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May 4, 2007, Volume 7 Number 18

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

Good News! "LET'S EAT! A Guide to Dining on Guam, 2007" is finally available for purchase! Although we notified you of its arrival in March, we can now give you a heads up on where you can purchase that book for $7.95 today! The first two locations are HAVA JAVA CAFE in Hagatna, and GUAM REXALL DRUGS in Tamuning. Future locations include BESTSELLER BOOKSTORES, CIRCLE K STORES, and the Navy Exchange. Announcements will soon be made about book-signing events, along with more information about distribution locations.

"LET'S EAT is a handy pocket guide that lists nearly all of Guam's restaurants and includes recipes by local chefs, full color food photos, mini-reviews of scores of restaurants, frequently-asked questions, a calendar of local food events, maps pinpointing restaurant locations, Food Guy Favorites, and, one of the most useful features: a glossary of common food terms in Chamorro, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, and Chinese. The book even has coupons with special offers - in fact, just one coupon alone more than pays for the price of the book alone!

If you are interested in obtaining more information about getting a copy or multiple copies of "LET'S EAT! A Guide to Dining on Guam 2007", contact Stephanie at 635-7501. You can also email her at or me at For off-island inquiries, we will have the book available for online purchase in the near future. In the meantime, we can mail you a copy. Just email us for details.

Initial comments about the book from those who have previewed copies are that the book is the most comprehensive restaurant guide ever published about Guam's restaurants, that it is easy to read, with useful insights on restaurant options, and that it's the perfect size for carrying in a pocketbook, purse, or in the glove compartment of your car.

It's also handy for looking up phone numbers (one of the best uses for this tome) of restaurants. As I stated in a previous newsletter edition, we are both extremely humbled and thrilled by this first edition, "it is truly an impressive work that showcases the vast selection of restaurants comprising our island's diverse culinary culture, arguably with some of the most authentic Asian tastes found outside of their native countries".

Biba Guahan! Gof Mannge! Chal Mokkeisumnida! Buon Appetito! Itadake-masu! Bon Appetit!

Ken, "The Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

  • Hawaiian Cultural Activist Peter Apo's Guam Visit Highlights Need for Defining a Sense of Place
  • The Odd Couple - Theatre Guam's 10th Anniversary Production - Last Blow-Out Weekend - Friday May 4 & Saturday May 5
  • This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter
  • Around the Island - Joinus Keyaki Re-opens, La Mirenda's Curry Buffet, Pho Vietnamese, the Real Deal
  • Double Feature Review! Westin's Body & Soul Friday Dining at Cafe Kalachucha PLUS Marriott's Sunset BBQ at Manhattan Terrace

Hawaiian Cultural Activist Peter Apo's Guam Visit Highlights Need for Defining a Sense of Place

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting and conversing with Peter Apo, a founding member and Director of Culture and Education for the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, during his recent visit to Guam. I attended a TEC (Tourism Education Council) wine-tasting fundraiser at Ti Quiero in Tumon this past Wednesday night where Peter was the featured speaker at this gala reception. There was wine-aplenty and tasty hors D'oeuvres prepared by the GCC Culinary Academy Students. [Photo L-R: Ken Stewart, GGF; Peter Apo, Director NHHA; Mari Carmen Aquilar, Co-Owner/Manager, Le Tasi Bistro; Dave Sablan, Board Member Tourism Education Council]

I was greatly impressed by Peter's down-to-earth awareness of important issues and challenges facing our island, with regard to tourism and our cultural identity. His years of dealing with many of the same issues in his native Hawaii have allowed him to fine-tune his focus to a brilliant clarity so that every word he speaks provides a condensed wisdom from which we all can learn. Peter smiles big and has a long list of achievements as well as civil and social positions he holds on various state, foundation, and education boards and commissions. He is renowned as a Hawaiian musician, composer and recording artist.

Listening to Peter, I heard a recurring theme about the need to define a "sense of place" for Guam. He also made it clear that what he was telling us was something we essentially know already. We just have to find ways for our knowledge to surface to a useful purpose. Imagine what it would be like if we trained our hospitality work force to convey a sincere message of greetings to our visitors and held farewell ceremonies just before they departed? Or having our people better educated about Guam's history and culture so that they could share this with our visitors.

