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Everything posted by skchai

  1. Don't know where to start here - of course judging food quality is a subjective business, so it's quite possible that contradictory opinions can be equally valid. So there's nothing objectively incorrect about anyone saying that Hawai`i has lousy food - it may indeed be lousy from their experience and tastes. Anyway, nothing seems to get people more excited about a local food / music / anything else, than someone coming in and slamming it! Given that no one can claim objectivity, I'll try to restrict my "defense" of our food by discussing the extent that Hawai`i, and particularly Honolulu, fits into each of what, in my mind, are the three best-known "paradigms" for evaluating a fine food city . . . (1) The haute cuisine paradigm. This paradigm is the kuleana of the Michelins, Gault-Millaus, and those who seek to emulate their influence in annointing temples of fine dining. No doubt, as far as this is concerned, that Honolulu cannot claim even auxiliary membership in the rarefied circles of haute cuisine cities - New York, Tokyo, Toronto etc. But as Rachel points out, this is hardly a reasonable comparison given the great differences in size. Indeed, the fact that anyone would think of comparing Honolulu, even unfavorably, with such places shows there that our high-end cuisine has more prominence than one would expect given our population. It would be hard to imagine someone even bothering to make such a statement such as: "Tulsa / Halifax / Buffalo just can't compare with New York or Tokyo for great restaurants!" No offense to any of those cities intended - I love BBQ brisket / saltfish and brewis / beef on weck! Indeed, some of my best friends . . . Yes, Roy's would be just one among many in New York. But the fact that we have even one Roy (not to mention one Alan Wong, Mavro, Sam Choy etc. apiece) is a lot of visibility for a city of about 375,000 people, and a huge jump from where we were 15 years ago. Indeed, whatever you think about Hawaiian Regional Cuisine and other self-conscious culinary movements in the local restaurant industry, it's clear they have brought us greater visibility and influence in haute cuisine than any similar-sized city or territory in the world. This is true any way you measure it, whether it be restaurant and chef awards, mentions in foodie magazines, nationally distributed chef's cookbooks, influence on menus elsewhere in the country, etc. etc. (2) The "terroir" paradigm. This is (literally in this case) the kuleana of the Slow Food movement, the proponents of controlled appellations, and such. Here, the emphasis is on distinctive food products that are historically tied to a particular territory, that are raised with great care and reverence, and (perhaps most important) are bound up in the identity of the people living there. Here, Honolulu and its surrounding areas are not really doing badly (again, given the size of the population), but at least in my opinion things could be better. Yes, partly inspired by the HRC and its nouvelle cuisine roots, much more emphasis is being made on locally sourced ingredients, and farmer's markets are going up left and right. I agree with oneidaone that KCC Farmer's market is a great resource for the chef. Small producers, much celebrated by the local food press, are making everying from prime-grade steer to chocolate. However, as welcome as this trend is, and as wonderful as many of the products are, too often it comes across as a delayed and reduced-scale reflection of what has already taken place in many major mainland population centers. But no, it's not a scandal that we can't get heirloom tomatoes in the same variety and quantity here as you can in New York. The real scandal is that it is almost impossible to find high quality taro or breadfruit here, despite the fact that have been the staples of the Native Hawaiian diet. Or, to take "aliens" that have been long-naturalized, that you have to go to extraordinary lengths to find a good ripe pineapple or high-quality Haden mango (unless, in the latter case, you have a neighbor with a tree). Most of the mangos sold in local supermarkets are from Mexico - that it in itself is not remarkable; it is just part of the modern parable of the global division of labor, along with Aloha shirts made in Indonesia. What is more extraordinary is that great local pineapple, mango, or litchi is almost impossible to find even in the farmers' markets. Locally-sourced ingredients are not enough for fufilling the stern requirements of this paradigm. We need more of an emphasis on locally-sourced local ingredients. And no, Rachel, I don't believe that this is a cry for "authenticity", whatever that means. Instead, it is the notion that if a society seeks to buy into the Slow Food ethos of culinary communitarianism, it needs to define a reasonably stable set of food items to call its own. Each of such foods must be distinct enough to differentiate the society from others, well-suited to its physical climate if it is a crop, and established long enough to be integrated into the local cuisine. Whether these foods have been there for a hundred generations or one is less important. Heirloom tomatoes can't define "us", even if it is very nice to have them available here, because no one will view them as distinct to or particularly well-suited for Hawai`i. Some of the other