September 10, 2004, Volume 4 Number 37
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
Another Guam Food Guy milestone approaches this Friday September 10, when Jon Anderson, the "voice of Guam" and long time host of the K57 Morning Talk Show, hands over the reins to Ray Gibson, who will be partnering with Patti Arroyo as the new Morning Talk Show Duo. I've worked with Jon for well over four years and am grateful for our continuous collaboration which has provided restaurant and food-related information to listeners throughout the Western Pacific and those who listen to K57's live streaming Internet around the world. It has been a grand ride and I will certainly miss hearing Jon repeat the phrase, "You can get your own copy of the weekly Food Guy newsletter at Guamdiner.com."
It's not been just "all business" with Jon - we've performed on stage in plays ("Arsenic & Old Lace" & "The Music Man"), and have had numerous social interactions as well as many shared meals and restaurant reviews. Jon is a friend and is also considered to be a part of the "Stewart Family", as he has made it a point to meet up with my brother Carl and his family in Houston, where he has done several remote broadcasts, including one that had three past Continental Micronesia presidents attending (Don Breeding, Jim Ream, & Bill Meehan), a first ever event. I hold the utmost admiration, respect, and love for Jon Anderson and wish him all the best as he moves on to management responsibilities at Sorensen Pacific. I look forward to working with friend and another "Stewart" family member, Ray Gibson, who brings a new energy and style to the talk show format, one that promises to entertain and engage listeners every morning for years to come.
Today's review on places to go for Chamorro food was inspired by a dining experience this week while convalescing from a recent injury. I derived sustenance from a bowl of Kadon Manok served at Josephine's Chamorro kitchen. It was while there that I reflected on how many working people look for places to get good Chamorro food during their lunch breaks and other times. Though there are only a few Chamorro restaurants on island, there are many places that serve up Chamorro dishes that I consider palatable and certainly worth recommending! Gof Mannge!
Ken - the "Guam Food Guy"
In Today's Issue:
- Farewell Chef Ronnie Guillermo - PIC Veteran Leaves for Las Vegas
- American Red Cross 2004 Red Ball - Saturday September 11, UOG Fieldhouse
- USAF Thunderbirds Air Show - Sunday September 12, Andersen AFB Open House
- Around the Island - Last Call for Toh-Ka-Lin Buffet, Fiesta Fridays Top o' the Mar, Mongolian BBQ at Grille at Santa Fe
- 1st Annual Budweiser Grillin' & Chillin' Competition - Contestants Wanted!
- Where To Go For Good Chamorro Food - The Guam Food Guy's List
Farewell Chef Ronnie Guillermo - PIC Veteran Leaves for Las Vegas
Chef Ronnie Guillermo, PIC's Sous Chef and long-time culinary maestro with an international reputation, will be leaving Guam for a change of pace when he lands in Las Vegas later this month. A recent farewell party was held in Ronnie's honor that was attended by fellow PIC staff and management, as well as industry friends. Ronnie has been cooking for decades, in fact, he was a chef at the former Guam Continental Hotel (prior to PIC's taking over the property back in the late 70's). Ronnie has won numerous local food competitions with his unique cooking style, and had even won an international competition for Lea & Perrins Steak Sauce, which he used as an ingredient for a sauce creation. We will all miss Ronnie's easy smile and quiet, confident manner. He is one of Guam's best and we wish him well in his future endeavors. We know he'll be back some day, as Guam is in his heart and soul. Thanks to Chef Ronnie for putting his heart and soul into the food he's cooked for us all these years! Adios, Chef Ronnie!
American Red Cross 2004 Red Ball - Saturday September 11, UOG Fieldhouse
In what has grown to become the "Fund-raising Event of the Year", the American Red Cross will be holding "The 2004 RED BALL" this Saturday, from 6:30pm to 12 midnight at the University of Guam Fieldhouse. The truth of the matter is that the Red Ball is so popular it has outgrown its traditional venue, the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa. The good news is that the Hilton will still provide the service and catering to the event, which even includes valet parking. Since formal wear is the attire of the evening, we have been assured that the air-conditioning has been fixed so that attendees will be wined, dined, and entertained in theme-decorated comfort. As is customary, there will be several prizes given, with a Grand Prize of up to $25,000. There will also be surprise entertainment provided by...hey, it's a surprise!! Take the time to remember and honor those who lost and those who gave their lives on September 11, 2001. Tickets are $150 can be purchased at the American Red Cross. Call 472-6217 for more information.
