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April 15, 2005, Volume 5 Number 15

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

Fantastic!! That's just one of many superlatives being uttered by anyone who's made it down to La Mirenda for the "Dining Down Under, An Australian Food Festival" promotion running through Sunday, April 17, during lunch and dinner. Without exaggerating, if you are a foodie or culinarian, or just like to try new things when you eat, this is one of those "paradigm shifts" for the world of cuisine in a similar way that "Hawaiian Regional Cuisine" became globally recognized.

Our island is blessed by the visit of two celebrity chefs, Vic Cherikoff (right) and Benjamin Christie (left) from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's TV show, "Dining Down Under". I have met with both gentlemen and have joined the ranks of thousands who can attest to the wonderful, innovative food creations they have brought forth for the world to enjoy. Christie is a prominent advocate promoting Australian cuisine abroad, has written in several publications, and is a chef consultant. Vic Cherikoff has created a line of condiments based on indigenous Australian plants, herbs, nuts, and berries, with exotic names such as wattleseed, lemon myrtle, bunya bunya nuts, native pepper berry, akudjura, illawarra plums, quandong, and wild desert limes, to name a few.

I even bought a pack of Cherikoff's Australian Fruit Spice and added some to my yogurt this morning. The ingredients include forest berry herb, sumac, forest anise, and mountain pepper. For people like me, these exotic ingredients are fascinating, and represent a food trend that will transform the world of taste as we know it. Our close proximity to Australia bodes well for our local chefs who will be able to acquire many of these ingredients from local distributors.

Just read the description of an entree using these amazing Australian ingredients.

Oz Lemon scented mixed seafood sushi with 3 dipping sauces of
sweetened Davidson plum and pink ginger,
zingy lemon aspen and tamari
and wild rosella and wasabi

This is culinary poetry, which entices both the mind and the palate. Aren't you just a little curious about trying something different? I suggest you get down to the Hyatt this week and see for yourself. I'm sure you'll be impressed.

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Newsletter:

  • Winners from Guam's 1st Ultimate Grilling Competition
  • Guam Girl Scouts 8th Annual Auction and Wine Tasting - April 22 Hyatt Regency
  • Dining Down Under Lunch and Dinner Tasting Notes
  • This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter
  • "Let's Eat!" Dining Guide to Guam - Now Taking Space Reservations
  • Around the Island - PHARE 2005 Open Now, Y Kusina, Planet Hollywood Platters
  • Old Town Chinese - Great Food, Great Prices Tumon Eatery's Formula for Success

Winners from Guam's 1st Ultimate Grilling Competition

Last Saturday's Grilling competition transformed Ipao Beach Park into a tented BBQ village the likes of which you've never seen. The competition was fierce as teams marinated, rubbed, slow-cooked, basted, grilled, and barbecued their favorite chicken, pork, and beef recipe for the judges to taste and score. There were some truly delicious foods put in front of the judges and I was fortunate enought to be one of the judges for the chicken category. (Photo: Grand Champion, Team Tam Tum Har Captain, Mayor Francisco Blas celebrates their victory.)

As in all competitions, there are winners, who are listed according to their categories, as follows:

Chicken Category: First Place - Team Adobo, Captain Jojo Santo Tomas; Team members Janae Certeza, Rick Nauta, Mike Rozanski, Hayato Navarette

Pork Category: First Place - 1/2 a Haole Grill, Captain Clarence Heath; Team members Julie Heath, Yolanda Tyquengco, Jospeh Tyquengco, Justin Heath, Dan Tyquengco

Beef Category: First Place -The Rib Cage, Captain Justin Eustaquio, Team member Dave Mathews

Anything Goes Category: First Place - Rota Buds, Captain Todd Eclavea; Team members Matt Eclavea, Chris Aquino, Ed Tabanar

Grand Champion: Team Tam Tum Har (Tamuning/Tumon/Harmon Mayor's Office), Captain Mayor Francisco C. Blas; Team Members, Felix Atoigue, Van Atoigue, Tony Blas, Adam Williams, Steve Toves

The Grand Champion won a $1,500 cash prize, the Grand Championship belt, two round-trip tickets including hotel to attend Memphis in May 2005 World Championship Barbecue Competition and an autographed BBQ USA book from the BBQ Guru Steven Raichlen.

Guam Girl Scouts 8th Annual Auction and Wine Tasting - April 22 Hyatt Regency

It's that time of year again for what has become a highlight on social calendars - the 8th Annual Auction and Wine Tasting to Benefit Guam Girl Scouts. The event starts at 6:30pm and lasts until 10pm on Friday night and will occupy the main ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Executive Chef Hermann Grossbichler has prepared a provocative menu that will complement a collection of wine varietals that will be provided and served by several prominent local wine distributors. This event is hosted by the Board of Directors of the Guam Girl Scouts, and the proceeds support the efforts of the organization. 2005 marks the 70th Anniversary of the Guam Girl Scouts. Tickets are $40 and can be acquired at China Arts, both Bestseller Bookstores, and at the Girl Scout Center in Tamuning.

Dining Down Under Lunch and Dinner Tasting Notes

My recent excursions to the wonderful buffet spread at the Hyatt's La Mirenda for the "Dining Down Under, An Australian Food Festival" promotion was like walking through culinary nirvana. There were so many new flavors and ingredients with exotic, unfamiliar names, I thought I was in a strange land (which Australia is if you interpret "strange" as "wondrous and mystifying").