foods I've mentioned above can, but need to be nurtured to develop into full-blown expressions of local identity. (3) The diversity paradigm. Here, we're talking about the multiplicity of cultures and cuisines in one place, both juxtaposed and blended. This is, in my opinion, where Honolulu looks the strongest. Yes, I'm painfully aware we're missing quite a lot. Among other things, we don't have much choice in the way of good Indian, Mexican, or Arab restaurants here. Indeed, if you're looking for the sheer availability of a complete range of ethnic cuisines, then even here we can't measure up to New York, Los Angeles, or London, to take the three most diverse restaurant cities in the world. Of course, you may have to drive or ride the subway for quite a while to get to the best places in those cities. Travel time aside, however, there are many ways in which Honolulu is unexcelled even by much larger cities. One is the widespread availability of cuisines that you would be hard-pressed to find even in some of these larger cities. One of course is traditional Hawaiian food, but we can include in this category the multitude of Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Thai restaurants specializing in one particular dish, or food from one particular subregion. Not to mention rarer findings such as the half-dozen or more restaurants serving Okinawan cuisine, a few well-hidden places serving Samoan or Micronesian food, etc. More importantly however, is the constant, casual, and seemingly unconscious mixing of cuisines that goes on in Honolulu at the most plebian levels. "Ethnic" food of many kinds has insinuated itself into our own cuisine to the point that no one thinks that there is anything remarkable about the average, not-particularly-adventurous person eating pork adobo for lunch one day, Japanese curry the next, kalbi and kimchi the next, and laulau the next. Not to mention fried chicken on Friday. It's almost a cliché, but this kind of procession is just part of the normal diet here. And the great forum for this procession is the ubiquitous plate lunch, often served out of a lunchwagon where a single local lady may offer all the aforementioned dishes on one menu, all prepared on a tiny stovetop, with "two scoops" of rice the only constant, literally and figuratively the glue holding everything together. Sneer you may at the plate lunch wagon. O.K., the food is often carelessly made, and even I would love to see mac salad banished to the great `opala dump in the sky, but there is probably no site in the world at any time in history, with the possible exception of the old Singapore hawker streets, where a greater variety of culinary tradition are brought together in one great multicultural heap. Sooner or later, moreover, things get mixed up, which leads to shoyu poke, chicken longrice, char siu saimin with katsuo broth, beef hekka, "meat juhn", mochiko chicken, kim chee burger, kalua pig pizza, Spam musubi of course, butter mochi, and on and on, as well as literally hundreds of other "fused" dishes that are seen as so routine that they have no name. This kind of stuff does happen elsewhere, but nowhere close to the same extent as it does in our city and state. I think that it is this diversity that caught Rachel's interest after she had lived here for a few years, and which she wrote about so beautifully in Food of Paradise, which is, as far as I know, the only book focusing on the cuisine of a single U.S. state to ever win a major culinary prize - the IACP Jane Grigson award. SO. . ., even going by the conventional criteria, I think both Honolulu and Hawaii look pretty good, particularly when you take into account size, but even overall when it comes to diversity. BTW, since this thread has long since ceased being a trip report, I think I will move everything from tooearly on to a new thread. Any objections? Stay tuned. . . Larry, are there audio archives of the recent Town Square episodes - 5 pm is one of the most difficult times for me to tune in, but I'd really like to hear the shows with Joan Namkoong and the others.
  2. Go for it Emily - sounds like you'll have a lot of opportunities to soak up "bread culture" while you're acing though the NYU program. If you're in Politics, say hi to Bruce BDM - he wrote a blurb for one of my books, so he may remotely remember me. . . Waiting for the wood-fired bakery will just make us more hungry once it comes about. Hope also to hear about Chris' adventures in the NY culinary scence. . . Take Care, Sun-Ki
  3. Poke first course for tastes of Big Island, by Kevin Dayton Big Island food festivals start to heat up. Name proves unlucky as Buddha Bar hits sign snag, by Mary Adamski Some Hawai'i Buddhists protest over naming of new Waikiki bar, by Mary Kaye Ritz Interesting stories - a bar (of the same name but not associated with popular Paris singles spot) has opened in the old House of Hong spot, and immediately come under attack from the large local Buddhist population. . . Outdoor market is a Hilo landmark, by Ron Staton Hilo Farmer's Market FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Book finds great little restaurants, By Wanda A. Adams Island Grinds by David Goldman QUICK BITES: Annual Kahala Mandarin buffet blends traditions Isle-inspired cookbook wins national award Haven't read it, but must be pretty amazing to beat out the wonderful Delights from the Garden of Eden QUICK BITES: Ben Takahashi to head new restaurant
