt game and grow their own food. Hunting and working in the fields required a lot of physical activity. One cavalry officer in the 19th century described the Indian warriors that he had encountered as among the most physically fit men that he had ever seen.

Physical activity is important in preventing Type 2 diabetes in children and youth, especially those who are overweight or who are at risk for the disease. Unfortunately the physical difficulty and discomfort that a child who is overweight experiences when trying to exercise discourages that child from engaging in any exercise. But physical activity is important. Diabetes can be prevented! It is not inevitable! A good, nutritious diet and proper exercise can prevent type 2 diabetes from occurring in persons who are at high risk for the disease.

The Costs of Diabetes

Studies of the economic impact of diabetes estimate that in 1992 diabetes cost between 87.5 and 91.8 billion dollars annually (Javitt and Chang 1992). Approximately half of these costs are direct medical costs; the other half represents indirect costs, including lost productivity due to morbidity and mortality. Javitt and Chang (1995) also point out that medical costs to the individual who has diabetes are two to five times greater than medical costs for those without diabetes, i.e., over $11,000 per year for the patient with diabetes compared to $2600 per year for the nondiabetic.

But the human costs are much higher. Developing Type 2 diabetes at an earlier age is devastating for youth who not only face premature onset of diabetic complications, but also other consequences such as poor quality of life, inability to bear children, and disabling consequences that prevent many from employment.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NARTC Newsletter

The NARTC homepage

Send mail to lclore@u.arizona.edu with questions or comments about this web site

#26 KarenS

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Posted 07 October 2003 - 07:02 PM

And more:













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MAY 7, 2001

CONTACT: KAREN WINPENNY 586-4482



CHILDHOOD OBESITY REACHING EPIDEMIC PROPORTIONS

Measurements in national and local studies are showing an alarming trend among children, teens and adults to be more overweight. This includes all races, male and female. In fact, a recently completed research study through the University of Hawaii has found youth obesity levels in Hawaii double to those on the mainland. In response to this, a conference "Childhood Obesity in Hawaii: Identification Determinants and Suggested Interventions" will be held on May 9, 2001, 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the Hawaii Imin International Conference Center, The East West Center, University of Hawaii. Local and nationally know experts in the field will discuss issues such as "The Environmental Causes and Remedies for Obesity," "Treatments for Youth Obesity and Their Effectiveness," and "Obesity as a Public Health Tragedy."

Childhood obesity has received increased attention because overweight children are at risk of becoming obese adults and weight loss is hard to manage and sustain in adults.

Using a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculation, which takes into account weight and height , determination can be made if a person is underweight, within normal range or overweight. The BMI calculations for children in the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s showed approximately 4 to 6 of every 100 children, ages 6 to 19 years of age were found to be overweight. In the 1990’s, those figures increased to approximately 10 to 11 out of every 100 children – nearly doubling the number of obese children.

A recent research study conducted by the University of Hawaii Kinesiology and Leisure Science Department and the Brigham Young University Exercise and Sport Science Department measured the BMI of more than 1400 public school children between 1992 and 1996. Nineteen to 25, depending on age and sex, out of every 100 children measured were overweight using the same criteria as the national studies. Even with our sunny weather and sports opportunities, the Hawaii overweight numbers are approximately double the national numbers.

This conference is sponsored by: The Hawaii Medical Service Association Foundation; The Healthy Hawaii Initiative, Hawaii Department of Health; The Kinesiology & Leisure Science Department, University of Hawaii; The Hawaii Department of Education; The Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children; and Kaho’omiki: Hawaii’s Council on Physical Activity.

For more information or to register, please call Susan Lafountaine, Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, at 983-8231. For more information on the childhood obesity epidemic please contact Angie Wagner at the Hawaii Department of Health at 586-9283.

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#27 KarenS

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Posted 07 October 2003 - 07:07 PM

And more:













Back to press
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By Date

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MAY 7, 2001

CONTACT: KAREN WINPENNY 586-4482



CHILDHOOD OBESITY REACHING EPIDEMIC PROPORTIONS

Measurements in national and local studies are showing an alarming trend among children, teens and adults to be more overweight. This includes all races, male and female. In fact, a recently completed research study through the University of Hawaii has found youth obesity levels in Hawaii double to those on the mainland. In response to this, a conference "Childhood Obesity in Hawaii: Identification Determinants and Suggested Interventions" will be held on May 9, 2001, 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the Hawaii Imin International Conference Center, The East West Center, University of Hawaii. Local and nationally know experts in the field will discuss issues such as "The Environmental Causes and Remedies for Obesity," "Treatments for Youth Obesity and Their Effectiveness," and "Obesity as a Public Health Tragedy."

Childhood obesity has received increased attention because overweight children are at risk of becoming obese adults and weight loss is hard to manage and sustain in adults.

Using a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculation, which takes into account weight and height , determination can be made if a person is underweight, within normal range or overweight. The BMI calculations for children in the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s showed approximately 4 to 6 of every 100 children, ages 6 to 19 years of age were found to be overweight. In the 1990’s, those figures increased to approximately 10 to 11 out of every 100 children – nearly doubling the number of obese children.

