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October 3 , 2003, Volume 3 Number 40


Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

Are you aware of the nutritional value of the food you eat every day? Do you read the nutritional facts on the labels of the packaged or canned foods you buy? Would you be interested in investing in a food analyzer that could give you a real-time read out of the total fat, carbohydrates, fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals of the food you are putting on your plate? Even better, how about a body scanner that can instantly calculate the total calories of the meal you just completed and provide you with aerobic activity options to "burn off" those extra calories? Well, the food analyzer and body scanner are technological innovations that are waiting to be invented. Believe it or not, we do have a fairly good idea of the basic elements involved to analyze and make calculations...you could almost do these by hand (with a calculator or computer assistance!).

What if I gave you a Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip bar weighing 3.1 ozs and told you that it had 7 grams of fat (5 of which were saturated), 33 grams of carbohydrates (30 grams of which were glycerin - considered to be a non-impact carb), 2 grams of sugar, and 35 grams of protein? Do you think this is healthier than a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup? If you know even a little about nutritional values, you'll see that this bar is a fantastic source of protein and energy, and considerably better for you than the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup (although the Reese's Cup "smokes" the protein bar in a candy taste test).

Although it sounds like I'm talking about the science of nutrition, this really has more to do with the law of cause and effect, and what the food you eat and the beverages you drink do to your body. Just ask a dentist about the number of young kids who have serious tooth decay from drinking soda and other sweetened drinks instead of milk or water. I don't need to tell you about the long-term consequences of poor eating habits - an entire medical industry has evolved from this! We all need to pay attention to the foods we eat and how food affects our bodies. Make an effort today to think seriously about this issue - after all, when eating out, you really don't know how the food was processed or the person who prepared it. Yet you eat it without blinking an eye! That's a lot of trust. Think about it.

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

  • Cost-U-Less Harmon To Re-open - Friday, October 3
  • A Food Festival - Hyatt Celebrates 1Oth Anniversary with Culinary Events
  • Benkay Sushi Bar's Annual All-You-Can-Eat Sushi Event - Nikko Hotel
  • Around the Island - King & I Thai, LTB Wine & Cheese, Try Some Place New
  • Josephine's Chamorro Kitchen - Genuine Down-Home Chamorro Cooking

Cost-U-Less Harmon To Re-open - Friday, October 3

Customers of the popular Cost-U-Less Harmon, which has been closed since taking significant damage in Typhoon Pongsona, will have the opportunity to shop in a brand new facility this week. A ribbon-cutting ceremony at 7:30am on Friday, October 3 will mark the re-opening and customers will be welcomed back at 8am. I've not been there yet, however, I have heard about the fabulous improvements that have been made as well as some new services. This new Cost-U-Less is a member of the "next generation" of box discount warehouse stores with improved quality and an increased variety of products for island residents. Congratulations to the Cost-U-Less team on a major step forward!

A Food Festival - Hyatt Celebrates 1Oth Anniversary with Culinary Events

As part of a month-long celebration commemorating 10 years of operation on Guam, Hyatt Regency Guam is launching a series of special culinary events at its three main restaurants, with the first being 'Thai Times- A Food Festival', from October 3-9, at the La Mirenda. With Thai cuisine inspired by "Mama" (a local Thai woman he hired to cook for him while based in Thailand), Executive Chef Michael Bongiorno promises to treat guests to authentic homestyle cooking, just like Mama used to make! Don't miss the chance to try Mama's signature dish, Pla Rad Prik (deep-fried grouper in a spicy chili sauce).

Other culinary events planned are Chef de Cuisine Koichi Kawagoe's 'Tastes of Japan' at Niji from 0ctober 10-16. Chef Kawagoe will create a variety of dishes from various Japanese regional cuisines (and save you a lot of airfare in the process!). And, from October 21-31 Al Dente will host 'Welcome to the Godfather's Kitchen'. Chef Bongiorno will be joined by his true-life "goomba", Frank DiGiacomo, who will serve as guest chef preparing and serving genuine homestyle Italian cuisine - New York City Italian - that is. Little Italy is the neighborhood from where this goomba and his godson shared a lot of food secrets. Great food and fun are par for this course. See you there!

Benkay Sushi Bar's Annual All-You-Can-Eat Sushi Event - Nikko Hotel

Is it really October already?! This is the sushi event you don't want to miss! "If you like sushi, like I like sushi, then Benkay's the place to be!" Only on certain days - Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday - will you be able to make a RESERVATION (call 649-8815) for a seat in Benkay's sushi bar, from 6pm - 10pm. You will not be able to just walk in and expect to get a seat, so PLEASE make reservations. The cost of this event is $35 for adults, and $15 for children ages 5-12. You will be able to feast to your heart's content on a fabulous, high-quality array of popular sushi favorites like Maguro (tuna), Shiromi (white fish), Ika (squid), Ebi (Shrimp), Hoki (clam), Unagi (eel) and more! Don't miss this year's Sushi Fair!

