Art Meets Taste at Basalt

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It’s impossible not to gleefully anticipate driving a fork into the
heaping stack of ebony-colored pancakes that executive chef Keith Kong has drizzled exquisite bright red guava-strawberry sauce and
garnished with fresh raspberries, strawberries and blueberries. It’s obvious he takes pride in the wholesome, artistic creation that’s become one of Basalt’s signature dishes, and for good reason. The pancakes taste as delicious as they look.

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Kong is the star of the edible show at Basalt, where unique culinary crafts appease all palates and the atmosphere is contemporary in a
casually chic way. But the talented, albeit humble, culinary master credits his entire team for the authentic, international fusion of flavorful dishes at Waikiki’s latest hot spot, tucked neatly inside Duke’s Lane Market and Eatery.

Kong’s famous Basalt Charcoal Buttermilk Pancakes that have created such a buzz are made with a classic buttermilk base. But what causes them to stand out is that they are crafted with edible
charcoal to form a lovely slate color. Even the topping is “charcoal ash,” which consists of whipped cream, mascarpone cheese, sugar
and vanilla.

Executive Chef Keith Kong blends international flavors with unusual ingredients, such as charcoal, in each dish at Basalt.Customers especially rave about his Basalt Charcoal Buttermilk Pancakes.

The charcoal that’s added to the heavenly pile of pancakes is meant to represent the restaurant’s name and foundation of the Hawaiian Islands, basalt, a black, volcanic rock or solidified lava.

Charcoal serves as an ingenious ingredient that’s gained popularity among health enthusiasts of late. People use it in various beauty products, including teeth whiteners, but charcoal is also beneficial for digestion. The theory is that it aides absorption and is a “detoxifying” agent that keeps your insides nice and shiny.

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The Pork Belly Buns appetizer also features charcoal. The handmade, traditional bao buns are incorporated with the powder to create a beautiful, rich color. Each bun is stuffed with slow-roasted pork belly dry-rubbed with Chinese five-spice that gives it a robust flavor. To add even more oomph to this already delicious pupu, the pork belly is topped with pickled daikon (Asian turnip) and carrots, and adorned with green onions and cilantro—together, representing the traditional Vietnamese banh mi sandwich. Moreover, the buns are brushed with hoisin Sriracha sauce and served with a crispy side of black sesame rice chips. The colors contrast as perfectly as the textures, and the taste is an impeccable blend of sweet, salty and sour.

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The details to every dish are unparalleled at Basalt. Kong knows how to please palates and does so with 100 percent conviction. The Hawai‘i native was introduced to the food industry as a dish washer but worked his way through the ranks and graduated from the California Culinary Academy. Now, he commands the kitchen of a spot that’s deemed one of Waikiki’s best kept secrets. What’s more, he oversees the entire operations of the Europeanstyle marketplace where the restaurant resides, includes an in-house bakery and burger bar. Therefore, guests of Duke’s Lane Market and Eatery not only have an opportunity to sit down and enjoy Kong’s innovative blend of international flavors, as well as the textures and shapes that represent the process of how basalt is made, they can grab something just as authentic and delicious at another eatery, to go. It’s one of the few places in Waikiki that truly has something for everyone.

Duke’s Lane Market and Eatery is open daily from 6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and Basalt operates from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Visit dukeslanehawaii.com for more information.

Flavors of the World

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SEOUL JUNG

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DOLSOT BIBIMBAP
There’s a hidden gem tucked inside the Waikiki Resort Hotel that offers tasty traditional Korean cuisine. Try this authentic dish served in a sizzling stone pot filled with rice, seasoned vegetables, beef and an egg. Let it sit for a while to give your rice and veggies some extra snap and spice it up with gochujang sauce, made from red chilies. Mix everything together or savor each ingredient separately. Either way, it hits the right spot.

DECK BAR & GRILL


CRISP ROASTED CHICKEN & MAUI SWEET ONION
Go for the refreshing, handmade happy hour cocktails but stay for this delicious meal and the stunning scenery. The open-air restaurant at Queen Kapi‘olani Hotel has the most gorgeous and iconic perspective of Diamond Head and offers the epitome of American comfort food. The dish is cooked to exquisite perfection,
so much so that it tastes like your grandmother made it special for you and seasoned it with love.

BUHO COCINA Y CANTINA


KALE WRAPPED BURRITO
There isn’t a dish at Búho that doesn’t perfectly represent the  reshest flavors of Mexico. This vegetarian dish is mind-blowingly delicious. It’s comprised of a rich blend of homemade ingredients wrapped neatly inside cooked local kale, including Mexican rice, black beans, rajas-onion mix, romaine lettuce, mango pico de gallo, guacamole, coconut lime rice and sour cream. Not only is this original dish one-of-a-kind in taste and presentation, it’s light and leaves your belly invigorated.