USAF Thunderbirds Air Show - Sunday September 12, Andersen AFB Open House
This Sunday promises to be the perfect time to get energized by the high-flying air maneuvers put on by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. This will be an exciting event the whole family can enjoy, and Andersen Air Force Base will be opening its main gate at 9am to the public, with an Open House starting at 10am and lasting until 4pm. The Thunderbirds will do their thing at 2:30pm. This performance will inspire and lift the spirits of anyone who appreciates fast-flying planes with precision formations. It'll be grand fun! No bags, food or drinks are permitted, and vehicles and individuals will be subject to search. There will be food & beverages provided at the Open House.
Around the Island - Last Call for Toh-Ka-Lin Buffet, Fiesta Fridays Top o' the Mar, Mongolian BBQ at Grille at Santa Fe
What is arguably the best Cantonese lunch buffet on island will come to end this month. The good folks at the Guam Hotel Okura will introduce a new lunch concept starting in October which will feature various set menus. In the meantime, don't forget to enjoy the buffet one last time. Remember it is Tuesdays and Fridays only from 11:30am to 2pm. Call 646-6811 for reservations and information.
If you are an authorized patron with access to the Top o'the Mar, then you can enjoy a first-rate all-you-can eat Chamorro buffet ($7.95) on Fiesta Fridays. I had the opportunity to do this recently and was pleasantly surprised by the selection and genuine flavors. They had Chamorro Sausage Fried Rice, BBQ Chicken, Spinach with Tumeric, Mussels with Coconut Milk, Beef Tinaktak, Kelaguen Uhang (shrimp kelaguen), Local Eggplant with Coconut Milk, Titiyas, and Latiya, along with salads and other desserts. I recall dipping my chicken in a really savory finedene. The lunch lasts from 1100 - 1300. For more info, call 472-4606/07.
The Grille at Santa Fe just launched a Mongolian BBQ on Wednesday Nights. This is a first for the Grille at Santa Fe, but not for the Grille's Executive Chef, Robert "Chef Bob" Branconnier, former Corporate Chef for Sodhexo Marriott, who oversaw the superb Mongolian grilling up at the Top o'the Mar. I've not yet had the opportunity to line up for the Grille at Santa Fe's Mongolian, which I hear is priced at $1.35/oz., but if Chef Bob's managing the cooking, I'm sure you'll get your money's worth. Call 647-8855 for info.
1st Annual Budweiser Grillin' & Chillin' Competition - Contestants Wanted!
Want to win $1,500 cash? Or a new Gas Grill worth $250? You can qualify to win these prizes by signing up and participating in the 1st Annual Budweiser Grillin' & Chillin' Competition on Saturday September 25, at Ypao Beach Park. This event is also sponsored by the Micronesia Chefs' Association, the Guam Hotel & Restaurant Association, The Guam Visitor's Bureau, and South Pacific Petroleum.
Judging will be for three different categories of meats - Baby Back Pork Ribs, Chicken Thighs, and Beef, and all meat will be provided to the contestants at check-in time on the day of the event. The event will open to the public at 4:30 p.m. with entertainment and food sales. There will be an opportunity for the public to sample the grilled meat entries. All contestants are equal, with no distinction between amateur or professional classifications. Each team will consist of a chief cook and up to four assistants. The team entry fee per category is $150.00, $250 for two categories, and $350 to enter all three categories. You have to enter all three to win the Grand Prize of $1500 cash. For more information and to get your application (deadline for submission is September 15) contact the GHRA office at 647-1447. This will be the ultimate island-wide grilling competition, and if you've got your favorite marinade, rub, or bbq sauce, now's your chance to come out and show your stuff!