Around the Island - King & I Thai, LTB Wine & Cheese, Try Some Place New

We hadn't been to the King & I Thai Cuisine since we were there in January after the typhoon, so it was a nice reunion with what I consider to be one of Guam's best kept secrets for a great Thai dining experience. Located just off of Ypao Road in Tamuning, on the ground floor of the Polynesian Hotel, this little eatery offers a quiet, well-lit environment with soft Thai music and tasty Thai treats. It has probably the largest menu selection (over 100 items) on island. Big bold letters proclaim that NO MSG is used. We had the Stuffed Thai Chicken Wings to start (awesome!), followed by Chicken Noodle Soup and Red Curry with Chicken. Thai Tea is a showpiece, served in a large goblet which gives an eye-catching display of creamy striations as the milk blends with the ice and shaved coconut...other diners were moved to order one when they saw mine! This is not fast food so be patient..each dish is made to order...take someone you love and spend quality time appreciating each other. A range of vegetarian dishes are served here, and you can ask owner Kim Screeton about diabetes-friendly fare.

Le Tasi Bistro has been offering a very special treat on Tuesday evenings for a few months now and if you haven't been yet then you need to go. Chef Bertrand dazzles with a vast selection of cheese based appetizers and dishes offered in a buffet style from 5:30pm until 7pm. You will be amazed at the variety of exotic cheeses used and enjoy every tasty bite. The cost is $15 per person and includes a glass of the weekly featured wines - additional glasses of wine are $4. Call them at 472-7877 for reservations and information.

Have you fallen into the habit of dining at the same restaurant time after time? Here on Guam there is no excuse for not trying some thing new or rediscovering an old favorite. Use the Restaurant Directory to find a new place or to jog you memory about old favorites - the quickest way is to search by cusine style or location or you can browse through them all alphabetically. And, take a look at the Review Directory to learn more about over 175 of Guam's eateries from new places like Yakitori Japanese Grill, Bari Bari and Sereno's to tried and true favorites like Chuck's Steakhouse, Toh-ka-lin and Nuts & Grains. You'll be glad you did!

Josephine's Chamorro Kitchen - Genuine Down-Home Chamorro Cooking

There are times in life when one returns to a special, familiar place that reminds one of home. Josephine's is just such a place. Located in the Oka Plaza behind Oka PayLess Supermarket, Josephine's Chamorro Kitchen is a quaint, little cafe-style eatery where you get the feeling that you are eating in someone's kitchen, though you don't really see the stove. It's probably because Josephine Cruz walks among the tables chatting with her customers, most of whom are loyal devotees to the excellent local favorites people love to eat at home. The room is cozy, with the tables so close you can pretty much see all the ingredients (and remnants) on the plates of folks across the room. It really adds to the charm of this place - you know the food is appreciably consumed.

For starters, I had to have my all-time favorite, the Keleguen Uhang (shrimp), which is now available in a half-size order for $6, full order priced at $12. Thick, warm home-made tatiyas accompany this ultra-fresh mixture of ground shrimp, lemon, green onions, grated coconut and red pepper. There's something Pavlovian about Josephine's kelaguen, for just the thought of it will get you salivating! She serves Keleguen Manok (chicken) for $4.25 half/$8.50 full, and Kelaguen Guihan (fish) for $4.50 half/$9 full.

I ordered the Chicken Estufao ($8.50) and the Fried Guihan (fish), medium size for $10. The estufao is a popular dish here, with Josephine offering two versions - one is the original that is a stew blend mixing onions, garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper, and a little soy sauce with chicken pieces - lots of chicken that overflows the bowl! The other version is Josephine's own recipe that adds stewed tomatoes to the blend...I had this version during my first review two years ago. The menu (which is posted on a large cork board hanging on the front window, facing inside) also featured another estufao dish, Spareribs Estufao. Items on the menu will change during the week, so it may be wise to call before going if you have a particular craving for one of Josephine's dishes.

Although the Chicken Estufao was delicious, I was awestruck by the side-dish accompaniment, which was Tinon Birenghenas (broiled eggplant w/coconut milk). This is a local delicacy and is best made using the green local eggplant. The outside skin of the eggplant when broiled releases an indescribable grilled flavor that is addictive. Wow!

One of the best things about eating on Guam is the opportunity to enjoy fresh seafood and Josephine's Fried Guihan on this day was a plump parrot fish that was deep fried - the fish went from rainbow to bronzed! The crisp skin gave way to white, flaky chunks of moist meat that I dipped in my white finadene. This entree came with a vinegared tomato & cucumber salad. Both entrees were served with two scoops of steamed white rice.

Other menu items are Kadon Manok ($8.50), Ham Hocks & Mongo Beans ($9), Kadon Oxtail ($9), Meatloaf with Gravy ($8), Kadon Pika ($8.50), Kadon Guihan ($12), H.C. Franks with Tomatoes($8), and Chicken Chalakilis ($8.50). Now, let me tell you about the Chalakilis. I didn't have them, but I talked to my neighbor who was visiting from Saipan as he ate the Chalakilis. These are the original version of the Chalakilis, where you toast the rice and grind it up into the soup broth with the chicken. Man, you should have seen the patient devotion displayed by this fella as he savored each morsel and spoonful! This is something I'll try next time, since I'd not seen them prepared this way (it takes a lot of effort to make this dish, so it is different than the type you see at the Chamorro Village).

Josephine's is open Monday to Friday, from 10:30am - 4:30pm. Be sure to bring cash, as credit cards and personal checks are not accepted. For take-out orders and information, call 647-3205. Come on home to Josephine's, where you will be treated like one of the family as you partake in a genuine Chamorro food fest.

Gof Mannge!

Don't miss this week's features at GuamDiner.com!

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