WAIKIKI YOKOCHO GOURMET ALLEY


PREMIUM TEMPURA BOWL
At Kaneko Hannosuke, one of many authentic Japanese restaurants in one space, this soulsatisfying bowl of delicate tempura consists of rice, fresh water anago (eel) from Japan, seafood kakiage (mixed seafood), a pair of generously-sized shrimp, a shishito pepper to give it kick and a piece of nori. The most unusual aspect of this bowl is that it’s accompanied with a soft-boiled egg tempura. Your taste buds will throw a party once you crack it open, drizzle on the “special sauce,” and mix the ingredients together.

EATING HOUSE 1849


MISOYAKI BUTTERFISH
Every dish at this rustic-chic restaurant at the International Market Place exemplifies the ethnic blend of cultures unique to Hawai‘i. An Asian-Pacific specialty, the fluffy fish is the star of this dish and sits on a bed of Korean rice and Chinese long beans. An ‘ono (delicious) sweet and spicy soy mustard butter sauce makes an exceptional companion, as well as the daikon (Japanese radish) salad and microgreens that provide extra tang for your tongue.

A Feast Fit for Kings

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Food and Fun the Hawaiian Way

A lu‘au is a celebration of legendary cultural caliber. Attending this event provides an all-inclusive opportunity to feast on traditional food and delight in ancient.

These festive occasions have evolved over the past two centuries. Historically, strict rules were enforced and certain activities and food were kapu (forbidden) to everyone except ali‘i (royalty). Men and women dined separately and only members of the Hawaiian monarchy could feast on food such as kalua pork and bananas. The affairs were referred to as ‘aha‘aina or “meal gathering” and honored milestones, including war victories or canoe launchings.

Rules became more lenient after King Kamehameha II came into power. By the time King Kalakaua governed the Hawaiian Islands in the late 1800s, lu‘au was synonymous for food and fun. Kalakaua, also known as the “Merrie Monarch,” incorporated Hawaiian entertainment with the elaborate feasts and, while a lu‘au today might not fall under the same lavish category, it follows a similar model. Moreover, past traditions like sitting on the ground on woven hala leaves and eating with fingers gave way to dining with silverware on tables adorned with ti leaves and flowers.

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Executive banquet chef Joseph “JJ” Reinhart.

Kama‘aina (Hawai‘i residents) hold lu‘au to commemorate special events like a baby’s first birthday or a high school graduation. Unless you know someone in Hawai‘i, however, you’ll more likely have to book a reservation with one of the many companies, including hotels, that offer these magical soirées.

Waikiki Starlight Lu‘au provides the perfect example of a South Pacific lu‘au. It’s held on a rooftop at the Hilton Hawaiian Village so you don’t have to drive an hour outside of the city to experience this open-air celebration. The gorgeous venue offers a bountiful buffet, as well as a mini one for keiki (children). An ample selection of local food is available to appease all diets, such as huli huli chicken, local greens, lomi lomi salmon made with diced onions and tomatoes, and haupia (coconut custard). This is also your chance to try poi made by pounding taro root into a paste thinned with water to create a pudding-like consistency.

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Service of food at a lu‘au typically begins with a ceremony in which a pig that was cooked in an imu (underground oven) with hot coals is unearthed. This won’t be the case here but the kalua pork that is provided for tasting is just as juicy and offers insight into the ancient techniques of Hawaiian food preparation.

Executive banquet chef Joseph “JJ” Reinhart enjoys preparing the kalua pork, along with other ethnic food of the Islands, for as many as 550 people, five days a week.

“I get inspired from the amazing ingredients that are abundant around us and the many cultures that are present here,” he says.

But it’s not an easy task.

“You’ve got to be organized and ready to accept any spur-of-the-moment challenges,” he adds.

Reinhart, who was recently hired as Hilton Hawaiian Village’s new banquet chef, attended culinary school at Scottsdale Culinary Institute. He spent many years perfecting his craft working at establishments in California, as well as several in Honolulu, including five-and-a-half years at other Hilton Hawaiian Village eateries.

His famous feast is followed by entertainment by Tihati Productions featuring everything from elegant Hawaiian hula to passionate Polynesian displays of Samoan fire knife dancers and hip-popping Tahitian performers. Guests are taken on a journey through Polynesia called, “Voyage Across the South Seas” via song and dance. What really sets this show apart, however, is that the venue features a “stage in the round,” whereby the audience encircles the stage and has a maximum viewing opportunity. Be prepared to participate in conch shell blowing, tattoo demonstrations, wood carving and maybe even some dancing.