Here are just some of the many different foods, including heavenly desserts, you can look forward to exploring:

Beef Lasagna with Bush Tomato Chutney and Oz Lemon (Chef de Cuisine Tomasso Fois savored this Australian version )
Seared Lamb Rump with Illawarra Plum Jus
Grilled Barramundi with Bush Tomato Sauce
Glass Noodle Salad with Prawns and Wild Limes
Oz Lemon Mayonnaise
Bush Ganoush
Marinated Mushroom Salad with Aniseed, Myrtle and Wattleseed
Paperbark Beets (try these for sensational flavor)
Rolled Wattleseed Pavlova with Wild Fruit Coulis (an award winning innovation by Chef Vic)
Rainforest Parfait
Wattleseed Creme Brulee
Wattleseed and Ironwood Syrup Tiramisu
RibBerry Bread and Butter Pudding

There are even shortbread-like cookies in the shape of Australia made with Rosella and Fruit Spice, Oz Lemon, Wattleseed and Coconut. I know that names are just's the taste that's going to stir your tastebuds much the same as mine have been awakened! Get down to this promotion or try to attend the cooking class scheduled for this Satuday. CAll 647-1234 Ext 3211 for more information and reservations!

This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter

April 15, 2004 , Vol 4 No. 16

Restaurant Reviewed: Musings on Burgers - A Look at Guam's Great Burgers and Where to Get Them

Highlights: Jazz Month Kicks Off - Jazz, Jazz and More Jazz All Month Long, PHARE 2004, Jan Z Special, Jin Mi's 13th Year, Outback's New Cake, Guam Girl Scouts Annual Auction and Wine Tasting,

"Let's Eat!" Dining Guide to Guam - Now Taking Space Reservations

If you are interested in placing an ad in the upcoming publication, "Let's Eat! A Guide to Dining in Guam", you can access details on the ad placements, sizes available, and their prices from the rotating large banner at or from the permanent banner on the lower right. If you are in a hurry, just click here. This is really exciting stuff, since we've been in need of a comprehensive guide for a long time. So, if you have a business you'd like to prominently promote in this divinely delicious publication, please call 635-7501 for more information on this tasty opportunity.

Around the Island - PHARE 2005 Open Now, Y Kusina, Planet Hollywood Platters

The upcoming Pacific Hotel & Restaurant Expo and Travel Trade Show is a must-attend event for those in the hospitality industry. It is an excellent opportunity to see new products, equipment, and to learn about new services as well as to find solutions through educational seminars. The event will have a Professional Culinary Competition sponsored by Quality Distributors, Yamasa Soy Sauce and Matson Navigation. There will be a Bartending Competition at Planet Hollywood, as well as a Student Culinary Competition sponsored by Triple J Five Star Wholesale Foods. The Exhibition is open to Trade Professionals only on Thursday and Friday, and opens to the general public on Saturday, April 16. The student culinary competition is on Saturday.

If you are in the mood for Chamorro food, make Y Kusina your dining destination. I ate there on Wednesday and had their awesome meat loaf. Of course, my appetizers were what I'd craved originally, so I had to have my Dried Beef (Tinala Katne) that was served with Finadene Dinance. I also had to have Shrimp Kelaguen with those tasty fried titiyas...there's nothing like this great flavor combination! Y Kusina is open for lunch and dinner and has daily specials, with take-out available by calling 646-2052.

Planning a Bridal or Baby Shower, Office Meeting or any other type of gathering and looking for some really great food? Look no further than Planet Hollywood and their special Hollywood Platters which are available for take-out only. Check the menu here and, if you don't see what you want, ask them and they will do their best to accomodate your request. Call Planet Hollywood at 647-7827.

Old Town Chinese - Great Food, Great Prices Tumon Eatery's Formula for Success

Old Town Chinese Restaurant is located in Tumon next to Hoa Mai and a bit down and to the right of Izakaya Katsu, which is in the adjacent building. Since I last reviewed Old Town Chinese Restaurant in January 2002, they have expanded to nearly double their seating capacity. What's amazing about Old Town Chinese is that they've not changed their prices and have slowly and surely gained a reputation as one of Guam's best Chinese restaurants. I still prefer May's as my overall favorite, however, I would not hesitate to go to Old Town Chinese to eat, especially since they are open daily from 11am-11pm. Old Town Chinese serves "Home Made Style" Shanghai Cuisine, which uses more preserved vegetables and salted meats in their cooking as opposed to the freshness-obsessed Cantonese style of cooking. The kitchen is small at Old Town, but the output is amazing. The other thing about Old Town that'll amaze you is how "cheap" the menu prices are...especially for Tumon!

I started my meal with two appetizers, Baby Soybean Cooked in Rice Wine ($3), Five Spice Beef Shank ($3) and a plate of Salt & Pepper Fried Shrimp ($10), which is one of the more popular items ordered by locals according to Old Town's Manager, Lili, who also has one of the most cheerful faces I've seen in this high-pressure restaurant business. I ordered the Shanghai Fried Noodles (Soft, $7), Chicken of General Tang ($6), and lastly, Kang Kong & Garlic($6) to meet my vegetarian quota.

I sipped my hot jasmine tea while awaiting my beef appetizer. It arrived and the portion was so generous that it lasted me throughout the meal. The sliced beef was cooked well done and served chilled on a bed of bean sprouts. It had the distinctive flavor of the Chinese Five Spice seasoning, which is a pungent blend of cinnamon, cloves, Sichuan peppercorns, fennel, and star anise. The baby soybeans are known to most of us as edamame, but these were cooked in a rice wine that changed the flavor considerably. All appetizers are $3, with other choices including Tofu with Black Duck Egg, BBQ Pork Cha Su, and cold Boiled Chicken.

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Bon Appetit!

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