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June 6 , 2003, Volume 3 Number 23

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

We enjoy an abundance of terrific food experiences in our little neighborhood of islands. This was made more evident during my recent visit to Saipan to attend the closing weekend of the Taste of the Marianas Celebration, where I was one of the judges for the Pastry Competition. The event also featured food booths set up restaurants and hotels, where visitors were able to purchase plates of freshly prepared foods. Herman's Modern Bakery had a stall located next to the judge's table, and they were serving a selection of fiesta plates. They had a whole pig turning on a spit over a large drum barbecue pit, just waiting to be cut up and served. The heady aroma of roast pork stirred my taste buds to a near frenzy since I was saving my appetite for the judging! Herman's is also developing a line of sugar-free baked goods using Splenda, a no-calorie sweetener that's suitable for people with diabetes.

It's amazing to be able to hop on an airplane and fly 30 minutes to a place that has so many interesting little restaurants, each with personalities as varied and flavorful as the cuisine they serve. A favorite breakfast destination for locals and frequent travelers to Saipan is El Segundo's, in the Pacific Gardenia Hotel. They have recently launched new breakfast and lunch menus that feature popular Chamorro dishes. Local favorites join an all-star cast of traditional fare ranging from French Toast , Omelettes, Eggs Benedict, and even Grilled Japanese Mackerel. No other restaurant matches El Segundo's with this emphasis on local favorites. I went crazy over their finadene sauce and pleaded with owners, Ron & Mary Ann Sablan, for the recipe, now featured in the local recipe section of If I were to write a guidebook for Food Tourism, it would include a mandatory stop at the Pacific Gardenia! Read more in this week's review!

Ken, "The Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

  • Taste of the Marianas - Pastry Competition's Winners and Contestants
  • Great SPAMô Cook-Off Island Style 1st Preliminary Round Winners
  • Around the Island - Truffles, La Mesa's, Sam Choy's GASP, Shell Coupons
  • Kudos to Bruce Best - A Real Life Hero of the Pacific Islands
  • Spicy Thai Noodle Place - Saipan's Best Kept Thai Secret
  • El Segundo's Restaurant - Great Eats at 'Saipan's Biggest Little Hotel'

Taste of the Marianas - Pastry Competition's Winners and Contestants

Wow! That's what everyone said when they saw the spectacular dessert entries on display at the Pastry Competition May 31 at Saipan's American Memorial Park Fair Grounds. The judging was challenging, due to the superior quality of the entries. The creative presentations were magnificent, reflecting local themes and incorporating local ingredients.

The winning contestants and their entries were:

First Place: Enrique Evangelista, Pacfific Islands Club, Mango-Coconut Cheese Round with Malibu Sauce

Second Place: Marvin Eupena, Aqua Resort Club, Layer Cake with Coconut Pandan Cream

Third Place: Jaques Joly, Hyatt Regency Saipan, Tropical Raindrop

Great SPAMô Cook-Off Island Style 1st Prelim Winners

Winners for the 1st Preliminary Round are:

1st Place : Eric Ihrig - SPAMô Stuffed Chicken Wings

2nd Place: Ruben Mortera - East Meets SPAMô

3rd Place: Ginny Caceres - SPAMô n' Satay

Show up this Saturday June 7, at the Micronesia Mall's Center Court at 2pm to see the next round of contestants battle it out. You may be able to get a taste of some of these unbelievable creations as these recipes are breaking the "SPAMô Barrier"! The winners of these preliminary rounds will compete in next week's final round, with the winner gaining a trip to Austin, Minnesota to tour SPAMô Headquarters, in addition to $1,000 cash.

Around the Island - Truffles, Jeff's, La Mesa, Sam Choy's GASP, Shell Coupons

Truffles Cafe, that purveyor of great salads and an amazing Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing, has closed its doors permanently. It will be missed by numerous 'Ladies Who Lunch' and other loyal customers.

Be sure to take that long leisurely drive south to Jeff's Pirates Cove at Ipan, Talofofo, this Sunday, June 8, for another of Jeff's popular Arts & Crafts Fairs. The fair kicks off at 10 and will feature a live remote broadcast of K57's Travis Coffman from 11am to 1pm. There are plenty of good eats at Jeff's, including Guam's only Greek Menu. The Maritime Museum is chockfull of interesting marine artifacts, curios, and historic information.

La Mesa's is now serving dinner Monday through Friday nights from 5pm-9pm. Other hours remain the same with Lunch offered 11am-2pm Monday to Friday and Dinner only on Saturday night from 6pm-9pm. Don't forget they are now located in Mangilao. 734-TACO.

Sam Choy's and UnderWater World are combining forces to bring your kids an absolutely great summer opportunity G.A.S.P. or Guam Aquarium Summer Program. The sessions will be age specific and include a real "hands-on and feet-in" marine science experience learning about and interacting with the various creatures living in the ocean around Guam. You can register your child beginning May 15 at the UnderWater World Box Office or call Aly at 649-9191 ext. 401 to register by phone. Get all the details by calling Aly at the above number or via email to We wish we could join!

Shell Guam, in conjunction with the Coffee Beanery and Blimpie, is offering discount coupons at which will make your dollars go a bit further. Use the Coffee Beanery coupon to get $1 off any speciality coffee drink, and use the Blimpie coupon to get a Smoothie for only $1.99 (regular price $3.49) when you order one of their tasty sub sandwiches.

