May 25 , 2007, Volume 7 Number 21
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
A long-held wish came true for two former Guam residents, Alan and Louise Leader. They wanted to put their feet in the sand of Tumon Bay and to smell and feel the balmy humidity of our tropical atmosphere - something we all become reacquainted with the first instant out of the jet way or when exiting the baggage claim!
It's been nearly 15 years since their last visit, which is really a long time for the Seattle couple who lived here from December 1975 to March 1976 (fortune spared them from Super Typhoon Pamela), and again for nearly six years from December 1977 to June 1985. Alan, now a management consultant, has had an illustrious career as an academic and was the Dean of the Business School at UOG, and Louise worked as executive assistant to then-DFS president, Bob Bruso.
Spending time with Lou and Alan this past weekend was really edifying as these two charmed and intrigued us with their Guam stories and recollections of colorful personalities from our common past. It is a particular pleasure and honor for me that Lou has been an avid reader of our GuamDiner.com newsletter and maintains binders filled with our weekly issues. [Photo L-R: Alan Leader, Louise Leader, Ken Stewart, the GFG]
They have so many friends who are excited and delighted by their short stay here. (They'll be visiting until May 31.) I thought that some of you may recognize them from the photo we took the other night at the Outrigger Guam Resort, where they spent two incredible days and nights. They were thrilled to watch the day break on Tumon and elated to finally see our beautiful sunsets again, something they'd dreamed about for a number of years! We should always appreciate what we have living on Guam!
May we also pay tribute this Memorial Day weekend to all members of our military services, especially to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of our homeland and for the ideals of freedom and democracy, two foundations of our great nation. We will never forget your courage, your willingness to give up your life in the protection and defense of our country, and for your noble, unwavering patriotism. We are proud of you and grateful for your service! God Bless America! God Bless Guahan!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
Guam Food Guy to Emcee Annual HANMI Chef's Competition
Saipan's Taste of the Marianas - May 26
I am honored and delighted to have been invited by the Hotel Association of the Northern Marianas (HANMI) to be the emcee for the Annual Chef's Competition, which will be held at the American Park on Saturday, May 26 at 7pm. This competition is designed for junior level chefs who will be vying for the coveted roving "Chef's Cup", which will be theirs to keep for a year. Aqua Resort CLub will be defending the title this year.
This year's competition will feature Certified Angus Beef Top Sirloin as the key ingredient. The winning teams will share in $1,000 in cash prizes donated by HANMI, with $500 awarded to first place, $300 to second, and $200 for the third place finisher. The Certified Angus Beef Cup will be displayed at the winning hotel for one year.
"HANMI is proud to be a major sponsor of this culinary competition and we especially look forward to having a highly qualified "celebrity" emcee join us in promoting the event this year," said HANMI Chairwoman Lynn A. Knight in a May 15 press release published in the Saipan Tribune. "We are always impressed with how talented the chefs are on Saipan and look forward to this year's competition which especially encourages junior chefs to compete and grow in their work. We encourage everyone to come out and see the amazing culinary displays."
HANMI was instrumental in developing the annual Taste of the Marianas Food Festival in 1999 as part of the "1999 Visit the Marianas Year" celebration. I have been fortunate to have been able to attend three of these events as a judge in the past. I am looking forward to another wonderful time attending the special festivities that will take place this Saturday - there's nothing like it on Guam yet. Come over if you've got the time - it'll be memorable fun!
Flamingo Restaurant is a comfort food haven, a place where I go when I hanker for a little taste of everything, and as you will see, during my recent visit, I kind of "over did it", but not really when you consider I did have plenty of leftovers to enjoy! Flamingo seems eternally popular, and has been a consistent favorite for many who find tastes they really like. For me, it's the combination of flavors and choices that I like, so it's no wonder that No. 27 ($9) on Flamingo's menu got my first vote. It has one of those fabulously tender beef shishkabobs, a savory chicken yakitori skewer with onions interspersed and drizzled in yakitori sauce, a fried shrimp with tartar sauce, onion rings that go with that same tartar sauce, shredded cabbage and Flamingo's signature dressing, a bowl of white rice, and a bowl of miso soup. Now that's a meal! One of the reasons for the quality of Flamingo's taste is that they use select ingredients as well as soybean oil for frying...it costs more, but you can taste the difference.
I ordered more. I remembered the samples that Flamingo owner Dongman Chang brought to my K57 Tourism & You Food Guy show earlier this year, when he introduced me to his Spicy Chicken. So that's what I ordered, the Spicy Chicken Special ($8). Now this has a really tasty barbecue sauce that's a little pika, not a lot, but just unique and special...and it grills up nicely with the right char marks.
The other special I had, just to sample it since it's another one of their long-standing popular "specials", was the Fried Pork Chop Special ($8). To be honest, I didn't like this as much since I had been spoiled by the tender spicy chicken thighs...and the pork chop, which I later ate as leftovers (when I could appreciate it on its own merits) took more effort to cut and eat. The serving is generous and comes with finadene.
