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September 17, 2004, Volume 4 Number 38


Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

I don't think anyone of us could have been any prouder than we were at the Thunderbird Air Show and Open House at Andersen Air Force Base last Sunday. The phenomenal aerial acrobatics and precision team flying at dizzying speeds wowed an audience of nearly 30,000 local residents and military who stood entranced during the half hour performance. Guam's blue sky with a blazingly hot sun was the "big screen" for this awesome display of jet choreography, with each segment's routine being announced and underscored by a medley of popular songs which tuned our hearts and minds in sync with these flying heroes. It was a magnificent day to showcase our military's air technology and for local residents to return to this base that has been an integral part of our island's community.

The Open House was kind of a "reverse fiesta", with everyone being invited to go and enjoy the hospitality of our neighbors in blue. American favorites, such as hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, and barbecue, were served at many food booths, along with countless sodas, beer, and iced bottled water. I sampled a few items, including an Italian sausage hot dog and a boneless BBQ Pork Rib Sandwich. However, I was most impressed with a new creation - a Nacho Cheeseburger with Jalapenos, with mustard and green relish. Although this sounds bizarre and would horrify most burger aficionados, it was simply "Pika-cheesy" and fit in with the day's festive spirit.

We look forward to seeing more Open House activities in the future so that we can better appreciate the purpose and commitment of our military forces, whose protection allows us a freedom not found in any other country of the world. God Bless America and God Bless Guahan!

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

  • Grillin' & Chillin' Contest 9/25 - Entry Fee Reduced - Join Now
  • Marriott Cafe Reopens & Expands - Saturday, September 16
  • Oka Pika Deli - New Korean Take-Out Meets Kimchee Needs
  • Around the Island -Mekong Vietnamese Grand Opening, PIC's Bistro Serves
    "Nouveau Chamorro" Lunch Specials, Le Tasi Bistro
  • Chao's Restaurant - Serving Tantalizing Chinese With Ease

Grillin' & Chillin' Contest 9/25 - Entry Fee Reduced - Join Now

Promising to be a fun day for all, the 1st Annual Grillin' & Chillin' Contest will be held on Saturday, Sept 25 at Ypao Beach Park, with gates opening to the public at 4p.m. If you want to compete in this event (there's a $1500 Grand Prize, as well as Gas Grills), there may still be a chance to sign up. Call GHRA at 649-1447. The entry fee has been reduced to $50, which allows you to compete in all 3 categories (Pork, Beef, and Chicken). There will be plenty of food for sale, live entertainment (Soul Vibrations, Fried Bananas, and a special performance by BABA B). The major sponsor of the 1st Annual Grillin' & Chillin' Contest is Budweiser; and other sponsors are 76 & Circle K, GHRA, Triple J, Quality Distributors, GVB, MCA, PDN, Power 98, and FM 105 The Rock. Proceeds from this event will benefit the GCC Culinary Arts Program. Come down and enjoy a variety of barbecued meats prepared by both professional and amateur cooks. This will be one of those "finger lickin' good" experiences. See you there!!

Marriott Cafe Reopens & Expands - Saturday, September 16

The Marriott Cafe located on the 4th Floor of the Guam Marriott Resort will reopen this coming Saturday, September 16. This popular restaurant which features excellent ocean views will be open for lunch and dinner. The Marriott Cafe is primarily a buffet restaurant and, as such, will feature an international noodle buffet for lunch and a more elegant dinner buffet featuring an array of seafood. An a la carte menu is also available for customers looking for something different. Stay tuned for a first-hand report in next week's newsletter.

Oka Pika Deli - New Korean Take-Out Meets Kimchee Needs

Oka Pika Deli has opened in Tamuning's Oka Plaza, just two doors down from Nuts & Grains, and offers a variety of Korean specialties for take-out. There are bento boxes as well as marinated meats such as Kalbi & Bulgogi that can be cooked at home. Some of the kimchees available are Green Onion ($6.99/lb), Cucumber ($3.99/lb.), Small Chinese Cabbage and Cabbage (both $4.99/lb.), Radish ($4.99), Sesame Leaf ($6.99/lb) and Chinese Cabbage Kimchee ($3.99/lb). It's a very clean, surprisingly odor-free environment, where you can also buy health drinks, snack foods, and special Korean liquors. I picked up some Jap Chae, Kimchee, and a soup (Son Kae Tong that had a Cornish game hen stuffed with rice, herbs and veggies) that is said to be good for health and stamina. The Oka Pika Deli is open 10am -10pm. Call 646-5009 for more info.