  4. skchai


    Pake, I was wondering about the Tulip / Spam issue because I had heard that Tulip is more common than Spam in Okinawa, though both are popular - is that true in general? That nishime / nunkwa that you described reminds me of the Korean "budae cchigae" which came out of the areas surrounding the military bases in Seoul. It takes a traditional Korean hotpot (cchigae) made with kimchee and pork or beef, replacing the latter with Spam and hotdogs! Rachel, there are good reasons to call the purple sweet potato "Okinawan", though what you have been told also has an element of truth in it as well. Both the yellow and purple sweet potato have been widely eaten in Okinawa. The yellow sweet potato is nowadays generally called the Satsuma imo, as it is in mainland Japan. Satsuma is a former feudal domain in Kyushu; "imo" simply means potato. However, this type of sweet potato probably arrived in Okinawa directly from China rather from Satsuma, and indeed was the primary staple of much of the Okinawan population for centuries prior to the widespread availability of rice since the 1950s and 60s. The purple sweet potato, called beni imo (purple potato), has been around in Okinawa for a much shorter time, and as far as I understand has never been a staple. However, it has undergone a boom in popularity in recent years, and now more of it is consumed than the yellow version. Furthermore, it is identified both by Okinawans themselves and Japanese mainlanders as a distinctive Okinawa product. It is identified more specifically with Okinawa's Yomitan Village. Locals believe that the purple sweet potato was developed there by the farmer Sakugawa Seisuke in the 19th century, and the "Yomitan beni imo" is still one of the village's major sources of income. The village holds a "Murasaki matsuri" (Violet Festival) every year to honor their famous product. BTW, I found an interesting comment by a descendant of Sakugawa's on some of this history. I haven't been able to find any information on how the potato is said to have been developed, or what relationship if any it has to the Filipino ube purple sweet potato. At any rate, a rather convoluted answer. . .
  5. Must say that, judging from the picture, Domino's Pizza in India is miles ahead of Domino's in U.S.
  6. Ah, thanks for the update, Jackal10. I had been wondering what was happening. . . If you're ever reading this, Emily, best of luck in your Masters program. And if you do have the time, we would certainly love to see the blog continue. . .
  7. Sure - please check out this thread on the Little Blue House.
  8. Care to elaborate, tooearly?
  9. skchai


    pake, not to speak for PPC, but I don't think he was offended at all. When he referred to "personal history", he was talking what some people have said about Mr. Yamada of Hatsune-ya, not about your recollections. I guess yagi jiru is one thing that probably won't appear on the local menus! Interesting about the many ways that Okinawans consume canned meats / fish. Did you eat a lot of Tulip or Spam when you were there? Kristin, thanks for the link to the Okinawan vegetables thread!
  10. skchai


    Mahalos to both of you, pake and PPC for your posts. pake - great story of your eating experiences in Okinawa. I liked your reporting on the variety of Awamori drinks that are on offer. More than anything else, it shows that awamori is more than just a cultural symbol for Okinawans - it's a part of their everyday lives. Your story about bringing in ogo all the way from Hawai`i was great - I guess no ag inspection like here in Hawai`i? Wonder how your Japanese friends reacted to ogo - I guess the kind of Japanese seaweed it is closest to is hijiki. Sounds like a great living arrangement you had. I'm sure you could write a lot more about your experiences there - looking forward to hearing more from you! PPC - was not at all aware of the possible rift that existed among the Okinawan restaurant communiites. I do agree that it is something that should be discussed in a civil manner. I'm aware that Yamada is different from many of the other Okinawan restauranters here in that he does not come up from the local Okinawan immigrant populoation that was responsible for much of the early restaurant history here - e.g. the Kaneshiros, Teruyas, and their many fellow local uchinanchuu. And it is clear that Hatsune-ya makes no attempt to define a "local-style" Okinawan cuisine. Since I haven't been to the other places that owned by kama`aina families I can't really speak to the distinct characteristics of local-style Okinawan, though there may be. However, I was not aware that Mr. Yamada was born in Taiwan. However, the fact that he spent only (?) years in Okinawa is not of itself a reason to view his cuisine as proplematic. I would be interested in why his dishes do not suit traditional tastes - is it perhaps, as I mentioned, the fact that the champuru is cooked only very lightly and not until crisp? Or something else?
  11. skchai


    Pake, thanks for the link to the Wonder Okinawa site! I take it you have some experience living in Okinawa - could you tell us a little more about the experience. So the Orion comes before the awamori - is it a matter of having the light stuff before the heavy stuff. Do people ever drink regular shochu instead of awamori? Are there any particular foods that are supposed to go particularly well with awamori?