Besides the possibility of swaying your hips to the melodies, be sure to wear something comfortable. It’s rare for anyone to dress up in Hawai‘i so anything from aloha shirts and shorts for the men to sun dresses and a light jacket at night for the ladies is perfect.

If you’re concerned about sitting at large, banquet tables with strangers, don’t worry. With the abundant flow of mai tais (which, by the way, are not part of the ancient tradition), it won’t be long before you make new friends and revel in the fun time you’re having  together.

A lu‘au is an experience steeped in ancient culture and is unlike any other. The authentic festivity is sure to be the cherry on top of your Hawai‘i vacation sundae.

 

 

Hawaiian-Style Pulled Pork.

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Traditional preparation of pork in Hawai‘i involves wrapping the meat in banana or ti leaves and steaming it in an imu or underground oven pulled with hot rocks. Today, the juicy delicacy that was once reserved for ali‘i (royalty) is primarily prepared by slow-roasting the pig in an oven and seasoning it with salt and liquid smoke to obtain the same tenderness and taste.


 

HAWAIIAN PLATE

 

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CINNAMON’S AT THE ILIKAI

This premiere spot for local grinds offers an epic plate lunch served with all the traditional flavors. A heap of kalua pork, fried mahi-mahi and a choice of rice, potato mac salad or lomi tomato relish, are the edible stars. Add steamed chicken laulau wrapped in greens that falls apart to the touch for more melt-in-your-mouth goodness.


 

KALUA PIG CLUB

GIOVANNI PASTRAMI

This dynamo deli sandwich is layered with a robust serving of kalua  pig and dressed to the nines with gourmet bacon, barbeque sauce and mayo on toasted sourdough bread. Sliced avocado and tomato provide an extra freshness to a meal that, overall, is a flawless blend of sweet and salty.


KALUA PIG SLIDERS

UNCLE BO’S

Pulled pork stacked between toasted taro buns is exactly what the doctor ordered for happy hour at the end of a long day spent basking in the sun. Pineapple barbeque sauce adds a sweet dimension to this savory pupu that’s divinely seasoned with fresh cilantro to add a sensational pop of zest.


KALUA PIG SUPREME

ROUND TABLE PIZZA

This specialty pizza is crafted with superb red sauce and topped with bits of kalua pig, chunky pepperoni, and Italian and Portuguese sausages. Tomatoes, white and green onions, and chopped garlic lend even more flavor to each slice. The combo of seasonings provides just the right amount of spice to leave a pleasant tingle on your tongue.


LOCAL EGGS BENEDICT WITH KALUA PIG

HEAVENLY ISLAND LIFESTYLE

This famed breakfast dish consists of two wheat English muffins topped with luscious kalua pork, locally sourced poached eggs and a hearty homemade hollandaise sauce with exquisite liliko‘i (passion fruit) butter. A side of crispy Okinawan sweet potato chunks and fresh, local greens make a well-rounded meal that’ll perk you up any time of day.

Seaside Romance

Seaside Romance

Stunning ocean vistas with Diamond Head’s majesty in the background make the scenery alone fit for any romantic occasion at The Reef Bar and Market Grill. Treat that special person in your life to the sensational crisp, salty air along the shores of Waikiki, while also spoiling them with fresh “farm-to beach” edibles.

Make an impression beachside any time of year, and especially on Valentine’s Day, when the restaurant offers heartwarming specials. Celebrate your love on Feb. 14 with an exclusive “Surf n Turf” dish that features a juicy 8-ounce slice of filet mignon and a succulent serving of lobster.

“Food is one thing that everybody has an opinion on, which makes it such a great profession to be in. To be able to push people to try new things or turn their stance on certain foods is empowering.”
“Food is one thing that everybody has an opinion on, which makes it such a great profession to be in. To be able to push people to try new things or turn their stance on certain foods is empowering.”-Delia Romano, Director of Food and Beverage

-Delia Romano, Director of Food and Beverage

 

Prepare them any way you like and choose from a selection of tasty seasonings and homemade sauces.

Seasonal oysters, considered “aphrodisiacs” by many, contribute even more spice to your love life when they accompany your edible agenda. Fresh Oysters on the Half Shell make for a great appetizer. The mollusks are shucked upon order and served with cocktail sauce and chili pepper water mignonette.

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If you’ve come with an appetite, pair your entrées with any number of sides, including a Stuffed Baked Potato with butter, black pepper, sour cream, bacon and green onion, enough to accompany any hunk of meat. Or try garlic bread made with a French baguette, freshly grated garlic and butter.