Where to Go for Good Chamorro Food - The Guam Food Guy's List
If you have a hankering for good Chamorro food and can't wait until the next village fiesta, don't worry, you can get your fix at any number of places, depending on where you live, the time you want to eat, and the kind of Chamorro food you want. Though I've not reviewed every Chamorro (or local) food offering at every restaurant on Guam (or Saipan), I have had some of the best, and the following list has what I consider be amongst the island's better choices, with most offering a few noteworthy island favorites.
Y Kusina Restaurant
below Buddies Billiards, Tamuning
Y Kusina is a owned and operated by the Cepeda clan, and should be on the top of your list because they are the best. Open only for lunch, Y Kusina's known for their Kelaguen Uhang (Shrimp Kelaguen $8), which is served with fried corn titiyas. This unique combination is truly food for the gods, unless of course you can't eat shrimp. Not to worry, they have Clam Kelaguen on their appetizer menu, and could make up some Chicken Kelaguen as well. Their Tinala Katne (Dried Beef) is quite flavorful and when dipped in their finadene sauces, wow! Some locals go here for Finadene Satdinas (sardines in soybean oil or tomato sauce), or Chorizos PakPak considered Chamorro fast food $6). Daily specials include Kadon Manok, Kadon Katne, and Kadon Pika (Mondays); Ham Hocks with Mongo Beans (Tuesday); Baked Chicken with Chamorro Stuffing (Wednesday); Chicken Chalakiles (Thursday); and Fried Parrotfish or Grilled Mahimahi (Friday). Prices range from $6.50 - $9. Desserts are legend here, and I had them bake up a fabulous Coconut Pecan Dream Cake for me with fresh Mississippi Pecans! Y Kusina's home-cooked meals are memorable experiences you'll want to return for over & over again.
Josephine's Chamorro Kitchen
Oka Arcade, Tamuning
This is where I had that inspiring Kadon Manok (Chicken Soup, $9), that had a rich savory broth filled with tender chicken pieces that slipped off the bones, along with Chinese cabbage. Josephine's is the god-mother of today's Chamorro restaurants, and has a daily menu to satisfy most, if not all, of a local's craving for home-cooked meals. Chicken Estufao ($9), Ham Hocks & Mongo Beans, Kadon Oxtail, Spareribs Estufao, Kadon Pika (Spicy Chicken), Fried Guihan (fish), Kelaguen Uhang (Shrimp) and Kelaguen Guihan (fish), Fried Pork Chops, H.C. Franks with Tomatoes, and Meatloaf with Gravy. Josephine's is a small eatery and only open from 10am to 4pm, Monday-Friday.
Jeff's Pirate's Cove
It's certainly a destination worth the drive, with more than just a great bar and good food, Jeff's also has a seaside maritime museum, gift shop, and spectacular view from a beach front setting. Although Jeff's is not a Chamorro restaurant per se, they have excellent Marlin Kelaguen, Chicken Kelaguen, and Scallop Kelaguen (when available). You can even have these kelaguens in a salad. Jeff's Chamoru Fiesta Plate has BBQ chicken and ribs, as well as Red Rice, Kelaguen, and Titiyas. Jeff's is the only place in the universe where you can get good Chamoru food along with a Lamb Gyros or Greek Salad! How's that for exclusivity? Jeff's is open daily and closes at 6pm.
King's Restaurant Lunch Specials
GPO, Tamuning 646-5930
Compadres Mall, Harmon 637-1700
Served Monday - Friday from 11am until they're gone, King's offers several local favorites that are pretty decent for a large, full-service menu restaurant. They serve a Ham Hocks with Mongo Beans ($6.75), Beef Shank Soup ($6.75), Kadon Pika ($6.75)and BBQ Short Ribs ($7.99). The Kadon Pika is certainly spicy, hot, and flavorful, however, they are made using chicken thighs, which are much easier to eat than the traditional old hens that are tough on the jaws. King's has targeted it's clientele with accuracy since they always run out of their local lunch specials. Must be good eating!
