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October 15, 2004, Volume 4 Number 42

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

If you've been following our newsletter over the years, then you'll recall how I've made predictions about the number of new restaurants that are popping up around the island. I've sometimes put the figure between 10 - 15 during the course of a year, and there usually are about that many that open their doors.

Some of these "doors" that open are from old "doors" that have closed. Although it's sad to see a few special places go out of business, such as King & I Thai Cuisine, Catcrea Cafe & Deli, Bin Minh, Thuy's, Tengu, Ambassador Chinese, and Yigo's Island Grill, it is wonderful to watch new eateries replace them. The bottom line is that change is a good thing, and local residents and visitors have more and better dining options as a result. Today's review of Din Tai Fong Dim Sum Restaurant is the perfect example of a new restaurant coming on the scene that finally satisfies Guam's need for a place to get good dim sum.

As I've said, change is a good thing, and for me personally, I will be making a "big" change from my regular, established Guam Food Guy review on K-57's Friday morning talk show by moving to "THE BIG SHOW" with Travis Coffman on Friday afternoons, shortly after the 3:30pm news report. This should allow more time to talk about food with that great fellow food lover, Travis. I also look forward to working with Frances Recheungel, his producer, who, along with Travis, have won the admiration of a group of Guam Girl Scouts who were given a station tour this past week. Due to this new broadcast schedule, look for our weekly newsletter to arrive in your email early in the morning on Fridays instead of late afternoon on Thursdays. Stay tuned for more exciting changes as we move forward to bigger and better things!

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

  • Pastries in Paradise - Saturday, October 16, Hilton Guam Resort & Spa
  • Congratulations to Newly-elected MCA Officers and Board Members
  • SandCastle Silent Auction & Happy Hour Honors Chef Jeff Hill Oct 21
  • Bali Chef Heinz von Holzen Completes Simpson Desert Cycling Challenge
  • Around the Island - Joinus Bar & Lounge Friday Happy Hour, Blue Lagoon Plaza's New Restaurants
  • Din Tai Fong Dim Sum Restaurant - Savory Food That'll Touch Your Heart

Pastries in Paradise - Saturday, October 16, Hilton Guam Resort & Spa

Pastries In Paradise, the sweetest event of the year kicks off at 6pm this Saturday at the Hilton Resort & Spa. This is a fund-raising event for the Lend-A-Hand Charity and will be held in the Marianas Ballroom until 10 pm. Tickets are $20/person and entitle you to indulge in all the desserts and beverages you can sample. There are two competitions, the Judges' Cup and the Bailey's Irish Cream Dessert Challenge, with the public invited to participate by voting for the Peoples Choice Awards. Below are lists of participants in both competitions:

Judges' Cup Participants

Roxanne Lee, China Wok
Nobukazu Takada, Guam Hotel Okura
Sang Jung, Hilton Guam Resort & Spa
Sean Tweten, Holiday Inn Resort Guam
Kozo Usuda, Hotel Nikko Guam
Jun Leal, LSG Sky Chefs
Ryan Chiguina, Ohana Bayview
Thomas Fois, Outrigger Guam Resort
Chito Iglopas, Planet Hollywood
Peter Duenas, Sam Choy's Restaurant

Bailey's Irish Cream Dessert Challenge Participants

Roxanne Lee, China Wok
Takuhiko Kishimoto, Nana's Cafe
Nobukazu Takada, Guam Hotel Okura
Robert Rhoden, Hilton Guam Resort & Spa
Sean Tweten, Holiday Inn Resort Guam
Kozo Usuda, Hotel Nikko Guam
Suharto, Hyatt Regency Guam
Ryan Chiguina, Ohana Bayview
Thomas Fois, Outrigger Guam Resort
Chito Igoplas, Planet Hollywood
Peter Duenas, Sam Choy's Restaurant

Tickets are available at the Pacific Daily News and The Guam Hotel & Restaurant Association.

Congratulations to Newly-elected MCA Officers and Board Members

A new slate of officers and directors were elected this past Tuesday night to lead the Micronesian Chefs' Association for fiscal year 2005.

Elected to office were:

President: Bob Branconnier, Executive Chef, Hotel Santa Fe/Halo Halo Grill(owner)
Vice-President: Hermann Grossbichler, Executive Chef, Hyatt Regency Guam
Treasurer: Barry Mead, GCC
Secretary: Arlene Taitague, Quality Distributors
Chef Directors:
Jhamnong Kraitong, Westin Resort
Andrew Edwards, Executive Chef, Pacific Islands Club
Kevin Dietrich, GCC
Kotwal Singh, Executive Chef, Hard Rock Cafe Micronesia
Allied Directors:
Gordon Mizusawa, Global Laundry
Jojo Santo Tomas, PDN
Jim Herbert, Triple J
Dio Sapinosa, Cost U Less

Congratulations to the new officers and thanks to the previous board and officers for FY 2004 for completing another great year for the MCA, whose membership continues to grow.