On the most romantic day of the year there will also be a special flourless chocolate cake with strawberry jelly shaped in a heart. A perfect way to cap off the meal.

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Can’t make it for Valentine’s Day? Don’t worry. Sumptuous food is always available at The Reef Bar and Market Grill. What makes this spot stand out is the unique way in which meals are selected and prepared. Order from the menu and embark on an interactive culinary adventure on which you grill your own meal.

The Reef, which has an ample salad bar, specializes in Island meat and fish. Select from a variety of options, including local ‘ahi (tuna), rib eye or Kukui Sausage (Portuguese or spicy Italian), as well as vegetarian options such as a “stack” of tofu, cauliflower, zucchini and onion, or corn on the cob smothered in spicy international flavors and garlic butter. From there, choose the seasonings for your meat or veggies and cook your selection under the guidance of the grill master to your desired consistency. Finally, choose from in-house sauces, such as Pineapple Teriyaki or Miso Glaze.

And just as on Valentine’s Day, there are a range of appetizers and desserts to pick from for a romantic dining experience year-round. Try the Baked Goat Cheese with crisp toasted herbed focaccia made for dipping into an angelic basil and sundried tomato pesto with fresh goat cheese. Desserts include the Kona Mocha Chocolate Wedge, a house special chocolate cake and the Upside-Down Pineapple Cake with tropical coconut ice cream.

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The menu at this open-air restaurant is thanks in part to Delia Romano, director of Food and Beverage. She strives to craft dishes that use as many flavorful local ingredients as possible and combines them in ways that are “innovative and memorable.” She always makes sure that the menu is filled with options for people with a range of dietary needs, from vegans to those with certain allergies.

 

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The Reef Bar and Market Grill not only has plenty of tasty items to select from on the menu created by Delia Romano, it offers a sizeable salad bar and other one-of-a-kind interactive dining experiences.

 

Romano has always had a fondness for food but it was her grandma who really drew her into the craft of cuisine. Now she delights in preparing meals for visitors and kama‘a¯ina (Hawai‘i resident) alike at the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, whose dining room opened in 2017.

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“Food is one thing that everybody has an opinion on, which makes it such a great profession to be in,” she says. “To be able to push people to try new things or turn their stance on certain foods is empowering.”

Dine in a casual, charming atmosphere with your loved one on Valentine’s Day, or celebrate each other any other day of the year next to one of the most beautiful shorelines in the world at The Reef Bar and Market Grill.

Call 808-924-7333 or visit reefbarandmarketgrill.com.

Sweet Sensations

Sweet Sensations: Satisfy Sugar-Coated Cravings with these Delicious Desserts

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It’s unlikely you’ve ever had this famous fireside treat in quite the same fashion. Made exclusively for Valentine’s Day, the S’mores Bar is a perfect way to celebrate your love. Savor the incredible layers of sweet graham cracker crust, chocolate brownie, chocolate mousse and torched marshmallow top. Mix the one-of-a-kind s’more with an unbelievable homemade strawberry ice cream that truly pops and is arguably one of the best features of this dish. Share the crisp homemade tuille (French vanilla wafer) shaped as a cup for the ice cream and a heart that sits on top of the s’more to add even more delight to this decoratively crafted dessert. And, of course, the restaurant, located at the Waikiki Beach Marriott, offers an assortment of other goodies year-round for you and your loved one.

 

Mahina & Sun’s

Executive chef Erik Leong has done it again. He’s crafted yet another delicious concoction at the ultra-trendy Mahina & Sun’s, tucked inside the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club. Packing a pretty pleasant punch, the dishes at this Ed Kenney restaurant are centered around fresh ingredients combined with exceptional, flavorful extras. The Salted Caramel Banana Pudding is a prime example. Leong whips up a delectable vanilla pastry cream blended succinctly with fresh, melt-in-your mouth bananas. This bowl of saccharine heaven is accompanied with a homemade double chocolate cookie sprinkled with cacao nibs and drizzled with caramel sauce.

 

Fresco Italian Restaurant

You can’t go wrong ordering one of Italy’s most celebrated desserts at Fresco, a premiere Waikiki Italian restaurant. The eatery, located in one of O‘ahu’s most happening hubs at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, serves a heaping slice of traditional tiramisu with sensational texture and consistency. Tiramisu Hawaiano is precisely crafted with dewy lady finger biscuits, divine mascarpone cream and Kona coffee caramel sauce. To say Fresco’s signature dessert and all its flavors fuse together in an exquisite manner is an understatement. This dish is a lovely conclusion to any meal at this elegant, yet casual, south shore dining establishment.