  12. If I'm not mistaken, Renee has been a participant, now and then, on eGullet, over in the "Rest of Asia" forum. . .
  13. Hatsune-ya (fmr Kariyushi) 1436 Young St. Suite 103 Honolulu, HI 96814 808 942-1137 I like to claim that Honolulu, for such a small city, provides a large number of eating opportunities that are difficult or impossible to anywhere in the United States. One of these is Okinawan food, which can be sampled at a half a dozen or more establishments around the city. I won't try to provide a survey of all of them, since pakeporkchop has done a great job already with his"Okinawan Cooking in Hawaii article in his online "What's Cooking Around Town" column (see this column as well). For more on Okinawan food, here's a thread from last year that we had in the Japan forum. If you're looking for a cookbook in English, here's an order form at Donna's site for Okinawan Mixed Plate, published by Hui O Laulima. I will focus here on the restaurant that perhaps makes the most sustained effort to explore all the intricacies of the island kingdom's cuisine - Hatsune-ya. Until several months ago, Hastune-ya was known as Kariyushi. Now the name has changed, though the owner and the menu remain the same. I asked one of the waiters what happened, and he said that it was a sentimental thing. Apparently, owner's parents owned a small pushcart eatery in Okinawa many years ago called Hatsune-ya, and changing the name was his way of paying respect to them. The menu at Hatsune-ya is full-bore Okinawan. Most of what is served here could never pass for cuisine of the "yamatunchu" (mainland Japanese). Yes, there is some tempura for those looking for something more familiar, but everything else is proudly and even nationalistically (?) Okinawan, and even the tempura is nativized with goya (bitter melon), gurukun (a kind of native reef fish), and souki (pork spareribs). Perhaps not at all ironically, about half the restaurant's patronage seems to come from Japanese tourists and resident nationals, since it has been written up in a number of Japanese magazines as serving some of the finest Okinawan food anywhere. For those of you who are not familiar with Okinawan cuisine, don't be fooled by the rash of books and articles that have come out in recent years touting the uniquely healthy nature of the Okinawan diet. Yes, Okinawans (particularly the older ones who have not fallen to the allure of Tulip and McDonald's) are quite healthy, and have some of the longest average life spans in the world. Yet the traditional Okinawan diet is not all roots and leaves. Indeed, its star ingredient, one that shows up in a bewildering number of guises in many different dishes, is pork - often fairly fatty pork at that. Yes, traditionally it was eaten in small amounts, but that's not true of restaurant food (which is, after all, basically banquet food), where large quantities are in order. The Okinawan have been eating pork for several hundreds of years, most of it during the period in history when the (mainland) Japanese viewed animal products as unfit for food use. Indeed, pork-eating was perhaps the key feature of the Okinawan stereotype among those mainlanders during the time of increasing interaction between the two in the early 20th century. Children of Okinawan immigrants to Hawai`i were often teased by their yamatunchu counterparts with the slogan "Okinawan ken-ken buta kau-kau. Ken is the Japanese for prefecture, which Okinawa was by then, after the abolishment of the Shuri kingdom in 1872 and annexation a few years later. Kau-kau's use in conjunction with this is interesting, if only because it is a Hawai`i pidgin word derived from Cantonese, meaning basically food, with the connotation being everyday food. So you can assemble the meaning of the phrase for yourself. . . BTW, I will try not to overload this review with history, but it keeps popping back in, as food has become one of the primary areas in which Okinawa's often-uncomfortable relationship with Japan (and with the U.S., for that matter) is played out. Two of Okinawa's most famous dishes are goya champuru and rafute. I ordered both as set meals as part of an early-bird special. This is actually the "buta-nasu-goya" champuru, made with pork (buta), eggplant (nasu), and bitter melon (goya, or in standard Japanese, nigauri). Champuru is basically a stir-fry of tofu, usually with pork, as well as at least one vegetable. The stir-frying, like the use of pork, reflects the close political and cultural relationship that the Okinawan kingdom had with China, much closer than with Japan, until invasion by the Satsuma domain at the beginning of the 17th century. In the traditional dish, the tofu and pork are generally cooked for a fair amount of time in a generous quantity of oil or lard until they are both crisp. Hatsune-ya's version is relatively nouvelle - very little residual oil, and the ingredients are cooked only until barely done. However, the eggplant seems to have been very quickly deep-fried over high heat before stir-frying, giving it an extremely crisp covering. As you can see, the set meal comes with a ball of rice and a quasi-Western salad of avocado, tomato, cucmbers, lettuce, wilted onions, cabbage, and shredded wakame seaweed. There are little shavings of kanpyo (gourd), an interesting raw ahi salad with creamy sesame-tofu dressing, and