One of the areas I found particularly pertinent was statement that one of the key elements of a destination's "senses" was one of "taste" and that a book like "Let's Eat! A Dining Guide to Guam", plays an important role in communicating what some of that "taste" of Guam is.

We were fortunate to have Peter Apo make the journey to our island to share the wisdom gained from his experiences and life in our distant neighbor islands comprising the State of Hawaii. I labeled him as an "activist" since I see him as an agent of change, something like a catalyst. A interesting thought just occurred as I'm writing this...the very word "activist" can be re-arranged to "Act Visit" - funny how the words we use have hidden meanings! Thank you Peter for sharing your ideas with us!

The Odd Couple - Theatre Guam's 10th Anniversary Production - Last Blow-Out Weekend - Friday May 4 & Saturday May 5

This is your last opportunity to get tickets for this weekend's final performance of Theatre Guam's production of Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple". Tickets are only $25 and there will be a cash bar and appetizers available for the cocktail show performances at the Guam Reef Hotel. Contact Diane Isis Thurber at 777-4747 or Karen at 689-6899 to make reservations. This play has received critical acclaim for its fine performances - and really proves that Guam has some impressive theatrical talent! These zany characters are sure to make you laugh!

Around the Island - Joinus Keyaki Re-opens, La Mirenda's Curry Buffet, Pho Vietnamese, the Real Deal

Joinus Restaurant has recently re-opened in its Tumon Sands Plaza location. Keyaki Restaurant has been absorbed into the restaurant and both teppanyaki and other traditional Japanese fare are offered in this renovated space. Lunch is from 11am-2pm, and dinner is from 5:30-10pm. Call 646-4087 for information and reservations.

La Mirenda's Wednesday Lunch Buffet at the Hyatt featured an appealing selection of curries, which I thought was unique and certainly worth mentioning, especially since the Indian Lamb Curry was absolutely marvelous - tender, succulent, and authentically seasoned. They also had a Thai Beef Curry and a Japanese-style Chicken Curry, which were also quite good. The Roast Beef carving was awesome and could have been a meal in itself, if I could just make sandwiches with the fresh baked bread! There were a few notable seemed very much like a Vietnamese Chicken Salad. It's a great spread, and a big plus is the desserts are among the island's best thanks to enormously talented Chef Suharto!

Pho Noodle House is located on the ground floor of the ITC Building right next door to the House of Brutus. If you want pho (pronounced approximately "fah") , which is essentially the national dish of Vietnam and can best be described as a richly flavored beef soup served with a variety of aromatics, this spot has one of the best on island. The Special Vietnamese Beef Soup ($7.50) is probably one of your best introductions to the ritual involved in preparing pho for consumption - at least to my taste! Your order includes a bowl of the aforementioned broth served with three kinds of beef (oxtail, sirloin, and a firmly textured beef ball), green & white onions, and noodles. On the side you will be served plate with bean sprouts, fresh basil leaves, and local lemon. I add the bean sprouts, tear the basil leaves from the stems and put them in the soup, and squeeze the lemon overall. Then I add a few drops of Hoisin Sauce, Shiracha Hot Chili Sauce, and some Chili Paste, which is even hotter, and then mix it all up together. OH Boy! That's some good eatin'!

Now, if you are vegetarian, you can get a great meal with the Crispy Fried Noodles - this is a large meal and laden with broccoli, onions, mushrooms, carrots, and cabbage ($10). Pho is a fun place and when you go at night (they close at 9pm), you may be able to watch Vietnamese videos, some of which are musical competitions like Vietnamese Idol, filmed in the U.S., but with all Vietnamese talent. Now that's something you probably didn't know! Call 646-3033 for takeout and to order great party trays.