 

M.A.C. 24-7

Make sure you save room for this delicious delight. Better yet, make it a point to head to this eatery, open 24/7, at the Hilton Waikiki Beach, for the primary purpose of ordering the Donut Split Sundae. Share it with a friend or splurge on this sumptuous dessert by yourself. Just make sure your belly has extra space and forget about calorie counting. Allow your taste buds to enjoy this treat made with a donut that’s fried in-house and piled skyhigh with whip cream and Lappert’s vanilla ice cream. Other luscious additions include chocolate drizzle, chunky Oreo crumbles, cinnamon sugar and a liliko‘i glaze that combine for an even greater confectionary festival.

 

Buho Cocina Y Cantina

Almost too beautiful to eat, Búho’s Caramelized Avocado Brulée is a work of art. This creative dessert was created by culinary master, chef Arturo Silva, who, instead of placing the creamy custard inside a ramekin, tucks it into a sliced avocado. The dessert has a sensational, crisp, caramelized sugar layer that cracks open into a luxurious center. Topped with a scoop of Kona coffee ice cream meant to resemble the avocado’s seed, this extra adds more unparalleled flavor to the unique menu item. While you might not think of avocado as a dessert food it is an ingenious way to add Mexican flair to a traditional French dessert. The pear-shaped fruit adds extra smoothness to this already delightfully velvety treat.

EDIBLE ELEGANCE AT TAORMINA : Fine Sicilian Dining in Waikiki

EDIBLE ELEGANCE AT TAORMINA : Fine Sicilian Dining in Waikiki

 

Chef Hiro Mimura derives great pleasure from cooking. This is evident in his ear-to-ear grin as he tosses spaghetti from a pan in the neatly tucked open kitchen at Taormina Sicilian Cuisine. It’s a weekday afternoon, moments before the nightly crowd descends upon the restaurant, and Mimura appears to love every minute of the hustle — sprinkling basil and other herbs onto his dishes while directing his staff. This devotion to his craft is incorporated into each and every menu item and is the primary reason why this little eatery is the perfect place to bring your amore.

Chef Hiro Mimura

You are bound to impress your date with an evening of ophistication and exquisite Sicilian cuisine at this quaint Waikiki Beach Walk establishment. Not only will Mimura’s food win over your loved one, the atmosphere is a bonus. Sleek, wooden tones and minimalist European rustic décor, designed by Peter Vincent Architects, provide an intimate ambience. Patrons may dine inside under the dim, romantic lights or outside on the patio where cool, tropical breezes accompany the background bustle of the city. No matter what area you dine in, the service is flawless and staff are accommodating, polite and efficient.

The top-notch food, crafted with love, however, is truly the main event. Mimura has done an impeccable job presenting a Southern Sicily menu to the Pacific. Sicilian food is akin to Italian but incorporates other cultural flavors such as Greek and Spanish. Originally from Tokyo, Mimura gained inspiration for this contemporary cuisine with an “old school” Western Europe essence working at Trattoria Marumo in Japan and also from his adventures in Italy. He traveled to the country at the age of 21 and worked at various fine dining rooms as a sous chef in Florence.

 

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Taormina is a modern, European-style restaurant located in the heart of Waikiki. The menu contains a range of speciality dishes crafted with quality ingredients, including Chef Hiro Mimura’s all-time favorite, Pomodoro con burrata. Patrons have the option of sitting inside the quaint, romantic dining room or enjoying a romantic meal outside on the patio.

 

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In 2007, he joined WDI International Inc., and assisted in the opening and creation of Taormina Sicilian Cuisine, one of the company’s many eateries. Three years later, Mimura moved to the Islands and became the restaurant’s executive chef, a position he has held ever since.

Mimura uses only high quality meats and seafood, and blends as many seasonal and local ingredients into his dishes as possible. Entrées and appetizers range from featuring the fresh, local catch of the day to vegetables plucked straight from Hawai‘i farms. All dishes have top-of-the-line flavor and are accompanied with light sauces rather than rich, heavy toppings, so every detailed ingredient stands out.

 

 

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Unique, exquisite flavors flourish in each dish at Taormina. The restaurant also offers an extensive selection of wine from around the world. Bringing a date to this fine dining establishment is a treat for all their senses.

 

Pomodoro con burrata is Mimura’s favorite dish and one that he recommends for any romantic occasion. The spaghetti is steeped with juicy ripe tomato sauce, basil and creamy, semi-soft cheese, and bursts with a fresh, springtime flavor. It is the most popular dish on the menu and also happens to be the first meal Mimura learned to prepare during his time in Italy.

“Very simple, but reminds me of Italian life,” he says of his beloved dish.

 

Chef Hiro Mimura
CHEF HIRO MIMURA has an affinity for Italian food and prior to helping open Taormina, he spent years working as a sous chef in Florence.