Planet Hollywood's Chamorro Special Menu
DFS Galleria, Tumon
Yes, you can get a wonderful sampling of popular Chamorro dishes at Tumon's Planet Hollywood. For $5 you can start off with a "Chesa" (appetizer) of Kelaguen Mannok( described as "a delicious blend of chopped barbecue chicken mixed with lemon juice, local peppers and onions. Served with flour tortillas"). There are four main entrees from which to choose, and including Mahi Mahi Eskabeche ($14.95), Kadon Pika ($12.95), Estufao Katne ($12.95), which is also known as beef adobo, and Tinaktak, ($10.95), described as "ground beef stewed with string beans and mixed with coconut milk. Tinaktak is a terrific comfort food, which you should try whenever it's offered. Planet Hollywood's Chamorro Special Menu ends with a great "Fina'mames" (dessert), which is an island favorite - Latiya - sponge cake topped with homemade custard and cinnamon, and served with fresh local fruit for $6.25. For $22.50 you can get a 3-course set menu with starter, choice of entree, and dessert.
Tumon Golf Driving Range, Upper Tumon
Mulligan's is not a Chamorro restaurant either, but they do have one awesome Chamorro Chop Steak (using oyster sauce) that's listed as one of their lunch specials ($7.95), which includes an all-you-can-eat salad bar that has chicken kelaguen and delicious poki, soup, salad ingredients, and a drink. Yes, you can get Fried Tilapia too with finadene and steamed rice. If that ain't local, I don't know what else is!
Merizo Pier, Malesso
Ann's is not out of the way if you are going around the island. Shrimp and Fish Kelaguen are $4, and they offer a Chicken Chop Steak ($8), and Beef Chop Steak ($9). I've had their Deep Fried Parrot Fish, available in 3 sizes: Small ($8), Medium ($10) and Large ($13). It is a tasty meal along with a refreshing beer or glass of wine and a view of the Cocos Lagoon from their deck.
Giant Lobster & Steak
Between Subway and Grand Hotel, Tumon
At first glance, you would not think that Giant Lobster would be a good place for Chamorro food, but the reality is that it is Tumon's only "jungle barbecue" experience, complete with tiki torches and a garden deck wherein you can self-cook your own barbecue. They do have marinated chicken and ribs, that you can eat with red rice and dip in finedene. They have a really good chicken kelaguen with tortillas as part of their local BBQ Special ($24.00, after 20% discount). This special has New York Steak, along with the chicken and ribs (meaty baby backs), corn on the cob, salad bar, and ice cream. Other dishes include great seafood (Alaska King Crab) and Maine Lobster. Open only for dinner, starting from 4pm-10pm daily.
Chamorro Village & Wednesday Night Market
This is the place to get a wide selection of Chamorro BBQ Plates and fast food. During the day at lunch time, you can stop at Hafa Na'mu, owned by Toni Quintanilla, who also sells great Empanadas, and Pastit (pumpkin turnover) for $1 each,and Chicken Chalakiles (a savory, thick rice & chicken soup). Pearl's Fast Food is just down the hall, and they also sell plate meals. One of their specials was Lechon Koali (fried pork) that I found pretty tasty when I added Mama Sita's Lechon Sauce. Another popular stall is Kusinan Ari, which on Wednesday nights have long lines in spite of everyone else & their neighbor cooking barbecue pork, chicken, and beef short ribs and skewered meat. Chamorro Village, especially on Wednesday, is more of an exciting adventure tour for shopping and dining. The weekday stalls simply serve plated fast food, usually 1 to 3 choices, from $4.50 to $7.50.
There are other places that serve different local dishes such as some of the popular hotel buffet offerings. You won't go wrong during Chamorro month (March) when any of these promote local specials. Be sure to look at the menus for local dishes such as appetizers and entrees, as more of these will be offered for residents and visitors alike. All of the major hotels, including the Hilton, PIC, Westin, Outrigger, Hyatt, Holiday Inn, Nikko, Guam Plaza, Reef and Palace Hotel have local promotions where you can get a selection of Chamorro favorites including kelaguens, barbecued meats, red rice, titiyas and desserts. People on Guam have their own favorite dishes, prepared with pride, and certainly great to eat! Everyone who has ever lived on Guam has always loved the food here. The food is terrific!
Don't miss this week's features at GuamDiner.com!
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