October 22, 2004, Volume 4 Number 43
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
I love food. There, I've said it. How about you? How do you feel about food? Do you see yourself as adventurous when it comes to trying new dishes? Do you like liver? Do you like your steaks well done or do you prefer medium rare? Do you like sashimi? How do you feel about shrimp paste, or fish sauce? When was the first time you tried wasabi? How do you like your pizza crust - thin, hand-tossed, or thick 'n chewy? Do you like tofu? How about dim sum?
There are more questions about food and people's taste preferences than we have time or space to list, however, one thing is certain. Never before have people on Guam had so many food choices available to them. If you want Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Filipino, Italian, and American, you'll have more restaurants to eat at than if you chose French, Mexican, Indian, and Chamorro. Oddly enough, though we are surrounded by ocean, we still don't have any great seafood restaurants. Yes, you can order fish on many menus, but there is not one restaurant that you can always count on for having a great seafood-based menu, with such goodies as fresh oysters, scallops, crab, prawns, squid, octopus, mussels, lobster, salmon, opakapaka, swordfish, mahi mahi, grouper, flounder, orange roughy, halibut, red snapper, yellowfin, sea bream, and lapu lapu. Though we may not have the perfect seafood restaurant, we do have some pretty good seafood buffet spreads at some of the larger hotels, such as the Islander Terrace, La Mirenda, La Brasserie, and the Marriott Cafe. Most restaurants also have seafood items on their menu or feature seafood specials.
This week's review of Mekong Viet-Thai Restaurant showcases the growing trend of having more ethnic food choices on breakfast menus. For a limited time (until December 31, 2004), Mekong is offering a $3 breakfast special featuring 15 popular Viet-Thai favorites.
Finally, we can all breathe a sigh of relief as Typhoon Nock-ten got "knocked out" before inflicting any serious damage to our island. There remains some hazardous surf, so let's play it safe until things calm down. In the meantime, go out and eat!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
In Today's Issue:
- Pastries In Paradise - Sam Choy's Peter Duenas Sweeps Top Honors
- Roy Yamaguchi Presents New Menu & Offers Cooking Class on Saturday Oct 23
- Chef Jeff Hill Memorial Services & Fund-raiser Postponed to Thursday Oct 28
- Around the Island - Sabai Dee Thai Restaurant, Uncle Bob's, Jamaican Grill
- Mekong Viet-Thai Restaurant - Breakfast Menu Is A Real Meal Deal
Pastries In Paradise - Sam Choy's Peter Duenas Sweeps Top Honors
Kudos to Sam Choy's Executive Chef Peter Duenas (left to right: Dave Tydingco, Roland Boudreau, Chef Peter and Jason Sakazaki) who took top honors at last week's Pastries In Paradise Event held at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa. Chef Peter won the Bailey's Dessert Challenge with his "Bailey's Irish Cream & Peanut Butter Parfait". This honor included a $500 prize and his recipe will be included in a Bailey's dessert book. Chef Petter successfully defended his title for the top spot in the Judges' Cup Award, winning with his heavenly confectionery triumvirate, "Trio of Coconut Paradise", which had the following three incredible elements: Coconut Cream-Filled Crepes with Caramelized Banana, Caramel-Coconut Flan, and Snow Flake Coconut Candy in a Coconut Shell. So, what's Peter's secret for winning? How about "jet lag"....since he has won both this year and last year just a day after returning from off-island trips! (Check out his recipe for Monkey Rolls here - this guy is good with desserts.)
Congrats to all the other competing chefs and bakers for their excellent creations. It was truly one of the sweetest nights of the year!
Roy Yamaguchi Presents New Menu & Offers Cooking Class on Saturday Oct 23
World-renowned Chef Roy Yamaguchi is once again gracing our island to present some of his new menu offerings at Roy's this weekend. Roy's Special Set Menu will be served Thursday, October 21 - Sunday, October 24, from 6 - 10pm, and is priced at $50 per adult plus sc (Diamond Club & Military Discounts are available).
On Saturday, October 23 Roy will be conducting a Cooking Class from 11:30am to 2pm. The class fee is $55 inclusive ($50 for Diamond Club Members). Lunch and wine will be served. Seating is limited, so you need to reserve a seat as soon as possible by calling 646-DINE (3463) or email FB.email@example.com. Don't miss this special opportunity to observe and learn directly from Chef Roy how to prepare his extraordinary cuisine. All this happens at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa.
Chef Jeff Hill Memorial Services & Fund-raiser Postponed to Thursday Oct 28
The Memorial Service for SandCastle Executive Chef Jeff Hill has been postponed to Thursday, October 28, from 10am - 12 noon, at the Kanton Tasi, located beach side at the Outrigger Guam Resort. A Tribute to Chef Jeff Hill has also been postponed to next Thursday evening, at the Manhattan Bar in the SandCastle Entertainment Complex. This event starts at 6pm and will feature a Silent Auction, with proceeds from the Happy Hour and the Auction going toward the Jeff Hilgenberg Culinary Scholarship Fund. The Manhattan's customary two drink minimum entitles you to a quality buffet. If you have any gift certificates or items you'd like to donate for the Silent Auction, please call 649-7263, ext 201.