 

Among Mimura’s other recommendations for an amorous evening of edibles are the Burrata Caprese for starters. This appetizer is another dish that features the smooth, velvety burrata cheese made with mozzarella and cream. A scoop of the hearty cheese, from the region of Puglia, sits on a bed of spicy arugula, local bright red and yellow cherry tomatoes and is finished off with a light drizzle of balsamic reduction to further enhance the crisp taste.

 

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Main courses in addition to the tastefully uncomplicated pomodoro include Sarde e finochetti, a spaghetti with sautéed sardine, tomato paste, fennel for zest, anchovy, olives and capers for salty finesse and seasoned bread crumbs. Or Bolognese Siciliana, another classic entrée made with spaghetti expertly crafted with homemade beef ragu, blended with spinach and garlic, and spiced with red chili pepper.

 

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As for dessert, Taormina, which was named after a seaside village in Sicily, has a range of gratifying sweets to share with your sweetheart. Try any dessert on the menu, such as a slice of traditional tiramisu or a warm, chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice gelato. Or, order something custom like a parfait made with local seasonal fruits such as pineapple and liliko‘i, housemade coconut jelly and tapioca and paired with dragon fruit sorbet—a combination that will bring joy to your taste buds.

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This cozy spot, open for lunch and dinner, is made even more exceptional by its specialized wine list, created by master sommelier Roberto Viernes. Over 125 selections are offered here, making it one of the most diverse selections of Italian vino in the state.

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All of these factors combine to make Taormina an extraordinary place to take someone near and dear to your heart and spoil them with some of the best Sicilian flavors you will find in Hawai‘i.

Call 808-926-5050 or visit taorminarestaurant.com.

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Soup’er Salad

Soup'er Salad


 

Hawaiian Pho Noodles

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Made with local pork and greens from a third-generation family operation in Hawai‘i Kai, Otsuji Farm, this Hawaiian-style pho noodle bowl makes for great, Island-inspired comfort food. Accompanied with fresh herbs, locally harvested basil and cilantro, and packed with wholesome goodness, this Asian dish is a hefty portion of hearty ingredients that will satiate your belly. A great thing about the restaurant is that it’s open from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., so even if you’re not craving a warm bowl of noodles, there are plenty of other breakfast, lunch and dinner options to choose from.

 

House Salad With Quinoa

Besides a gorgeous view of the ocean and warm salty air to accompany your meal, Kai Market offers fresh, flavorful dishes like House Salad With Quinoa. Local greens are mixed with ingredients such as zesty watermelon radishes and locally grown Kamuela tomatoes, and paired with the sweet pop of papaya and salty punch of feta cheese. The quinoa adds an extra essence to this simple but flavorful salad that’s yummy even without any dressing.

 

Cobb Salad

This mountain of goodness is piled high with all the classic ingredients you’d expect in a hearty Cobb salad—tangy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, fresh mixed greens, shredded cheese and eggs, and the finest gourmet bacon and turkey breast. Choose a traditional blue cheese dressing to accompany your salad or any of the others offered at this New York style deli. In addition to its luxurious salads, this casual restaurant is perfect for families and has menu items for everyone, from pizzas to hamburgers, as well as plenty of local favorites.

 

Crab Ramen With Asian Truffle Broth

Save your appetite for this decadent dish. Served with a heaping portion of melt-in-your-mouth fresh crab, the ramen is perfectly seasoned with cilantro, Thai basil and mild jalapeños. The truffle flavor in the broth gives an extra kick to the combination of ingredients in this warming mixture that’s soothing for the soul. Also, this dish pairs well with the Seared Ahi Salad crafted with delicious locally caught fish and served over a bed of greens lightly drizzled with Sansei’s signature soy sesame vinaigrette.

 

1849 Spicy Ramen

Eating House 1849, located at the International Market Place, is noted for incorporating Hawai‘i’s many cultural flavors. For example, this Asian ramen dish is made in traditional fashion, served with a rich sesame broth, pork belly, dumplings and topped with a soft egg. The things that make eating in Hawai‘i so unique are dining establishments like this one where you can try a combination of Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese and Filipino-style dishes. And if you have a hankering for warm soup during the “chilly” winter eves in Waikiki, then this is your spot for tasty authentic edibles.

Introducing Authentic Japanese Cuisine with Local Flair

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Dishes at ZIGU feature local ingredients, such as fresh seafood from Kaua‘i Shrimp.

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EXPERIENCE JAPANESE FOOD like never before at this brand-new contemporary eatery and sake bar in the heart of Waikiki. The restaurant’s fine cuisine alone is enough to warrant a visit but it’s the atmosphere that’s the delicious icing on this dining experience cake.

