Thursday, March 17, 2011
Around the world at Kahala
A view from inside the Plumeria Beach House toward the ocean, al fresco tables and musicians.
The Kahala Hotel & Resorts hosted the second of its "Kahala Restaurants Present: Island Heritage Cuisine" in the Plumeria Beach House on March 12, with an international array of appetizers, salads, entrees and desserts in a buffet reflecting the way various cuisines came together to become island favorites.
The selections are forever linked to Hawaii's history of plantation labor, and the Chinese, Filipino, Hawaiian, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese dishes represent the ethnic backgrounds of executive chef Wayne Hirabayashi and his team of chefs. Although the circumstances of our ancestors were trying, what's left is a remarkable food legacy ingrained in our culture.
The amount and array of food offered was so vast that one has to make a tour of the room and come up with a strategy for making the most of the buffet without overdoing it. For me, it meant starting with dishes that I don't see every day, like salt cod-stuffed Portuguese bread and caldo verde, a delicious soup of chorizo, kale and diced potatoes.
I was also tempted by the Philippines section with its old-style prawns sinigang and braised oxtail kare kare. I think a lot of people are still wary about Filipino cuisine so those dishes were barely touched, but they were among the best dishes available that night. Also amazing to me were the amazingly compact Korea bi bim bap, molded musubi style, so the meat and veggie fillings were inside the crisped rice!
"Taro," I said. "What's that?" she asked again.
That's something that doesn't require an explanation for locals.
The next event, taking place 6:30 to 10 p.m. April 9 will be themed "Buns and Dumplings," with another selection of dishes from around the world, with staples of salads, raw bar, cheese tray and desserts. The cost is $75 plus tax and 20 percent gratuity per adult, and $37.50 plus tax and 20 percent gratuity per child age 4 to 12.
Here's what will be on the menu on April 9:
Hot pans: Black truffle gnocchi, chicken and dumplings, monk fish dumplings in consommé, and grilled catch with mochi rice lup cheong dumplings.
Carving station: Prime rib of beef au jus with horseradish buns, roast duck and roast pork with buns, and lemon-bacon roast chicken with rosemary buns.
Desserts: Seasonal whole and sliced fruits, ube and coconut ice cream sandwiches, pineapple turnovers, apricot “ravioli” cookies, blueberry panna cotta, chocolate dobash Cake, haupia cake, strawberry Napoleons, Kona coffee profiteroles, stuffed marshmallows, brownies and blondies, and bun pudding with crème Anglaise.
Desserts available March 12 included the resort's specialty Kahalasadas with lilikoi sugar, and above, Portuguese custard cream, chocolate and matcha green tea torte.