Around the Island - Sabai Dee Thai Restaurant, Uncle Bob's, Jamaican Grill
I don't know about you, but I love Fried Chicken Gizzards. I was urged by Sabai Dee's Chef/Owner Tim Palacios to try her fried gizzards, which she said were the best. I was certainly impressed by the portion size and crispiness of Sabai Dee's appetizer, which is priced at $6. On yet another visit I tried Sabai Dee's Dried Beef, which I also thought they really did well. Though not as smoky as Y Kusina's Katne, Sabai Dee's is dried and fried, and is the perfect chaser. Along with her superb Thai line-up, these two popular appetizers have given Chef Tim bragging rights. If you'd like to try a new cocktail, ask partner Rose Wood for a Mangjack. You'll be pleasantly surprised by this special creation, inspired by our good friend Tad M.
Uncle Bob's new Anigua location is open for business and from what I've heard, doing quite well with their lunch buffet. I've not tried it yet, but if it's anything like the excellent brisket I tasted the other day during a short visit, I can see why many folks are giving Bob the two thumbs up. The brisket is also used in the Philly Steak Sandwich (that's gotta be awesome!). Though not on their menu yet, I was given a preview sampling of Bob's Steak Fajitas. When you combine them with all the fixin's (including a zesty salsa verde), you've got yourself a winner! I'm in training right now for the big night when I try to take on Uncle Bob's humongous steaks! Stay tuned.
We are all eagerly awaiting the opening of Jamaican Grill's Tumon location in the Carl Rose Building across from P.I.C. Their trademark colors and logo have already become a part of the new San Vitores landscape, which you can now see at the construction site. The purple canopy and corrugated wrap-around shanty hut facade promise an exciting, attractive, and iconic culinary treat. Ya mon, serious food!
Mekong Viet-Thai Restaurant - Breakfast Menu Is A Real Meal Deal
The Mekong Viet-Thai Restaurant, located in Tumon's Blue Lagoon Plaza, directly across the street from Stanlee's, is serving what I believe to be the best breakfast value meals on the island, particularly if you like Asian cuisine. Opened for just two months, Mekong is promoting their $3 breakfast special, 7 days a week, from 6am - 11am, which includes 15 menu items.
Unlike Western breakfasts, many Asians begin their day with soup, and Mekong's personable owner, Chef Rhomona, who previously operated Binh Minh for 7 years, clearly has targeted the local working population who want value-priced alternatives to an Egg McMuffin or Spam 'n Eggs, but in the Asian tradition. Mekong appeals to several regional cultures by offering such treats at Xiu Bao (Chicken or Pork Shio Pao), Arroz Caldo (Shrimp, Beef, Chicken & Crab), Won Ton Soup, Crab Noodle Soup, Hot & Spicy Noodle Soup, Mekong Fried Eggs (Brown Eggs & French Bread), Beef Cold Noodles, Special Pork Chop, Mekong Sandwich, and, of course, Pho - is there anyone who doesn't know that this wonderfully savory beef soup is the unofficial Vietnamese national dish?
Mekong is a spacious, multi-colored, and brightly lit restaurant, with natural daylight beaming in from large windows on the side and front. It is also clean and well ventilated, so that there is no greasy odor you usually get from a lot of Vietnamese restaurants that serve tons of Guam's favorite fried lumpia. There is an elevated smoking section. Running down the floor is a painted representation of the Mekong River, with the names of cities and countries that are touched by this magnificent river which originates in China. Saigon, Phnom Penh, Kamponcham, and Bangkok are recognizable cities from the bordering Asian nations of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. All have the Mekong in common, thus the name for this restaurant. The painted river divides the restaurant into Vietnam and Thailand, with each table having either a Vietnamese or Thai name instead of a number.
I decided to order Pho, a Mekong Sandwich, and Hot Wings ($5), as well as a cup of freshly brewed French Coffee ($2.50). Rosa, my server, was a little surprised by my singular appetite, but she didn't let that stop her from taking good care of me. When the Mekong Sandwich was delivered, Rosa said it was 8 inches and I told her it had to be a good foot long...it was a hard-crusted, tasty French roll that I didn't cut, but ate whole Vietnamese-style. The Mekong (also known as the Vietnamese sandwich) had sliced ham, char-siu pork, liver pate, cucumbers, red bell peppers, and green onions...it was delicious. (I was tipped off to this fabulous sandwich by K-57's Bob Gaeth, who said his Vietnamese wife vouched for it as authentic).
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