Nested inside a historic apartment building that was built in 1939 on land revered by ancient Hawaiians, ZIGU maintains a feeling of yesterday, accompanied with modern-day décor. Earthy wood tones dominate the quaint interior where patrons will find seating at the bar. Those who enjoy fresh air while they dine will be delighted that the majority of seating is offered on the outdoor patio, streamlined with sleek tables in a simple, sophisticated setting.

The interior space at ZIGU is small but comfortable.
The interior space at ZIGU is small but comfortable.

 

Most of the seating at this trendy Waikiki restaurant is located outside.
Most of the seating at this trendy Waikiki restaurant is located outside.

 

Topnotch service can also be expected at this lovely nook, with servers who are highly knowledgeable about the dishes served, and the comfort of their guests. What’s more, at the kitchen’s helm is chef Masaki Nakayama, a culinary expert from Yaizu City, in Japan’s Shizuoka prefecture.

ZIGU almost didn’t have such an accomplished chef as Nakayama’s original intention was to become a jazz musician in America. His family ties to food are what ultimately caused him to gravitate toward making delectable cuisine. Aside from growing up in a commercial fishing port, his grandfather made katsuobushi (the dried, fermented and smoked tuna used to make edibles such as soup bases) for a living. Nakayama learned to craft his own food after graduating high school and was especially drawn to seafood after working at Tsukiji Market, which recently ceased operations after serving as a wholesale fish market for more than eight decades.

Chef Masaki Nakayama runs the show at ZIGU and brings his professional experience to the table with many sensational dishes, such as the Apple Wood Smoked Local Egg Potato Salad (below)
Chef Masaki Nakayama runs the show at ZIGU and brings his professional experience to the table with many sensational dishes, such as the Apple Wood Smoked Local Egg Potato Salad (below)

 

Apple Wood Smoked Local Egg Potato Salad
Apple Wood Smoked Local Egg Potato Salad

 

Nakayama has been a noteworthy presence in the restaurant industry, including working with Michelin-starred chefs. He held positions at several esteemed dining establishments in Japan, where he continued to gain knowledge in its traditional culinary methods. He eventually opened his own restaurant in New York City, Mr. Robata.

Luckily, Nakayama has since brought his seafood and culinary expertise, as well as his passion for fine dining, to the south shore of O‘ahu. ZIGU’s menu is filled with items that will have your mouth ablaze with anticipation. No matter what is ordered, every dish has such an artistic presentation that makes it obvious the staff takes great pride in what they do.

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One of the many outstanding aspects of this restaurant is that every meal is prepared with as many fresh, Hawai‘i-made ingredients as possible. So besides placing an emphasis on Japanese cuisine, the dishes have a tropical flair. For example, a delicious mango cream accompanies the appetizer, Macadamia Nuts\ With Sweet-Soy Sautéed Burdock.

Other dishes at ZIGU that beautifully blend Japanese and Hawaiian fare include the Local Tuna and Kona Amberjack Poke Sushi served with fresh fish sculpturally wrapped with ingredients such as sea asparagus, seaweed and yuzu pepper. Also, Deep-Fried Kaua‘i Shrimp is made with locally grown and harvested crustaceans and paired perfectly with wasabi-basil aioli sauce.

Additionally, you’re unlikely to find dishes from ZIGU anywhere else in Waikiki, including the Apple Wood Smoked Local Egg Potato Salad with crispy potato sticks and Cold Kale Udon with Fried Kale Chips which comes with an exceptional sesame dipping sauce.

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Cocktails also do not disappoint at this one-of-a-kind restaurant and are crafted with as much care as the edibles. Mari’s Garden Shiso and Fresh Berry Shochu Mojito, for instance, is made with fresh strawberries, blueberries and lime, and combined with a smooth shochu, a distilled Japanese beverage made from sweet potatoes, rice or barley. Big Island Ginger Moscow Mule is another drink at ZIGU handmade with the finest homegrown ingredients such as ginger from Hawai‘i Island and locally made vodka.

From vegetables grown on O‘ahu farms, macadamia nuts plucked from Big Island orchards to deep-water fish caught in the Pacific Ocean, the list of local ingredients is impressive. Add to it the exquisite taste of authentic Japanese cuisine and you’ve got a match made in culinary heaven.

ZIGU is located at 413 Seaside Ave. and is open daily for dinner from 4 to 10:30 p.m. The bar remains open from 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Validated parking is available at Hyatt Centric with a purchase of $30 or more. Call 808-212-9252 or visit waikiki.zigu.us for more information.
ZIGU is located at 413 Seaside Ave. and is open daily for dinner from 4 to 10:30 p.m. The bar remains open from 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Validated parking is available at Hyatt Centric with a purchase of $30 or more. Call 808-212-9252 or visit waikiki.zigu.us for more information.

