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Guam Diner Newsletter, January 11, 2002, Volume 2, Number 2

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,


Food fascinates me...that's why I love my job! Of course, this could be said about anything for which one feels a strong passion. However, I truly believe that most, if not all, of us share in our appreciation and love of great food. When you think about it, we are incredibly fortunate to be able to enjoy cuisine styles from all over the world with recipes and dish creations being passed on by generations of chefs and cooks in their native lands. Recently, I was intrigued to learn about a popular Chinese dish called Beggar's Chicken, which is served in many Peking style (Beijing) restaurants, although legend has it that this spectacular dish originated in the Yangtze River region and was created by a thief from Hangzhou (near Shanghai). One version of this legend says that since the thief had no stove, he wrapped the stolen bird in clay and baked it in a hole in the ground, while another version relates that he was a starving thief who found a way to cook his bird and keep it, as well as its aroma, secret! This delectable dish is made by stuffing a whole chicken with mushrooms, pickled Chinese cabbage, herbs and onions. Next, it is wrapped in lotus leaves, sealed in clay and cooked slowly. Since it's usually served during special occasions, the guest of honor breaks open the clay using a mallet, releasing the fragrant aroma and revealing a chicken more suited to an Emperor's taste rather than a beggar's and so tender that you can pull it apart with chopsticks. Yummee ... now to find a restaurant on Guam to make this!

This January is a special month commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the Hilton Guam Resort and Spa. Thirty years! This venerable establishment has maintained its pre-eminence as Guam's most popular hotel meeting place for all occasions and events. In fact, there are families here on Guam where the parents were married or had their wedding reception at the Hilton, then their children's christening parties were held there and then the kids grew up and started the cycle all over again! Like they say, "It happens at the Hilton!". We are proud to be a part of this anniversary celebration and will be involved in a special contest promotion. Just a hint is below.

Let's make 2002 a good year to remember, and be sure to adhere to that famous motto of restaurateurs: "Eat out often!"


In Today's Issue
  • "The Spirit of Great Cuisine" - Hilton Guam Resort & Spa's Thirtieth Anniversary Contest at www.guamdiner.com
  • A World Without Dave Thomas - Remembering Wendy's Founder
  • January 2001 Reviews Revisited - Thai Kitchen
  • Old Town Chinese Restaurant - Home Made Shanghai Style Cuisine

"The Spirit of Great Cuisine" - Hilton Guam Resort & Spa's Thirtieth Anniversary Contest at www.guamdiner.com

Guamdiner.com is delighted to participate in the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa's Thirtieth Anniversary celebration with a very special contest for our on-line visitors. From noon, Tuesday, January 15 through midnight, Thursday, February 14 you will be able to enter the contest once daily on-line. A correct answer to the weekly question will make you eligible for the weekly drawing for great prizes from the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa. Check back on January 15 for a complete list of rules, prizes and "The Spirit of Great Cuisine" contest. Remember, January 15 it all begins!


A World Without Dave Thomas - Remembering Wendy's Founder

It used to be when you thought of burgers, you only thought of McDonald's. That paradigm was changed largely through the efforts of Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's. Dave's recent death from liver cancer has saddened millions who will miss America's most sincere and funny hamburger salesman. Even if you don't remember him by name, you would probably recognize him from the countless television commercials as that nice old guy describing his latest burger, exuding the same parental pride and affection he'd have for his newborn baby. Dave learned some of his magic from Colonel Sanders, and opened his first Wendy's in Columbus, Ohio in 1969. I had my first Wendy's burger, a Triple with everything on it, in Springfield, Ohio in 1976. That was one huge sandwich...fresh and definitely not "low cal". Dave Thomas is credited with inventing the "drive-thru" window, one of the most common conveniences in today's mobile society. Just think of how many burgers, shakes, fries and chicken legs you'd have missed if Dave had just stuck to sit-down or take out dining!

Dave will be missed but his legacy of tasty burgers, good service and goodwill will live on.


January 2001 Reviews Revisited - Thai Kitchen

When I re-read last year's review of Thai Kitchen, I smiled at the memory of my encounter with attorney, George Butler, who recommended I try their Fried Calamari. George was right on target...that was great Calamari. I've eaten there several times since, and have enjoyed one of my favorite Thai dishes, Pad Bai-Kra Proa, either with minced chicken or pork, extra spicy with a fried egg on top! I used to think the egg would literally fry from the heat of the peppers!!

Part of my fondness at the memory of George is that we've since worked together in two great theatrical productions, "Titanic" and "On the Air". On Guam we can enjoy terrific eating and good theater. Treat yourself to authentic Thai cuisine at Toy McGurk's Thai Kitchen!


Old Town Chinese Restaurant - Home Made Shanghai Style Cuisine

I would venture to say that nearly everyone who's driven (or walked) on Tumon's San Vitores Road in the past six months has passed the Old Town Chinese Restaurant. I would also say that 99% of them have not stopped by to eat there. I was among the "missing" masses until the other day when I decided it was time to visit this tiny eatery that's located in San Vitores Plaza, near the opposite end from Quizno's and adjacent to Hoa Mai Vietnamese Restaurant. Look for the large red sign above the entrance..it's the only one!

I'd recently been given the nod of approval by Candy Okuhama (my friend Alice Chou's daughter), who's culinary skills and tastes have impressed me and others. Candy told me that she liked some of their Shanghai-style dishes. Never having traveled to Shanghai, I can't profess any first-hand experience as to the preparation and quality. I was told by the manager/co-owner, Mr. Chen, that they have adjusted some of the menu item's flavors to meet the tastes of local residents; however, they also enjoy a following among local Chinese, too.

The first thing you notice when you look at Old Town Chinese Restaurant's Menu is the price, which I felt to be unbelievably affordable, especially for Tumon. Though I was alone (nearly a sin when eating Chinese!), I still managed to order a representative selection of items to perform this review. I started out with two appetizers, the Shanghai-style Chicken Flavor ($3.00) and the Beef Shank 5 spice ($3.00). Both of these are cold cut dishes, and the chicken had been boiled in spices, then dried, cut up, and chilled. It was firm but flavored as though it was pickled and I marveled at how the bones were hollowed, with all the marrow gone! Shanghai cooking is known more for using preserved vegetables and salted meats than the the freshness obsessed Cantonese style of cooking. The Five Spice Beef Shank was thinly sliced and layered on a bed of bean sprouts. I asked my waitress, Fang, for advice on the type of dipping sauce. She made one up for me, using soy sauce, vinegar and red chili paste. It worked. The beef was cooked well done and had the distinctive flavor of the famous Chinese Five Spice seasoning, which is a pungent blend of cinnamon, cloves, Szechuan peppercorns, star anise and fennel. Both were pleasant appetizers.

Click here for the Full Story

Bon appetit!

The Guam Food Guy


Don't miss this week's features at guamdiner.com!
  • Featured Recipe - Grilled Vegetable Brochettes with Spicy Garlic Sauce
  • Wine Feature - Are You Drinking Your Share of Wine?
  • Health & Nutrition Feature - Women's Health - It's About Balance
  • Other Beverages Feature - Green Tea & Health - Information and Links
  • View Past Newsletters - Click here for our Newsletter Archives

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