Kudos to Bruce Best - A Real Life Hero of the Pacific Islands

Hats off and a big "attaboy" to UOG Research Associate, Bruce Best, who was recently honored with the Citizen of the Year Award at the Annual Honolulu-Pacific Federal Executive Board Meeting in Hawaii. He was commended for his outstanding achievements as the manager for the Western Pacific Pan Pacific Education and Communications Experiment by Satellite system at UOG.

PEACESAT is a public service satellite telecommunications network that links educational institutions, regional organizations, and governments in the Pacific region. During typhoons, Best transmits vital weather information and serves as a conduit between the outer islands and emergency managers, issuing warnings when required. During catastrophes, Best helps coordinate delivery of medicine and food. He is frequently called upon to provide critical coordination between the islands and the U.S. Coast Guard during search and rescue operations.

Best was nominated for the award by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service. I've seen Bruce in action at his Dean's Circle facility on the UOG campus. He's a tall, quiet man, who communicates with a calm and comforting certainty that sends relief to the distressed thousands of miles across the Western Pacific. Bruce is respected, admired, and loved by many, and has created a "family" of contacts via his satellite communications system. He is truly a living legend to many of people who inhabit the outer reaches of our neighboring island nations. Bravo, Bruce Best!

Spicy Thai Noodle Place - Saipan's Best Kept Thai Secret

If you didn't know where to look, you just might miss it! The dark blue sign with the red & yellow letters is shared with the Thailand Food Store. It is on the ocean side of Beach Road going south towards the Pacific Islands Club, in the village of San Antonio on the ground floor of a 2-story building that has a paved parking area for a limited number of cars, but there's more parking along the roadside. Whatever you have to go through to get there, it's worth it, as the Spicy Thai Noodle Place has some of the best home-style Thai Food in the Marianas!

Why is the food so darned good? Well, the small restaurant evolved from the adjoining Thailand Food Store. Thai factory workers who lived in nearby barracks would come over to a kitchen the family used to make meals. It became very popular and expanded its menu to include an impressive collection of Thai favorites.

Among some of the fabulous dishes enjoyed at a recent lunch was a Papaya Salad ($5) that had dried baby anchovies and plenty of mouthwatering slivered papaya with peppers and tomatoes. I also had an excellent Spicy Seafood Salad, that was full of local peppers, cilantro, red onions, green onions,lemongrass, squid, shrimp, and celery ($6.95). A Green Curry with Shrimp delivered all the right spices in a passionate sauce filled with eggplant, red peppers, basil, and onions. I ordered a Phad Kra Praow ($7.95) which was not on the printed menu, but shown in an elaborate picture book filled with Thai Classics. The basil in my Phad Kra Praow was fresh, infusing its unique flavor throughout the minced chicken blended with red peppers, bamboo shoots, garlic, and green onions, then topped with an egg (Thai Style).

I was joined by Arin Greenwood, Saipan correspondent, local attorney and free-lance writer, who ordered Masaman with Tofu. It was another delectable treat, savory and hearty, ideal for vegetarians. Spicy Thai Noodle House has take out, which you can order by calling 235-5326. For great Thai, you can't go wrong with Spicy Thai Noodle House!

El Segundo's Restaurant - Great Eats at "Saipan's Biggest Little Hotel"

A culinary tradition that's become an obsession is eating the Fried Rice Supreme ($6.75) at El Segundo's in the Pacific Gardenia Hotel, "Saipan's Biggest Little Hotel" located in Chalan Kanoa, just south of the Aquarius Towers. During nearly 15 years of travelling to Saipan, I've made it a point to eat this Gardenia specialty, which is juicy char-broiled Portugese sausage, served with special fried rice and topped with two eggs any style. The plate is garnished with an orange wedge and joined by fresh-baked whole wheat toast on a plate that has cantaloupe and giant grapes. The finadene served in a white bowl is so good that I had to keep ladling more over my rice - the taste was addictive! El Segundo's is not only a local favorite, it is internationally known for it's great dishes. The Chef's French Toast is thinly sliced French toast topped with strawberry compote, cream cheese, cereal and streussel topping ($5.50.) I also had Eggs Benedict ($6.75), which was fresh and satisfying. I do prefer a more lemony hollandaise, though.

A new breakfast menu recently introduced has local and Western favorites. How about Canned Tuna with Vegetables ($5.75), or Champorado with Tinala Katni ($5.75), a bowl of rice in cocoa and broiled sun dried beef tapa, served with vinegar sauce? The A-1 Sardines (Local Style $6.25), has sardines in tomato mixed with green and yellow onions, tomato and a little bit of finadene sauce, plus grilled pepper. It is served on a bed of steamed rice, or saibuk-dagu, chotda, or lemai (depending on availability). There are hand rolled Three Egg Omelelttes, Skillets and Scrambles, as well as other local dishes like Charakiles ($5.25, a spicy clam and roasted rice porridge, served with saibuk dagu, chotda or lemai). For heartier appetites, you can have the Pork Chop & Eggs ($7.50) or go south of the border with a Breakfast Burrito ($6.75).

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Bon Appetit!

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