small balls of purple Okinawan sweet potato pureed . All very pleasant and agreeable, and admirably healthy. The next dish is not so healthy. Rafute is soy-simmered pork belly (sanmainiku) - it can be seen as a close relative of a number of similar Chinese dishes (such as Su Tongpo Pork), but with the difference that its simmering liquid includes large amounts of awamori, Okinawa's native single-distilled firewater. Naturally, the awamori loses its potency as it cooks, and furthermore Hatsune-ya dresses up its rafute with chunks of carrot, daikon, bok choy, and a cute little bow of konbu (kelp leaf). So you end up getting something suprisingly dainty. As this fuzzy closeup shows, the rafute is about half-fat and half-lean. You are supposed to nibble away at small amounts, taking chunks that mix both fat and lean. Good luck. The tempatation is really to swallow it whole without chewing, since it's so succulent and gelatinous that chewing is completely unnecessary. At least try to take in a bit of rice in between swallows. To supplement these set dishes, we ordered a couple of things ala carte. This is ashitibichi nitsuke, simmered pigs feet. Pigs feet, as well as intestines (nakami) and spareribs (souki) are found in many forms on the menu. Nitsuke is a simple "hotpot" preparation with daikon and more little bows of konbu. Pig's feet are fussy to eat, but the chewy cartilegous flesh between the toes can become addictive after awhile. Just ask my son - you wouldn't expect an 8-year old to be begging for more pigs feet, but there you are. Here's black rice (kuromai) served with little fried garlic slivers, red ginger (benishoga), and small amounts of smashed fried egg. Black rice seems to be experiencing a bit of a boom in Japan right now, with all sorts of unlikely health-giving qualities given to it. It is not strictly an Okinawan product (most of what is consumed in Japan and here comes from China), but it is after all a tropical crop, and its robustness and nutty flavor fits in better with Okinawan food than with that of the North. The nuttiness is accentuated by their fried garlic, but offset by the sharpness of the ginger and the blandness of the egg. I could eat a lot of this. Here's the desert that came with the set menu. Our choice of ice cream - we picked bitter melon and Okinawan sweet potato. Uh, fairly pleasant . . . I can't say that the flavor of vegetable came out that strongly in either one - but perhaps that is a good thing. The restaurant is actually quite small (six or seven tables, I believe). I don't know where that picture of George H.W. came from. The menu specials are listed in Japanese on the wall - though I'm sure the waiter would be happy to let you know what they are in English if you ask. Hatsune-ya is hidden in a little corner of an office / apartment building on the mauka (mountain) side of Young St., between Kaheka and Keeaumoku. You can't even see it from the street - so make sure you check the address and don't get lost!
  14. Reid, I think you'll run into a lot of interesting people here on eGullet, including (though probably not on the Hawai`i forum) Tony Bourdain. Would it be O.K. to ask which Singapore food blogger it was who got you interested? As far as keeping my own blog, like I told Ryan, I'm not organized enough for that. I do post the odd restaurant report now and then, but a blog. . .
  15. Sorry I can't help you much here as I'm not a Kauai person (and it doesn't look like we have one who currently frequents this board), but there are a couple of links to past threads at the top of this thread. Hope this is at least a little help.
  16. You're welcome, Reid. Thanks for keeping up your great blog (Onokinegrinz). Welcome to eGullet, hope to hear more from you! Could perhaps tell us a little more about how you got involved in chronicling your meals out?
  17. Opened - (actually 3 months ago, but I didn't find out until recently). Hawaii's first (it's about time) full-fledged Indian Market, called . . . India Market. It's on 2570 S. Beretania St. #105, Ph: 946-2020, in the same building as the Well Bento takeout, just off University Ave., across Beretania from Kinko's. Spices, naturally, dals, ghee, packaged chaat, tamarind, refrigerated burfi, all the things you would expect. Bollywood DVDs renting for $2.00 a night. Owners have been here for over 15 years - asked them why they decided to open - just frustrated that there wasn't already a place like this in Honolulu! Hope it will do well - have positioned themselves in a good location to attract a wide range of customers - right near health food stores.
  18. Thanks so much for the clarification and info on Kit n' Kitchen. It's interesting how the process of "technology transfer" happens between different countries. Often it's on such a personal level. I didn't realize that he had opened in HK first before he brought the restaurant to Hawai`i. BTW, loved the picture of the Hainan Chicken Rice from Cafe Oriente in your article. I've had that at HK Orchid Cafe, which was very good - chicken bones were still pink, HK style. I hope to try it in Singapore one of these days, where it's supposed to reach its ulimate level! As you mention, HK Orchid also has its share of Italian-Chinese dishes. I tried the Black Pepper Beef with Spaghetti. I'll try to work up a report on the place one of these days. . .
