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Guam Diner Newsletter, July 6, 2001, Volume 1, Number 2

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

What makes food famous and grow to that "legendary" status? It wasn't long ago when a man who fried chicken with his blend of herbs and spices and called it the Colonel's "secret recipe", which spawned Kentucky Fried Chicken, now a largely successful international chain with several outlets on our island. There are food pioneers on Guam, too, who have made a name for themselves. Shirley Lai's Famous Fried Rice has achieved commercial success and has been printed on the back of Spam cans and sold in other markets besides Guam. We've just seen Shirley's Restaurant chain expand by taking over the Sizzler's location in the Agana Shopping Center. Bob McLaughlin's Chamorro Chip Cookies have been eaten by millions of people and are passed out on all the airlines serving Guam. He's Guam's "cookie man" who has cookies sold in Hawaii, too. Bob's Boston Pizza in Tumon is his own creation. Another local pizza guy is Steve Dormer, founder of Mama Tita's Bake at Home Pizza, who started his business in Mangilao and had expanded to the Pay-Less Supermarket location in the Micronesia Mall. Every one of these and other pioneers in foodservice have several things in common. They all had a vision of a food concept that would be the best they could produce, and they had the persistence and determination to work unceasingly to grow their business, oftentimes sacrificing the comforts enjoyed by many who work 40 hours a week. Today's review is on a business whose owners are working incredibly hard and have produced a product that's rapidly gaining popularity on island. It's inspiring to talk to these entrepreneurs who have made food service their lives. I'm glad they love what they do with food here on Guam--and so are their customers!

In Today's Issue:
  • Jeff's Pirates Cove - Ipan's International Landmark
  • Exciting New Menu Creations at Tinige Ansianu Cafe
  • This Week's Review: Mabuhay Express Fastfood Restaurant - Serving Great Filipino Favorites

Jeff's Pirates Cove - Ipan's International Landmark

I had occasion to visit Jeff's Ipan location this past week and was once again reminded of my reasons for loving Guam so much. It's hard not to be captivated by the awesome majesty of the Pacific Ocean and it's infinite expanse, especially when viewed from the vantage point of the Pirates Cove beachfront. Jeff's is more than just a beach's one of Guam's tourist attractions; it's a popular location for concerts, weddings, birthdays, fund-raisers, anniversaries, and company parties; it's home of the bi-annual Arts & Crafts Fair; it houses a uniquely interesting museum that has ancient Chamorro artifacts; it has a gallery of photographs documenting extraordinary events and people from the Pirates Cove's colorful past; it has a gift shop where one can select from a variety of souvenirs, mementos, and interesting local handicrafts; and it has a full-service restaurant that is famous for its Homemade Cheeseburger and a local favorite, Jeff's Chamoru Fiesta Plate. Its ship-shaped bar was created by the famous local craftsman, Mike Genereux, and has his name inscribed on a plate on the ship's bow.

Jeff's Pirates Cove has its traditions, stories and legends, one of it's more notable being the Cove's connection to the WWII straggler, Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi, who'd spent 28 years hiding in the jungles of Talofofo, sometimes listening to the Cove's festivities from the Togcha Hills. A section of the photo gallery chronicles Yokoi's experiences, both during and after his long jungle ordeal. There was a Malay pirate ship in this area, too, with a village where the pirates had settled, however, all traces of this were wiped out by Typhoon Karen.

Click here for more on Jeff's Pirates Cove.

Tinige Ansianu Cafe - Exciting New Menu Creations

If you've not been to the Outrigger Guam Resort's Tinige Ansianu Cafe lately, then you'll be pleasantly surprised to discover Chef Clayton Babas' new menu creations, about 19 in all! I had lunch there last week with two friends and opted for the Chamorro Lunch Buffet, which at $9.99 is a super value (one item was a deep fried Red Snapper covered in sweet chili sauce--worth the price by itself!). The Ahi Tuna Poke on the buffet line is also now available on the ala carte menu as an appetizer. The preparation of this dish makes it special, since it is seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and chili pepper, then mixed with yellow and green onions, fresh tomatoes and ogo seaweed. I did have the occasion to try a little of John's BBQ Chicken Salad ($8.75), which consists of a 6 oz. chicken breast that's been marinated in soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic, beer, bay leaves, and pepper. The breast is grilled, then shredded, and served atop mixed shredded lettuce, carrots, onion, bean sprouts, cucumbers and baby corn. This mixture gets tossed with a light ranch style dressing and drizzled with an exotic BBQ sauce creation--check out these ingredients--hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, white wine, ginger, garlic, onion, brown sugar and crushed pineapple. The final touch on this regal salad is crispy fried won ton strips and and green onions. If you think this sounds good, you should have tasted it! Yummee!

Click here for even more descriptions of Chef Clayton's creations.

Mabuhay Express Fastfood Restaurant - Serving Great Filipino Favorites

When Lucy A. asked me if I'd ever reviewed a Filipino restaurant, I responded that I'd not, and told her that many of Guam's Filipino population have told me the best Filipino food is either in the Philippines or at their homes! She then invited me to try Mabuhay Express on Route 16 in Harmon, and when I did, I definitely understood why home-cooked freshness is essential to enjoying Filipino food.

Lucy and I were joined by Gennie I., and it was their express purpose to "educate" the "Guam food guy" on a cultural cuisine that I'd paid too little attention to in the past. Once seated, I was given a glass of Gulamon, a popular, semi-sweet, refreshing iced beverage with gelatin. This drink is free with the meals at Mabuhay Express, and costs $1.00 on its own. While enjoying my Gulamon, I watched this lunchtime crowd swell and line up at the counter for their fast food selections. The parking lot was already overflowing and still more people were coming. Their fervor almost seemed religious, so intent were they on getting to this food!

What was the draw and why was this little restaurant so popular among Filipinos? The secret can be attributed to one word - "passion." The passion of Arlene Madrazo, owner, who, along with her husband and co-owner, Roland, shares this passion for cooking excellent food and working maniacally to "get it right", all the time! This day I learned to appreciate preparations made with taro leaf ("gatang lahing"), heart of the banana ("puso saging"), "Bistek", "Tokwat Baboy", jackfruit, milkfish in guava soup, Beef Mechado, and a fried shrimp vegetable patty called "ukoy"--foods that can best be described as "na masarap" (delicious!). Moreover, I was astonished by the phenomenal success of their second venture, Mabuhay Canteen, located in the front parking lot of Johndel Supermarket in Dededo, where their "famous" BBQ Pork sticks are drawing customers from as far away as Agat and Talofofo!

Click here for THE FULL STORY

Check out these new items at!
  • We've got SPAMô! Check out the recipes from the The Great SPAMô Cook-Off Island Style 2000.
  • Food Safety & Power Outages. Power outages are a fact of life on Guam. This article from the American Dietetic Association will help you figure out whether your food is still safe or not.
  • Submit your own recipe here!
  • Do we have your favorite restaurant listed? Check out our Alphabetical Restaurant Directory.


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