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March 19, 2004, Volume 4 Number 12

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

This has to be the most food-intensive month that I can recall ever having on Guam. Two weekends ago we held the Maila Ya Ta Fan Boka Chamorro Food Competition at the Agana Shopping Center, which I consider a breakthrough event in beginning the establishment of "Chamorro Regional Cuisine." This event was a defining moment for Guam's culinary identity, and the future benefits and impact of this competition will be tremendously exciting for residents and visitors alike. Island chefs have created original recipes based on traditional Chamorro cuisine. (Check out links to one of the winning recipes below and look for more in the weeks to come.) Some of these will begin showing up on restaurant menus and will be sampled internationally during GVB promotions.

On Saturday, there will be a Kaddon Pika contest held by DOE's Chamorro Studies and Special Projects Division at the Tamuning Cost-U-Less. This event will have middle and high school student teams competing in what is called "The Battle of the Hot & Spicy Competition". Later that day, yet another competition, "GPO's Best Kelaguen Contest", will be held at the Guam Premier Outlets.

On Wednesday I attended a Chef's Table put on by Guam Community College's Culinary Arts Students and Cook Apprentices. This five course meal marked the culmination of the first semester of a new Culinary Arts Program that will prepare students for a food service careers, mostly as chefs in our restaurants. Watching these young people work in the kitchens, many for the first time, was edifying, as they were excited about showing off newly-acquired skills that bring professional discipline to their budding passion.

It's thrilling to be a part the dynamic culinary growth that Guam is experiencing. Things will only get better!

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

  • Kelaguen Rules! - Recipes from Maila Ya Ta Fan Boka Kelaguen Contest
  • Around the Island - Secrets Which Will Be Revealed
  • April Blossoms - Schedule These Events Now: PHARE, Girl Scouts, Chef's Cup
  • Lin's Vietnamese Restaurant - Guam's Taste of Vietnam Reborn

Kelaguen Rules! - Recipes from Maila Ya Ta Fan Boka Kelaguen Contest

We were fortunate to obtain a couple of recipes from the recent Chicken Kelaguen contest which was part of the Maila Ya Ta Fan Boka competition. The Kelaguen competition was open to amateurs only but we have to take our hats off to the winning team comprised of students from the GWHS/GCC Tourism program. Team #2 titled their entry "Chicken Kelaguen Chalan Kanton Tasi Style" and it's easy to see why this modern take on a Chamorro standard took first place. For the purists in the crowd, check out the "Traditional Chicken Kelaguen" recipe offered by another team from the GWHS/GCC Tourism program.

Around the Island - Secrets Which Will Be Revealed

Over the past couple of weeks there have been a number of changes, openings and other happenings in the restaurant scene here on Guam. We are currently sworn to secrecy...but will reveal all in due course! Stay tuned for more.

April Blossoms - Schedule These Events Now: PHARE, Girl Scouts, Chef's Cup

April 15, 16 & 17. The Pacific Hotel & Restaurant Expo PHARE and Travel Trade Show 2004 at the Hyatt Regency. This 3-day event showcases the hospitality industry like no other, and will be a great opportunity to see new products, learn about available services and sample foods and beverages. Additionally there will be important industry seminars available for interested parties.

April 23 Hyatt Regency. The Guam Girl Scouts Auction & Wine Tasting marks its seventh year and this event has become one of the island's favorite auction socials. A little known fact is that the local Guam Girl Scout chapter is responsible for raising all of the funds to support its operations. This is done through the annual Christmas Tree Sale, the sale of those famous Girl Scout Cookies and this very important adults-only fund raiser. This year attendees can expect a variety of impressive auction items, raffle prizes and, of course, the fabulous wines and pupus served. Tickets will be available soon!

April 30 Hyatt Regency (is there are trend here, hummm???) The UOG Endowment Foundation's 3rd Annual Chef's Cup. This exciting fund raiser is done in collaboration with the Micronesian Chefs Association (MCA), and will pit defending champion Christophe Durliat, Executive Chef of the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa, against four new Executive Chef competitors. These chef challengers are Michael Bonjourno (Hyatt Regency Guam), Jeff Hill (SandCastle),Tomasso Foi (Outrigger Guam Resort), and Andrew Edwards (Pacific Islands Club). Each competitor will be paired with a local media personality and there are no words to describe the fun this event is - you really just have to come and see. Get your tickets early because they sell out very quickly. We will keep you posted on when they will be available. Don't miss what has become Guam's most prestigious chef competition and fund raiser.

Lin's Vietnamese Restaurant - Guam's Taste of Vietnam Reborn

Lin's Vietnamese Restaurant recently opened across from Hornet Sporting Goods next to Olympia Market in Tamuning. There was not a lot of fanfare to this opening, however I believe that residents in the vicinity are quietly celebrating Lin's putting her prominent sign up along one of Guam's busiest thoroughfares. After all, there aren't any Vietnamese restaurants nearby and, most importantly, the food at Lin's is good...really good.

The owner of Lin's is "Chef" Lieng, who most recently operated the now-closed Nha Trang in Upper Tumon across from Nissan. The old location was not as good as you'd think, since parking was quite difficult which combined with the road construction made access difficult. Lin's has more parking available now in it's smaller parking lot than Nha Trang's had in a larger area. Chef Lieng's experience goes back years, both at Lieng's in the Hafa Adai Exchange and at Lieng's II in Upper Tumon. She has a loyal following who will be pleased to know she'll be cooking up tasty eats at her new home.

Lin's small interior is very clean and well-ventilated. Chef Lieng's two daughters, Marlene and Nina, work as servers, and really bring a special family hospitality and pride to the service experience at Lin's, much as I've found at Mary's and Truong's, two other popular family-operated Vietnamese restaurants.

The menu at Lin's has the typical selection of Vietnamese entrees, with Fried Lumpia (6 pcs), Combination Soup, and Chicken with Lemongrass each for $7. Since so much similarity exists among Vietnamese restaurants, there is no mystery in guessing what the food you order will taste like. This is why people usually order based on their preferences and cravings. We had ours so we ordered Beef with Lemon Grass($8), Chicken Curry ($8), and Shrimp Crispy Noodles ($10) which seemed like more than enough for dinner. We also ordered a lemonade ($1.50) and a French Iced Coffee ($2), which is a rich, enjoyable coffee beverage unique to Lin's.

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Bon Appetit!

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