  19. PPC - sorry for not replying sooner - that is such an amazing post. So much history in it that I have to sit down for a while to digest it all. I assume this will turn into another episode of "Wokking Around Town"? I hope you're also turning all this into a book - I'm sure there would be a lot of demand for it - I'd run out and buy the first copy. A lot of "what's happened to them now" stories. Such as Titus Chan - I believe he must have been the first non-Western chef ever to have his own TV series distributed nationally. Yong Sing is the shuttered restaurant on Alakea and Hotel, correct. I'm surprised someone else has not opened up there yet. Perhaps the rents are too high for such a large establishment? One place I remember from my own youth in Manoa is Manoa Chop Suey. Now turned into a Starbucks - almost a cliche, but such a typical example of the passage of time. It's interesting that in Hawai`i, the word "chop suey" when attached to a restaurant doesn't have the same negative connotations that it might on the mainland. Again, thanks for the great post!
  20. Thanks, Rachel. Yes, I wasn't sure what to expect, but actually the salad was very bland - raw potatoes are very crisp, without much flavor, but I did like the texture quite a lot. I do wonder why, given the huge volume of potatoes eaten in the West, there seems to be a kind of implicit injunction against eating them raw. I can see why there might be a preference for cooked ones - the main use in the West is as a bread substitute, and the starchy qualities come out better after they are cooked. However, it's not clear why it's hard to find even a single recipe using raw potatoes (except in very recent and faddish "raw food diet" cookbooks). Isn't there some vague belief floating around that raw potatoes are poisonous? Not so much because they are from the nightshade family - the myth that all Solanaceae were dangerous presumably evaporated long ago, and at any rate would not have differentiated between the raw and cooked. Instead, perhaps it has something to do with "sunstruck" green potatoes and possible glycoalkaloid (solanine, aflatoxins?) poisoning. Perhaps the belief is that if you cook potatoes, even the green parts will be rendered harmless. As far a I know, this is not true, but the belief is at least plausible given the fact that cooking renders harmless poisonous substances in taro and "sour" cassava. At any rate, I'm just speculating. . . BTW, here's a shot of the interior of Kit n' Kitchen. Notice the many stuffed animals and the poster advertising gratin and doria. . .
  21. Here's some more Sino-Korean food from yet another visit to Ondong Restaurant (Andong Banjeom) As I mentioned, the surest sign that you're in a Sino-Korean restaurant (besides Korean on the menu), is when they give you kimchi plus raw onions with black bean sauce as your "amuse". Andong even throws in some yellow takuwan pickled daikon (called dakuwang in Korean). This is rajoyuk, deep-fried beef in a spicy sauce. It's de-chickenized version of a more common dish called rajogi, since as I mentioned my wife doesn't like chicken. It's also somewhat similar to the kkamppung dishes such as the kkamppung squid shown above. In fact, I could never really figure out the difference between rajo and kkamppung, other than that kkamppung usually has a little less sauce. . . This is the Andong version of Korean-style sweet-sour pork, tangsuyuk. Notice how similar it is to the Mandarin's version - tree ear fungus, carrots cut into slices, and green onions. Andong again throws in one more thing - Chinese cabbage, but otherwise it's a standardized recipe here and everywhere in Korea. O.K., now for something a little different. This is the buchu japchae - stir-fried Chinese chives with dry-fried beef. You traditionally eat it by stuffing it into steamed buns, though rice is fine too. . .
  22. I'm not aware of any specific ordinance, but would not be surprised if there are restrictions on seats extending to the actual sidewalk. But I wouldn't think this is just a Hawai`i thing - that seems to be the standard throughout the continental U.S. and I suspect Canada too. There are actually a large number of places with outdoor seating, though most are lanai-type arrangements, such as Kaka`ako Kitchen, which I take it Keith visited but did not like, and many of the other places in the Ward Center and the Victoria Ward Shopping complex nearby. All have roofs, though. Without a roof, it would simply be too hot much of the year. I did notice a large number of outdoor seating arrangements when I last visited Vancouver, but as far as I could tell they did not extend out onto the sidewalk proper, as sometimes seems to happen in France. Interesting phenomenon that we noticed on Via Veneto in Rome last year - restaurants would put up little air-conditioned glass enclosements in the little arbor zones between the sidewalk and the road. Waiters would walk across the sidewalk to deliver the food. All the people-watching without facing the natural elements. . .