 

Locally Grown KAUA’I SHRIMP

KAUA‘I SHRIMP Global demand for Hawai‘i-grown crustaceans on the rise

Thousands of recently harvested shrimp make their way down a conveyer belt at Kaua‘i Shrimp’s processing facility. The journey eventually lands the crustaceans into the hands of some of the busiest people in Hanapepe, “Kaua‘i’s biggest little town.” The employees sort the robust sea creatures, which are raised at a farm in Kekaha where 20 tons of shrimp reside within 44 1-acre ponds, bound for destinations around the globe, including many restaurants in Waikiki.

“These are our babies,” says processing manager Andy Althouse, as he provides a tour of the refrigerated area of the processing facility where shrimp are plentiful and there is a noticeable method to the hustling and bustling madness.

The shrimp farm in Kekaha. Photo courtesy Kauai Shrimp
The shrimp farm in Kekaha. Photo courtesy Kauai Shrimp

 

There’s been a sharp up-tick in local shellfish sales of late, which keeps the staff at Kaua‘i Shrimp busy meeting the demand.

The business, which is conducted entirely on Kaua‘i, shrimp that are as natural as if you plucked them right out of the ocean. The so called “fruits of the sea” aren’t adulterated with sulfites (what makes people allergic to shrimp), chemicals or processing aids.

Harvest is at 5:30 a.m. on weekdays, after which the shrimp are put through a “chill kill” procedure before being sent to the processing plant a few hours later. There they are graded by size and cuticle hardness, and destined for distribution.

Kaua‘i Shrimp harvests and processes thousands of shrimp each day of operation.
Kaua‘i Shrimp harvests and processes thousands of shrimp each day of operation.

 

The plant can process more than 5,000 shrimp before noon, and by 2 p.m. have them frozen and bound for their eventual destination on someone’s dinner plate. Each week, roughly 16,000 to 17,000 pounds are delivered throughout the state and the Mainland, as well as other countries like Japan. Last month, however, the enterprise reached a new record by distributing more than 20,000 pounds of shrimp in one week.

“Things are really progressing well,” says Althouse. “Everything we make is already sold. As long as we get shrimp into people’s hands, once they try our product, all they want is more.”

According to Althouse, the magic starts at the nearby farming facility, which reopened its doors about a decade ago. Here, the shrimp are raised in salt water sourced from a well that has percolated through the volcanic substrata of Kaua‘i for eons. Kaua‘i Shrimp also cultivates its own algae to make a hospitable environment to sustain life for the shrimp. This domain, coupled with special anchovy-based food products, lends each Kaua‘i Shrimp crustacean its unique, snappy texture.

Restaurants throughout Waikiki serve dishes that feature Kaua‘i Shrimp, including Buho Cantina.
Restaurants throughout Waikiki serve dishes that feature Kaua‘i Shrimp, including Buho Cantina.

 

“Almost like lobster or a rock shrimp,” says Althouse.

The former executive chef prides himself for having used whole animals “tail to snout” when he professionally prepared food. That’s one reason he enjoys working for Kaua‘i Shrimp: the shrimp are sold with heads, shells and tails still intact. This business strategy contributes to sustainable farming and foregoing waste, allowing chefs to use as much of the product as possible.

Leaving the heads on the shrimp also gives buyers a way to determine freshness and whether the shrimp have been mishandled or if the “cold chain” — being frozen and then re-frozen — has been disrupted. Because if any of these things happen, the head turns red. And just like you wouldn’t want to purchase a fish at the market with cloudy eyes and slimy gills, you wouldn’t want to buy shrimp in this condition.

Providing this kind of superior product is another reason why Althouse continues to remain in charge at the processing facility — that, and the business’ focus on aspects like selective breeding and sustainability.

“It was a perfect match for me,” he says.

The employees at Kaua‘i Shrimp’s processing facility in Hanapepe, including Andy Althouse pictured in the middle
The employees at Kaua‘i Shrimp’s processing facility in Hanapepe, including Andy Althouse pictured in the middle

 

Now he gets to work on new projects that include raising and distributing clams and oysters, as well as implementing new traceability and inventory systems. He’s also instrumental in helping the business become one of the top broodstock suppliers on the planet, which means sending “mamas” and “papas” to countries like India, China and Vietnam.

“Aquaculture is going to become more and more important in feeding people on this planet,” says Althouse.

A movement, he adds, that wouldn’t be possible without a team effort.

Visit kauaishrimp.com for more information.