This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter

May 5, 2006 Vol 6 No 18

Restaurant Reviewed: Jin Mi Restaurant- Authentic Korean Eatery Revisited

The Grille At Santa Fe's Awesome All-You-Can Eat-Pancakes
Bistro Happy Hour Wednesday Features Live Performance by the Rich Society

Westin's Body & Soul Friday Dining at Cafe Kalachucha

"Friday Night Dining Out" has taken on a new meaning with the advent of the Westin's "Body and Soul Food" dinner buffet at its spacious ground floor eatery, Cafe Kalachucha, which is continuing an innovative culinary vision introduced at the Westin's 10th Anniversary Celebration in February, where all of the restaurant outlets participated in a lavish feast of international flavors that absolutely "wowed" those fortunate attendees.

For an astounding price of $29.95 for adults, $15 for children (ged 6-12) plus 10% service charge, you can enjoy a dining adventure that's unparalleled with its quality selection of prepared foods that include freshly cut (the whole fish is there and cut while you watch) sashimi and hand-made sushi, seafood on ice, a whole roast pig done as lechon, with Mang Tomas and finedene, Mongolian BBQ, Salads, Italian Antipasto and live Pasta and Tempura Stations. There are also Chinese selections from Lufuku. I could write a lot about this, but better than words are the photos that show just how fantastic this event really is! As they put it, you can rejuvenate with a world food adventure, where you can "replenish your mind, body, and soul."

There is live entertainment - which is better than in most places since there are no other hotel restaurants with the dynamic acoustics provided by the size and shape of this cavernous space. This allows diners to eat in spacious comfort and engage in conversations without being blasted out by overly loud music and singing.

As mentioned above, the fresh seafood - fabulous tuna, mahi mahi, and melt-in-your mouth salmon are carved and cut up while you wait. If you were to go to any Japanese restaurant and consumed the same amount of fresh fish you would pay far more than the total charge of this meal!

The Mongolian BBQ is an expansion of what the Cafe Kalachucha's lunch buffet offers with more sauces to flavor the variety of fresh ingredients that include prawns, seasoned chicken, beef, pork, calamari, broccoli, onions, cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, and sprouts. The aroma of garlic, oil, meats, and vegetables on that grill make you salivate just waiting for your food to cook!

What you don't see at lunch is the inclusion of Prego's delicious Italian creations - again, one type of food that's worth the entire price of admission! There are antipasti like Tuna Mediterranean with Capers and Dried Tomato dressing, Marinated Shrimp with Orange and Eggplant Puree, Tomato and Cheese drizzled with Olive Oil, and several wonderful made to order pasta dishes such as Spaghetti Aragosta with Lobster and Asparagus, Penne Amatriciana with bacon and onion in a tomato sauce, and Spaghetti Funghi with mushrooms in a luscious, savory sauce. The pastas are perfectly cooked and you can add fresh parmesan to suit your taste or just eat it served from the chef's saute pan!

Nope, this is no ordinary buffet...did I mention that there's free-flowing Heineken and select wines? I also need to say that there are desserts stacked up to eat along with refreshing Haagen-Daz ultra premium ice cream, something for which you must save some space!

Yes, this is about rejuvenation and good living, just what makes the beginning of the perfect weekend - come and savor the flavors and tastes of "Body and Soul Food", only on Fridays at the Westin's Cafe Kalachucha, where more means beyond! Tickets available at the front desk or at the restaurant. For more information or inquiries, call 647-6991

Marriott's Sunset BBQ at Manhattan Terrace

If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes and tasted it with my own mouth, I wouldn't believe it, and would have just written it off as mere "advertising hype"! How many times have you ever had your expectations for a special dining experience fall short and leave you disappointed, if not somewhat angered by your having to pay a pretty penny for what really was a lousy meal?

Well, I can tell you that if you go to the Marriott's Sunset BBQ at the Manhattan Terrace and you order any of the exotically-named (exotic in name only but totally local in taste!) dinner courses, you won't be disappointed in the quality nor the quantity of the food you'll receive. Moreover, you have the opportunity and pleasure of cooking it yourself, right in front of your eyes, to the degree of your liking!