SandCastle Silent Auction & Happy Hour Honors Chef Jeff Hill Oct 21

The Micronesian Chefs' Association and the SandCastle will be presenting "A Tribute to Chef Jeff Hill" at the Manhattan Bar at the SandCastle Entertainment Complex on Thursday, October 21, at 6pm. A Silent Auction will be held, with proceeds from the bid collections as well as from all beverages sold going to the Jeff Hilgenberg Culinary Scholarship Fund. If you would like to donate a gift certificate or something of value for the Silent Auction, please contact Mr. Ray Visan, at 649-7263 Ext 119, or Tasha Chargualaf at Ext 207. As usual, there will be a two drink minimum. This will be a very special event where attendees will celebrate life and reminisce over many happy times shared with Chef Jeff.

A memorial service for Jeff Hill will be held earlier on Thursday, from 10am until 12 noon at the Kantan Tasi function area, beachside at the Outrigger Guam Resort.

Bali Chef Heinz von Holzen Completes Simpson Desert Cycling Challenge

We have just received word from our good friend at the Bumbu Bali Restaurant and Cooking School, Heinz von Holzen, of his recent completion of the Simpson Desert Cycling Challenge in Australia, where he placed 10th place overall, as well as first place in his age. Congratulations! For those of you who have seen Heinz, he is extremely lean from year-long training for this grueling competition with 32 enthusiastic cyclists crossing 510km of an extremely hostile desert terrain. The event started on September 28 and lasted for five days.

Heinz describes the experience as "so hard and bad that most likely I will once again participate next year...Just do not ask me why." He also had the following inspirational words to share: "One thing became very clear during the race, that there is nothing impossible on this planet and as long as one's mind is focused and determined, then any achievement is possible."

For more information on this event, go to this Simpson Desert Cycle site.

Around the Island - Joinus Bar & Lounge Friday Happy Hour, Blue Lagoon Plaza's New Restaurants

If you'd like to try something different, consider going to the Joinus Bar Lounge for Happy Hour from 5:30 - 9:30 p.m., Monday - Saturday, where for a $10 cover charge you get 2 drinks and all-you-can-eat pupus prepared by Chef Nakamura. On Friday Nights, however, you can listen to a selection of contemporary, easy listening jazz/fusion sounds spun by DJ Entertainment. I was there last Friday and given a preview of what I believe to be an excellent format for folks who don't want to hear the same old hip hop songs played by radio stations all day. At Joinus, located on the 1st Floor of the Tumon Sands Plaza, you'll find an oasis - a breath of fresh air, where you can sit back in a comfortable, cozy chair and have conversations you can hear without being "blasted" by loud music. This place should become quite popular once the word is out about the music format and the ambiance of this room.

Tumon's Blue Lagoon Plaza has two new restaurants that have just opened. One is a cozy sushi bar/izakaya called Samurai Washin Restaurant, which is located adjacent to Sushi Tairyo. The other restaurant is Aji Ichi Restaurant, which is much larger and has daily special bento boxes along with the same menu from Upper Tumon's Aji Ichi. The new eatery also features live entertainment. The Blue Lagoon Plaza has really come a long way, and has seven restaurants, four of which we've reviewed (Sushi Tairyo, Bari Bari, Wagaya 88, and Trattoria You Italian). Mekong Vietnamese is the other restaurant in this charming little complex located across the street from Stanlee's.

Din Tai Fong Dim Sum Restaurant - Savory Food That'll Touch Your Heart

For dim sum aficionados, the opening of Din Tai Fong Dim Sum Restaurant is truly "manna from Heaven", as residents will finally have a place to feast on the dim sum favorites they have missed since the closing of the Pacific Star's Lotus Garden Chinese Restaurant a few years ago. Dim sum literally translates as "touch your heart", and there is a family of nearly twenty dim sum dumplings, steamed dishes, and other popular items such as Sesame Balls awaiting you at this new eatery located just south of Pacific Place and across San Vitores from the Westin Resort, in the same building housing the Kiyo Sato Japanese Restaurant and 7-Eleven. Din Tai Fong is in the same location as the former Ambassador Restaurant.

Dim Sum is a traditional Chinese cuisine that was originally part of a Cantonese custom called "yum cha" (drinking tea), with a variety of dumplings and appetizers being served with tea to weary farmers and travelers at local teahouses. Although dim sum is popular throughout China, Hong Kong is acknowledged by most to have the best dim sum chefs, with many restaurants there opening up as early as 6:30am to serve dim sum.

Although Din Tai Fong serves a fairly complete menu of Chinese foods ranging from Walnut Shrimp, live crabs and fish, Peking Duck, Ma Po Tofu, and Kang Kong, I focused entirely on the dim sum experience, and joined a restaurant filled with other ecstatic diners who have been coming to Din Tai Fong, with many making repeat visits.

After sitting at my table and perusing the menu, I finally decided to order - I wanted everything!! However, since I was alone, reason compelled me to limit my selection to the following items: Shrimp Shiu Mai ($3 for a basket of 4), Shrimp Dumpling (Har Gao, $3 and one of my favorites), Spareribs with Black Bean Sauce ($3), Chicken Feet-Wrapper Dumpling ($3), Din Tai Fong Pork Dumpling ($3), Radish Rice Cake ($3.50), Beef in Rice Noodle Roll ($4.00), Crystal Dumpling with Meat and Chive ($4), and Sesame Ball ($3 for 3). A pot of Jasmine Tea was my beverage of choice, which is the ideal companion for a dim sum feast since it both aids digestion and cleanses the palate.

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Bon Appetit!

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