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May 14, 2004, Volume 4 Number 20

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

Jared Roberto made my day! It happened a couple of weeks ago at church when a young boy came up to me after service and asked if I was the "Food Guy." When I told him yes, he said he recognized me from the caricature on my card (which I'd given to him) and then told me that he had studied my review on Joinus Restaurant for his Composition Class at St. Paul's School. Although my head swelled up (a bit more!) from being recognized for my celebrity, I was rewarded and honored in much the same way that educators feel when one of their students gets their message about the value of education and the importance of reading.

I recall a teacher telling me that if only one student in an entire class was inspired by her to become an avid reader, then she felt she had succeeded. I realize that seems like a low criteria and expectation for success; however, she was making a point underscoring the declining academic performance and literacy of students. Young Jared's comments reinforced my will to continue with my passion to write and communicate my food experiences, and it was just nice to know that someone in Jared's generation would find my writing readable and interesting. Thank you, Jared, and thanks to your teacher and your parents! Reading will always provide "food for thought!"

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

  • Hava Java Cafe Re-Opens in New Downtown Haganta Location
  • SandCastle Launches "Magic On Ice" Friday, May 14 - A Really "Cool" Show
  • "A Night at The Oscars" - May 15 Fund Raiser for the Guam Symphony Society
  • Adventures in Bali Part III - Bali Hai Dinner Cruise & Show
  • Around the Island - Nayon Turo Turo Cravings, Joyful Chinese Specials
  • A Quick Look at New Japanese Favorites

Hava Java Cafe Re-Opens in New Downtown Haganta Location

Great news!!! Hava Java Cafe has re-opened after closing their temporary Agana Shopping Center location last December 31. As you might recall, Typhoon Pongsonga, destroyed their original ASC venue in December 2002. Hava Java's new digs are just across the street from BankPacific's headquarters on Aspinall Avenue and just behind the Agana Post Office.

This has been one of the most awaited re-openings in recent memory, mainly because Hava Java's clientele have not been able to get their "Java" fix at other coffee shops around the island. Let me just say that will not be disappointed. All you have to do to understand this is to go see the new place yourself. Once you walk in, you will be embraced by the homey atmosphere that makes coffee-drinking the indescribable pleasure it's meant to be, especially when it's brewed to perfection.

Owner Carol Ragan has done a remarkable job, with the help of sisters Gina and Sam, as well as her staff, in getting this popular coffee house back on its feet. Hava Java's hours are from 6:30am-6:30pm Monday - Saturday, and 8am-5pm on Sundays. Their phone number remains the same, 477-0600.

SandCastle Launches "Magic On Ice" Friday, May 14 - A Really "Cool" Show

There's a new show in town and its said to be really "cool!" "Cool as Ice" is probably a better way to describe this, since SandCastle's 3000 square foot stages has been covered in ice. "Magic On Ice" replaces the Sandcastle's original show, "Fantastique," which was enormously popular reigning as Guam's #1 tourist attraction. SandCastle has brought new talent to the island for the show, including champion figure skaters and dancers for this new show, which launches on Friday, May 14. Headlining the show will be Steve Wheeler, a figure-skating Magician who's performed in Las Vegas as well as on national TV. SandCastle will offer both a Dinner Show at 6pm ($94 adults/$35 children) and a Cocktail Show (9pm, $64 adult/ $25 children.) SandCastle's famous tigers will still be in the show, although they probably won't be wearing skates. The show promises to be phenomenal fun and entertainment for the entire family! For reservations, call 649-7263.

"A Night at The Oscars" - May 15 Fund Raiser for the Guam Symphony Society

The Oscars are coming to Guam! Just as Diana Ross sang, "I Hear A Symphony," so too will you when you attend the Guam Women's Club fund raising event; "A Night at the Oscars." Saturday, May 14, at the Hyatt Regency's Main Ballroom, the Guam Symphony will be performing Oscar award-winning music as well as music from Oscar winning movies spanning several decades of Oscar history. The event starts at 6pm with no-host cocktails, followed by dinner at 7pm. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at Faith Bookstore and China Arts.

Adventures in Bali Part III - Bali Hai Dinner Cruise & Show

One of the memorable events on the recent Media Tour to Bali sponsored by Continental Airlines was the Sunset Dinner Cruise on the Bali Hai II. This 3-hour long harbor cruise is a relaxing way to spend one of your evenings after a day of touring Bali's many land adventures. Bali Hai Cruises is located in Benoa Harbor, and the offices as well as the Harbor facilities are built on reclaimed land. In fact, the bay was originally fringed by shallow mangrove trees and was dredged to accommodate larger vessels.