We sometimes forget how fortunate we are to live on a beautiful tropical island and that many people pay a lot of money to travel here so that they can enjoy our sunsets, our beaches, our beauty and our food. That's why it's good to know that the Marriott's management team decided to explore an opportunity to offer a premium dining experience of the "sunset bbq genre", with a strong emphasis on the word "premium"! As you'll soon discover, you'll get what you'll pay for, and at the Manhattan Terrace's Sunset BBQ, it starts out with a basket of high quality ingredients, all seemingly hand-picked to please!

The Manhattan Steakhouse is known for its excellent, fine-dining ambiance and sumptuous cuisine, however, the Manhattan Terrace is a new creation that capitalizes on the Marriott's prime location in the center of Tumon and extends the high culinary quality standard from inside the Manhattan to the open skies of paradise! So, let's check this out.

You can forgo the formalities and come to relax, kind of like a nice outdoor outing. Order a Mai Tai or one of your favorite tropical beverages or whatever suits your fancy after you have been seated at one of the tables in this very large terrace which runs the width of the hotel(it's big). You can catch a magnificent sunset and gaze past the lighted tiki torches to the beach front properties dotting the shoreline both north and south from where you are perched.

The menu starts off at the top, with the Plumeria Course ($95/person) offering Maine Lobster, Alaskan Crab Legs, Tiger Prawns, Certified Angus Beef Tenderloin, Chicken Breast, and Large Oyster. This comes in a pretty basket that's preceded by what is a fresh and ingredient-rich salad, which a range of dressings from which to choose. The basket also has vegetables that you will grill along with your seafood and meat over glowing charcoal briquettes that are pre-heated for optimal grilling, at a nice easy-going pace - there's no flare-ups or food burning episodes here! The vegetables include neatly cut corn on the cob for balanced grilling, eggplant, red and white onion slices, shiitake mushrooms, red & green bell peppers, and a bowl of red rice.

Price also includes a dessert of the day, which happened to be wow-inducing Baked Alaska!

The second set is the Golden Trumpet ($75/per person), which includes a Salmon Filet, Alaskan Crab Legs, Tiger Prawns, Certified Angus Beef Tenderloin, Chicken Breast and a large Oyster, plus the salad, veggies, and dessert.

The Bougainvillea ($55/person) has the Salmon Filet, a Tuna Steak, Tiger Prawns, Certified Angus Beef Tenderloin, and Chicken Breast.

We had the Plumeria and the Golden Trumpet. As I said earlier, each element was of high quality, so the lobster was fair-size (cut in half), but with a very sweet meat. The King Crab legs were also a delight...they were ready before the Prawns and Lobster - but wait, what am I saying? You can cook in your own order of preference. Who says you can't have your steak first? I do suggest you let the longer cooking items go on the grill first, such as the oyster - when mine was ready, it was perfect, steamed and delicious, especially when a little of the garlic vinegar sauce and finedene are added. The meal has three sauces - chopped garlic vinegar, finedene, and sweet chili.

I had a taste of the salmon in my dining partner's course just so I could taste more of the possible selections...gosh, that salmon was cooked to a delicate perfection, just flaked right on my fork. The heat from this BBQ grill in the center of the table doesn't seem to radiate out too much...your fingers don't get burned while turning with what I thought were short's really quite safe and easy.

The weather was perfect with a gentle breeze blowing with the entire meal being on the beach but bug-free and sand-free - none of that annoying sand blowing in your food that sometimes happen at beach cookouts.

The Sunset BBQ at the Manhattan Terrace starts at 6pm and ends at 10pm. You can call 649-7827 to reserve your private dining excursion. Yes, it is moderate to high-priced, yet for the money, you are getting real value. It's like taking the best of a series of entrees and putting them in a basket and saying, "here ya go, you can cook it to your heart's content!" Consider the Sunset BBQ at the Manhattan Terrace as a new category of fine dining. Shall we call it "Open Air Fine Dining" or "Fine Dining BBQ"? Try the Sunset BBQ at the Manhattan Terrace for special occasions or when you want to impress and treat an off-island visitor. Just one look at the ingredient basket on display in the corridor entrance to the Terrace should stimulate your tastebuds...all you have to do is "grill, dine, and smile!"

Bon Appetit!

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