A recent research study conducted by the University of Hawaii Kinesiology and Leisure Science Department and the Brigham Young University Exercise and Sport Science Department measured the BMI of more than 1400 public school children between 1992 and 1996. Nineteen to 25, depending on age and sex, out of every 100 children measured were overweight using the same criteria as the national studies. Even with our sunny weather and sports opportunities, the Hawaii overweight numbers are approximately double the national numbers.

This conference is sponsored by: The Hawaii Medical Service Association Foundation; The Healthy Hawaii Initiative, Hawaii Department of Health; The Kinesiology & Leisure Science Department, University of Hawaii; The Hawaii Department of Education; The Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children; and Kaho’omiki: Hawaii’s Council on Physical Activity.

For more information or to register, please call Susan Lafountaine, Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, at 983-8231. For more information on the childhood obesity epidemic please contact Angie Wagner at the Hawaii Department of Health at 586-9283.

###





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#28 KarenS

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Posted 07 October 2003 - 07:09 PM

Here is more:



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Wednesday, May 9, 2001




Hawaii kids’
obesity rate twice
of mainland

The ratio of overweight kids
in the islands is twice that of the
mainland, research reveals

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Helen Altonn
Star-Bulletin

A five-year study to determine if Hawaii's children grow and develop normally has revealed a frightening fact: More than 20 percent of them are overweight. That's double the national rate.

Childhood obesity also has increased in the United States and in other countries -- even in Japan, where obesity is relatively rare, according to CENSIS, a national statistics agency.

The University of Hawaii Kinesiology and Leisure Science Department in the College of Education and the Brigham Young University Exercise and Sport Science Department conducted the local study.

They measured about 1,400 students, ages 6 to 17, in an unidentified community.

The findings are "really kind of scary," said Kwok-Wai Ho, retired chair of Kinesiology and Leisure Science and co-principal investigator in the study with a department colleague, associate professor Dennis Chai.

"We found, essentially, our children are growing quite normal compared to national data, except one thing was really striking," Ho said. "Their body weight was really heavy....

"Some are too fat. They don't even want to come in to do a measurement (at the upper age level)."

More than 65 percent of the participants were measured for at least three of the five years, Ho said.

The researchers used a body mass index calculation which considers weight and height to determine if a person is underweight, overweight or in the normal range.

They followed conservative criteria used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to measure if children are overweight, and the obesity levels were double what they are on the mainland, Ho said.

Nationally, 11.4 percent of boys and girls 6 to 11 years old are classified as overweight. Hawaii's figure is 22.2 percent, Ho said.

The Hawaii study found that 23.8 percent of children 12 to 17 years old were overweight, compared with 10.5 percent of children ages 12 to 19 nationally.

Although children in only one community were measured, Ho said the researchers have been in all parts of the state and, without doing a statistical analysis, "even subjectively, we knew our kids were fat." Concerned about the health implications, the researchers sought and received a three-year grant from an equally concerned Hawaii Medical Service Association Foundation to look for solutions.

They proposed a physical activity program, "hopefully to fit the local situation and help children increase their level of physical activity and reduce obesity," Ho said.

Starting in August, he said, a one-year pilot program of physical activity and nutritional changes will begin in five schools in the Kahuku area. One class per grade will participate in each school, five days a week. (The study was not done in Kahuku, Ho said.)

To get more ideas and expert opinions, a conference is being held today at the East-West Center on "Childhood Obesity in Hawaii: Identification Determinants and Suggested Interventions."

Sponsors of the event, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m., include the HMSA Foundation, Healthy Hawaii Initiative, Department of Health; the UH Kinesiology & Leisure Science Department; the state Department of Education; Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children; and Kaho'omiki: Hawaii's Council on Physical Activity.

Ho said the obesity specialists are invited to brainstorm with key people in the community tomorrow morning.

"The timing is right," Ho said. "Not only in Hawaii but the whole nation, obesity is one of the biggest medical problems ... so we are right on target."

He said the pilot program in Kahuku "will not only be running around, but include an educational component with motor learning, sportsmanship, knowledge enhancement and physical fitness."

At the end of the year, kids who participate in the program will be compared with those who don't to determine the impact, Ho said.

If the program is effective, he said a recommendation will be made to expand it across the state.

"Physical activity is not the only way we can solve the problem," he added.

"There are many other factors in terms of childhood obesity. That's why we want experts from the mainland to tell us their experience."





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#29 caroline

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Posted 08 October 2003 - 04:09 PM

Karen, Your passionate interest in the health of people in Hawaii is impressive. Sounds like you were born and raised there? This is clearly an important topic so perhaps we could start a new thread? I'll do it right now. Because it really deserves a space apart from the issue of restaurants in Hawaii,

Cheers,

Rachel
Rachel Caroline Laudan

#30 caroline

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Posted 08 October 2003 - 04:24 PM

Irwin, Your insights and experience continue to amaze me. Here's another topic perhaps you could expand on a little. You mention food service personnel. Would you care to comment on the problems of getting good personnel at resort hotels particularly on the outer islands. These are often remote from centers of population and have to be housed specially around the hotels. Or else they have to be shifted from other jobs into restaurant work as happened when the Lanai hotels opened. Did you encounter this in your time in Hawaii?

Many thanks,

Rachel
Rachel Caroline Laudan