You are in for a special treat when you arrive on the dock for the Bali Hai Cruise as you are greeted by beautiful Balinese ladies who bedeck each guest with a floral wreath. The Bali Hai II has several decks, two of them fully air-conditioned, as well as an open-air top viewing deck. The main deck is where the International Buffet Dinner is served, as well as the location for the live Cabaret Show. Welcoming cocktails are served to guests upon arrival, and you can either sit in one of the comfortable tables to enjoy the view from the large windows or you can ascend (as we did) to the upper deck to enjoy the freedom of the natural elements.

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Around the Island - Nayon Turo Turo Cravings, Joyful Chinese Specials

Ever been overcome by a craving for a particular kind of food that's so powerful you either remember pregnancy cravings or think you can understand them?y Well, I'm not definitely not pregnant, but my recent experience with craving Filipino food led me to one place that certainly filled my cravings, Nayon Turo Turo, in Tamuning's Hafa Adai Exchange. Although you can select from an impressive range of popular Filipino fast food items at Nayon Turo Turo, I yearned for Tinola - that soulful, flavorful chicken with ginger soup that cures all pains. Nayon Turo Turo's Tinola is made with malungay leaves, which also have curative powers. My next desire was for Chicken Adobo...their version has spices and seasonings that set it apart from others. I also had a beef afritada, which was a stew-like meat and vegetable blend that was yet another home-cooked treasure. As a special soothing treat, I was given a cool container of fresh cantaloupe juice (all of this was "to go") and I had enough food to share a few bites with friend and fellow connoisseur, computer guru Joe B, who relished the tasty vittles I shared. Check out Nayon Turo Turo for awesome, home-style Filipino food.

Joyful Chinese Restaurant in Tumon has great specials that are now featured at by clicking on the Lunch Specials and the Dinner Specials links. Ranked as one of Guam's best Chinese restaurant, Joyful Chinese offers a fresh quality and variety that appeals to visitors and locals alike. You will not be disappointed by their flavorful offerings. Call 649-8108 for reservations and further information.

A Quick Look at New Japanese Favorites

This week I decided to take a look at some of my favorite Japanese reviews over the past few months focusing on some newer or at least newly reopened establishments. Many of you are well aware of my fondness for Japanese cuisine from the very formal Kaiseki dining experience to a simple Yakitori skewer. Without a doubt one of my very favorite Japanese restaurants is Izakaya Katsu which I have reviewed and mentioned numerous times. Another long time favorite is Sakura's Kitchen in Upper Tumon. But, the goal here today is to look at newer places and thus we begin in no particular order!

Sango Japanese Restaurant

This venerable Japanese restaurant in the Guam Reef Hotel was reborn following typhoon devastation and it is better than ever. I always recommend the weekly lunch specials but I was most impressed by The Special Sango Bento Box. It has more ingredients than advertised and the quality and tastiness of each element is surprising. It changes constantly so you are always greeted with a fresh dining experience.

The atmosphere is peaceful, serene and relaxing with gentle Japanese music creating a soft mood. Lunch is served from 11:30am - 1:30pm. Dinner is served nightly from 6pm - 9pm. Tables are convertible for self-cook Shabu-Shabu and Sukiyaki, which are some of Sango's specialties. There is a sushi bar as well. For reservations, you can call 646-6881, ext. 3164. By the way, there is an amazing view of Tumon Bay as well.


The current craze in Japanese restaurants outside of Japan is the Izakaya or pub-style restaurant which Aji-Hey exemplifies. There is a bewildering array of foods served in small portions and designed to compliment beer, sake or shochu. The chalk board which lists the dishes is written in Japanese but you would not go wrong by asking Chef Kanda to serve whatever he recommends - he is also happy to translate for you. Chef Kanda has almost 30 years experience and watching him perform his culinary art is magic in itself to say nothing of the taste treats which appear before you.

Recommended dishes included Sake no Nanban-Zuke (Marinade of Salmon $6) and Hiya-Yakko (Cold Tofu $3) which I earlier described as "...a block of tofu in a pond of a flavorful sesame-seeded sauce..." Many of the radishes, herbs, and plants are home-grown by Kanda-san in order to ensure a quality up to his high standards.

Aji-Hey is located in the strangely shaped building across from the Bank of Guam in Tumon and serves lunch specials Monday thru Saturday, from 11:30am to 2pm, and dinner service from 6pm to 11pm daily. You can call for take-out at 646-5162.

Yakitori Grill

My self avowed passion for Japanese food began in my childhood when we lived in Japan and I fell in love with the yakitori skewers that were abundantly available at many street vendor food stalls. So the arrival of Yakitori Grill on the Guam dining scene was a truly happy day for me. Chef/owner Hiro Igarashi is a man of infinite patience personally turning each skewer with one hand and fanning the charcoals with the other to regulate the temperature.

This is small place located in the Oka Point Plaza and many people order take-out (647-8674) rather than wait. I personally enjoy the time-out afforded by sitting, having a drink and waiting for my favorite Negima (chicken & onions) to arrive. You will not be disappointed by the Yakitori nor by the other items available which include salads, rice balls and complete yakitori dinners with miso soup.

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