For Zee's vegetarian preferences, Dongman created a meatless stir-fry Yakisoba with tofu. This cost $7.50 and it tasted fine, satisfying the vegetarian need and in a portion large enough to make two meals. Look forward to some new menu changes in the near future, when Flamingo will be adding some special dessert creations to their food line-up, along with French fries to satisfy some customers who prefer this staple over rice!
Call for take-out...they've got a lot of things that'll make you glad you did!
Joinus Keyaki Japanese Restaurant
Tumon Sands Plaza
I was happy to finally see the cool changes that transformed the old Joinus Keyaki into the sleek, modern, glass-walled "boutique" restaurant that is now Joinus Keyaki. I went for the Teppanyaki Lunch Special ($15) along with many others who had the same idea...this place can't help but keep its popularity. The new design for the teppan griddles allows more seating for groups and people....it's more comfortable for lunch.
They have kept the same choice set menu selections: (A.) Beef Top Sirloin Steak, Spring Chicken, Shrimp with Bacon; (B.) Beef Top Sirloin Steak, Salmon, Shrimp with Bacon; (C.) Spring Chicken, Salmon, Shrimp with Bacon;and (D.) Salmon, Scallops and Shrimp. All of these sets come with a fresh garden vegetables, green salad, rice and miso soup. I had Choice A and found the meal to be satisfactory.
The new design allowed me to observe what the customers sitting in the Keyaki section were able to order and eat for lunch, as we were only separated by a glass wall. For Keyaki, Lunch Specials run from $9.50 (for Temzaru Cha Soba and Tempura Udon) to $20 for Nigiri Sushi. They also have Set Menu choices such as Pork Cutlet with Egg, Chicken or Beef Teriyaki, Fried Seafood Mix, and Grilled Salmon. I know that Executive Chef Nakamura is very happy to be back in operation in a brand new home. I have to go for dinner sometime soon!
The Curry Kebab Indian Restaurant
Truthfully, there is just no other place where you can get Indian cuisine on Guam seven days a week. That's why The Curry Kebab has been able to maintain its niche in the market. Of course, I have to qualify this and say that for my tastes, the food at The Curry Kebab is magical. There are others who think it's just "so-so", and still others who don't like it. That's just how people's preferences work and people vote with their dollars.
If you are vegetarian, The Curry Kebab offers a variety of vegetable specialties, including Aloo Saag (fresh spinach and potatoes in a green curry sauce), Tofu Mutter Masala, Chenna Masala (chick peas sauteed with spices in a tomato gravy), and Baignan Masala (eggplant cooked with onion, spices and a special curry sauce).
To start off, I recommend the Tofu Bajji ($6.95). These are marinated fresh tofu fritters. They have a beautiful golden-brown donut colored appearance, and are served with chutney sauces.
We also had one of our all-time favorites, the Apple Salad ($4.95). I don't know the full secret to their dressing, but its able to sweeten onion slices and mix them with apples for an amazing, palate-quenching taste. These is a healthful and nutritious dish, as are most of the food at The Curry Kebab. We also had a Lemoney Mint, which in the new glasses looks like a mint green frappe!
Curry Kebab's Dinner Special is something that I seem to repeat having as well, since it gives me a small selection to satisfy my individual cravings. For $16.99, you can choose from several Tandoor special meats, including Chicken, Jumbo Prawns, or Lamb Chops. You can also choose one curry, either beef or chicken. The meal includes a salad, saffron rice, chutney, pappadam, naan bread, and orange slices. It's a filling value. Do the Curry Kebab for that "Taste of India"!
Sichuan Kitchen Lunch Specials
In my experience, it's not really often when you get better value than what you pay for, with lower prices usually translating into lower quality food. However, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised to see how the Sichuan Kitchen offers amazing quality that's value-priced in the form of Lunch Specials, which you can get weekdays in their Tamuning restaurant next to Josie's Tavern in Dhonson Plaza.
The Fried Tilapia ($5) is probably one of the most prized values, since you get a pretty decent sized fish that's fried just right leaving the white flaky fish meat moist. This dish comes with rice and soup, along with a good finadene.
he Half Fried Chicken seems like an impossible value, and unless I was hallucinating, all of that chicken is what they give you for the $5 price! Again, rice and corn chowder soup are included. They marinate the chicken to give it a flavor you'll enjoy.
The Yang Chow Fried Rice ($5) is another volume of food that I think they're giving away at a very reasonable price. It's as good as any of the better fried rices I've eaten over the years.
Another item that's a special, but not on their Lunch Special Menu is the Salt & Pepper Pork Chop, which is $6.50. This was a very popular dish when they first introduced it. It is rich with onions and peppers. It is served with steamed rice and soup. If you like this, or any other dish that's not on the menu, just ask and see if they can fix it for you. You might get surprised!
Don't forget to make the time with family, close friends, or business associates to try Sichuan Kitchen's famous Chongquing Hot Pot. I can't emphasize trying this enough...it's a dining experience that you'll really love or not like doing since it involves your having to cook yourself. But if you don't like to cook, have one of your party cook for you! It's fun worth having and social dining at its best!
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