Thursday, March 17, 2011

Around the world at Kahala

Nadine Kam photos
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.

Prawns sinigang with New Caledonia prawns, tamarind, squash and eggplant.

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!

Oxtail kare kare, and below, shrimp paste that accompanied the Filipino dishes.

It added up to an educational experience for some of the visitors there, like a tourist in the Japan section, who, studying the hasu, kabocha and assorted tsukemono, asked of one item, what's that?

"Taro," I said. "What's that?" she asked again.

That's something that doesn't require an explanation for locals.

A noodle bar allowed diners to pick their own ingredients for a stir-fry.

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.

Hasu, or lotus root, in the Japan section of the buffet.


Here's what will be on the menu on April 9:  

Cold selections: Chinese chicken salad, salmon tofu salad, Waimanalo greens, chopped romaine, tomato mozzarella, domestic and imported cheese platter.

Raw bar: Assorted nigiri sushi; California, spicy ahi, unagi and maki rolls; inari sushi; ahi sashimi; ahi, tako and mussel poke; oysters, crab claws and shrimp on ice.

Buns and dumplings: Vegetable Samosas, fried masa bun with pulled beef cheeks, kalua pig paroshki, duck and mochi rice dumpling with Asian gremolata, imperial scallop soup buns, har gau and vegetarian pot stickers.

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.
Chocolate fans were delighted by jasmine tea-infused pots de creme.

Fixings for halo halo included tapioca pearls, ube, toasted coconut, red beans and cantaloupe.

Fresh fruit was pretty enough to lure those that might normally choose more sinful desserts.

No comments:

Post a Comment