  23. Locally grown and growing, by Wanda A. Adams The North Short agricultural revival QUICK BITES: Little Vino quietly pops the cork Wine bar opens up in a corner of Sansei KC Drive Inn ready to shut doors, by Catherine E. Toth Hawai`i's first drive-in restaurant, open since 1929, closes its doors. FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Maui-style cookies to munch on, by Wanda A. Adams Peanut-butter cookies from the Maui playgrounds New chef has a knack for daring delicacies, by Wanda A. Adams Antony Scholtmeyer serves up foie-gras ice cream and 'ahi sashimi sorbet at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua QUICK BITES: Another Roy's opens at Ko Olina Michael Leslie, executive chef at the Golf Club restaurant By Request: Mango recipes bountiful in many cultures, by Betty Shimabukuro Key Ingredient: Hearts of palm, by Eleanor Nakama-Mitsunaga Maui in a bottle: The Valley Island's vineyards and winery are coming of age, by Betty Shimabukuro Key Ingredient: Awamori, by Eleanor Nakama-Mitsunaga the Okinawan rice spirit By Request: Oka must have coconut milk, by Betty Shimabukuro the Samoan raw fish-and-coconut dish Stuffs: Kapolei 'Taste' benefits schools Tickets on sale for 9/25 event at Ko Olina Resort & Marina
  24. This isn't about pizza, but on the related topic of Italian food in Japan. I've started a thread in the Hawai`i forum about two restaurants in Honolulu - an Italian-Japanese one and an Italian-Chinese one: Angelo Pietro and Kit n' Kitchen . . . wherein we explore the mysteries of the spaghetti napolitan, gratin, doria. However, I will haven't really been able to figure out the origins of these Japanese adaptations of Italian foods. Any comments / insights / relation of personal encounters with such foods would be appreciated!
  25. Angelo Pietro 1585 Kapiolani Blvd. Suite 110 Honolulu, HI 96814 808 941-0555 http://www.angelopietrohonolulu.com/ (Pietro Honolulu) http://www.angelopietro.com/ (Pietro USA), http://www.pietro.co.jp/ (Pietro Japan) Kit n' Kitchen 1010 University Ave. Honolulu HI 96826 808 942-7622 We're here to discuss the East Asian adaptation (some unkind people would say desecration) of Italian cuisine. No, I'm not talking so much about the world of pizza topped with squid, corn, potato, and mayonnaise, though that's a fascinating topic in its own right. Instead, I want to focus more on the other dishes. . . The widespread consumption of Italian food in East Asia has a fairly short history, a rather belated reciprocation of Marco Polo's supposed export of spaghetti technology from Kublai Khan's China. Anglo-American-inspired "Western" cuisine such as tonkatsu (pork cutlet), croquette, omuraisu (rice omelette), curry rice, and hayashi ("hashed") rice arose in Tokyo during the late 19th and early 20th century, and within a few decades spread into the mainstream of the "co-prosperity sphere". On the other hand, Italian food doesn't seem to have made much of an impact until pizza started to become popular in Japan sometime during the late 1960s and 70s, and about ten years later in South Korea (not sure about Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc.). Somehow, though, Italian food is now pretty commonplace throughout much of East Asia, and there is a recognized and distinct menu of Italian-Asian foods. I'm not sure how this happened, and I haven't been really able to uncover any histories of this development. So sorry if this whole review seems pretty hollow. There does seem to to be lot of intermediation involved - the rest of East Asia's take on Italian food seems heavily influenced by Japan's adaptation of it, which in turn seems to have been influenced by Italian-American food served at Western (read American) chain restaurants. So, stated more precisely, it's really Italian-American-Asian food we're talking about. But other than that things are a little foggy for me. . But for what it's worth, other than pizza, the "big three" of Italian-East Asian food are napolitan, gratin, and doria: (1) Napolitan is basically spaghetti with meat and ketchup sauce. Mmmmm? (2) Gratin is, well, gratin - but more specifically something like a baked pasta with cream sauce and cheese. How a French cooking term came to be attached to "Italian" food would no doubt be an interesting story if I could figure it out, but unfortunately I have no insight into this. (3) Doria is basically a gratin made with (Japanese-style) rice instead of pasta. And while I'm about to review an Italian-Japanese and an Italian-Chinese restaurant, I unfortunately did not have a chance to take pictures of any of these three dishes. The reason is, that, unless I'm going to lean over and point my camera at the next table, the only way I could get a picture would be for me or someone in my family to actually order and eat them. And while only napolitan sounds truly gross, none of us really felt enough like being a guinea pig to try these dishes when there were other things that sounded more appealing and were equally exotic. You can find plenty of pictures of gratin and doria at the three Angelo Pietro sites listed above, as well as those for other Italian-Japanese chains such as Chicago Pizza Factory and Saizeriya. Anyway, here's Angelo Pietro in Honolulu. It's part of a moderate-sized franchise chain based in Fukuoka, with about 100 branches in Japan, mostly in Kyushu, as well as five in Seoul, and one in Shanghai, in addition to one here. You can tell it's a Japanese restaurant right away because of the plastic food in its display