Around the Island - Mekong Grand Opening, PIC Bistro "Nouveau Chamorro", Le
Tasi Bistro

Mekong Restaurant, formerly Binh Minh, held a Grand Opening celebration on September 14 and served invited guests a variety of dishes to honor the occasion. Stir Fry Noodles, Steamed Fish, Baked Ribs with BBQ Sauce, Fried and Fresh Lumpia, Chicken with Ginger, and Phad Thai, were among the entrees placed on the tables. Live entertainment was provided by that inimitable duet, Mico and Stevie. We all wish Mekong's owner, Chef Rhomona, much success in her new location in Tumon's Blue Lagoon Plaza.

PIC's Bistro offers weekly lunch specials, with some reflecting Guam's culture. Bistro's Chef De Cuisine, Clayton Babas, has created some new dishes based on traditional Chamorro food (we have been calling this "Nouveau Chamorro Cuisine" and "Chamorro Fusion"). Though the menu changes weekly, some of the featured entrees have included Escabeche of Local Reef Fish on Achote Rice with Pickled Cucumbers, Island Style Marinated Ribeye with Finadene Butter and Grilled Eggplant, and Island-style Fried Noodles with Shrimp and Vegetables. These specials are priced $12.95 + sc and include a choice of soup or salad, iced tea or coffee. Clayton's always experimenting with flavor combinations. One recent dish was a Kimchee Crusted Salmon. Sounds yummee! Call 646-9171 for more Bistro info.

Le Tasi Bistro in Anigua's New Marina Hotel enjoys a busy lunch rush and it's no wonder why. Their 3 Course Lunch Menu is $11.50 (no service charge!) and includes a French Pastry or ice cream for dessert. The fresh baked bread baskets that accompany the Soup du Jour or Salad, have sliced French bread, some baked with basil, that's really good (forget that low-carb diet!) Entrees vary each week, but there is almost always Spaghetti Bolognese with Meat Balls on Mondays, a Roast Leg of Lamb or Navarin of Lamb on Tuesdays, Roast Chicken with Roasted Veggies on Wednesdays and Friday features their fabulous Seafood Paella. Every week there is something different so you have to check out the Lunch Specials at GuamDiner.com so you don't miss a favorite dish or a try a new one. Dinners at Le Tasi Bistro are truly romantic and offer diners a special intimacy with a relaxed Euro-themed ambiance. The food - "C'est magnifique!" Call 472-7877 for reservations and information.

Chao's Restaurant - Serving Tantalizing Chinese With Ease

Chao's Restaurant, in Dededo's Daily Plaza, adjacent to the Bank of Hawaii near the Flea Market, offers what everyone is always searching for - good Chinese food priced right. Just ask anyone who's been there - you'll get the same big smile, head nods, and comments praising Chao's food. Chao's is small, almost tiny, with only 4 booths and 3 tables, and though they are open daily 10am - 10 pm, they have already outgrown their capacity during lunch time in the six months they've been open, without any advertising. Chao's owner is a youthful man with an easy smile named Zhang Zi Min, who hails from China's Fujian province. Zhang has 16 years cooking experience, during which time he's honed his skills and perfected his cooking methods. He cooked in Saipan for 10 years before moving to Guam. He was a chef at the Nikko's Toh Lee Chinese Restaurant for a number of years. He has already established a reputation with the local Chinese community. Zhang's wife May, is his partner in the restaurant and manages the front of the house activities. The restaurant is smoke-free, and uses no MSG in any of its soups and vegetable dishes, and will eliminate it entirely from any other dish by request.

Diners can decide on ordering from the hot-line of steam table pans or a la carte, which is what I prefer. I started out with a Roasted Duck & Roasted Pork Combo Appetizer ($8). I think the duck and charsu pork sold themselves since the golden/bronzed meats were displayed on the order counter. Chef Zhang's presentation of the duck and pork was masterful, with the meat sliced precisely and garnished by slivered spring onions. A boonie pepper was carved to look like a budding red flower. The duck was very tender, moist, and came right off the bone. The pork was cooked and flavored perfectly and could be enjoyed with or without the plum sauce that accompanied.

One criteria I have for judging worthy Chinese food is how they cook their Salt & Pepper Shrimp ($10). Of all the Salt & Pepper Shrimp I've had on Guam, Chao's serves the largest size shrimp, and they are split and cooked headless. These are large and meaty, adequately seasoned with salt and pepper, and covered with sliced red chili peppers, green chilis, and white onions. Zhang likes to dress up his entree using fresh vegetables, and he managed to cut the spring onion garnish so thinly that it looked like a grass nest. Although these huge shrimp were totally fried, a couple of them still had veins, which I quickly removed. All in all, Chao's Salt & Pepper Shrimp, were very good, though possibly too big. I'm sure there are customers who are quite happy with their large size.

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Bon Appetit!

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Copyright 2004 Guam Diner