window. . . It has a pretty large menu, featuring mix-and-match sauces and toppings for spaghetti. To its credit, there is no napolitan anywhere on the menu. The four sauces on offer are tomato, shoyu, garlic oil, and cream. The toppings include ground beef, smoked sausage, chicken, squid, shrimp, mushroom, brocolli, asparagus, spinach. Besides mix and match, there are "fixed" toppings which include familiarly-named sauces such as Bolognese or Carbonara, as well as popular Italian-Japanese toppings such as natto (fermented soybeans), tarako (cod roe), ume-katsuo (sour Asian plum with dried bonito), and bacon-takana (a kind of Japanese cabbage, usually pickled). I guess these are not included in the mix-and-match out of fear that someone will try to mix tarako with ground beef or natto with smoked sausage. But why not let them? Basil, oregano, and such are nowhere in sight, but garlic is used liberally, and not just in the garlic oil sauce. This is a brocolli-mushroom spaghetti with soy sauce from the mix and match. The spaghetti is not quite al dente, but is not at all soggy either. The assortment of mushrooms are suprising varied, including shiitake and oyster mushroom along with the more common button / champignon variety. The soy-based sauce is somewhat garlicky and therefore might qualify as what would be called a "yakiniku tare" in Japan except it is not as sweet. Lots of crisp-fried onions on top - don't know why, but why not? Good textural contrast. Pleasant, not too much that anyone could object to unless they're into "authenticity". This is the katsuo-ume, a little bit further in the Japanese direction of the Italian-Japanese spectrum. Nonetheless, the spaghetti are regular durum noodles, not italianized udon (in case you were worried). The katsu are flaked "hana katsuo", and you get a lot of pureed ume flesh mixed in with the noodles. All this is topped by thin slivers of nori (dried laver). The combination is kind of a mixture of extremes - the fruity sourness of the ume contrasting the smoky, salty meatiness of the katsuo and the iodine flavor of the nori. Good? I think it's an acquired taste, even for those who like ume and katsuo separately - but I wouldn't say it's bad - perhaps remotely like the same principle as ham with fruit? Well, anyway, I ate the whole thing, and the only thing I could say against it is perhaps more ume! Angelo Pietro clearly aims at the "Italian" of the Italian-Japanese spectrum (at least compared to other places) and makes somewhat more effort to provide dishes that would be recognizable to Westerners as Italian food. Indeed, the restaurants whose Italian-influenced menu is limited to napolitan, gratin, and doria tend not to be Italian-Japanese so much as Western-Japanese "yoshokuya", where these dishes are served alongside curry, tonkatsu, etc. Here's an example - Angel Food's Oven-Tei chain. And while Angelo Pietro has moved into Seoul in a big way, there are already a number of Western-Korean ("kyeongyangshik") chains serving a similar menu, Skylark being among the largest ones. This is Kit n' Kitchen. Have no idea about the name, and it doesn't seem to be chain at all; the only location is in Honolulu. However, the owner comes from Hong Kong, and this is a fairly faithful rendition of Italian food as served in Hong Kong or Taipei. First thing that strikes you is that its menu is pretty similar to that of Angelo Pietro, and indeed, as with so many other things, the adaptation of Western culture in East Asia has been funneled through Japan. One of the most common non-pizza, non-pasta Italian-East Asian dishes is the raw potato salad, and can be found on both menu. Once again, I had no clue about the origin or how it got classified as "Italian". The dressing is an "oriental style" one that seems to feature a combination of miso, vinegar, and oil. Raw potatoes are pretty similar to daikon or jicama in texture, and have an extremely mild taste. "Pillow Bread" I haven't seen this elsewhere, and may be a Kit'n Kitchen own adaptation of garlic bread. Asian-style loaf bread (which apparently was adapted from recipes by German bakers) with the insides cut up for scooping out, buttered and toasted. You remove pieces with your fork and eat the crust separately. I guess it's good for families where some people like the crust and others like the inside. Here's their adaptation of the bacon-takana combination, the Portuguese sausage-takana with a spicy garlic sauce on spaghetti. The Portuguese sausage is actually a popular breakfast meat in Hawai`I, adapted from the linguica recipes of immigrants from the Azores and Madeira. So if you want to count influences here, it's Italian->American->Japanese->Hong Kong + Portuguese->Hawaiian. After all that fuss, it's a pretty modest dish, but the salty greasiness of the Portuguese sausage does go very well with the tartness and slightly bitter flavor of the takana. A winnah, I would say. Kit n' Kitchen does have a huge variety of gratins and dorias (27 separate discrete toppings offered for each). One I really should try is the "PM Pork Chop" which seems to be a Hong Kong-style black pepper XO sauce on a chop, which is then placed on top of rice or pasta, sprinkled with cheese, and put in the oven. They also have a "Black Bean Pork Chop" served with cream sauce, either gratin or doria-style. Both make a clear statement distinguishing Italian-Chinese (or at least Italian-Hong Kong) from Italian-Japanese. But I'm kind of scared, to be honest.
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