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December 18, 2009, Volume 9 Number 26

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

The year 2009 is winding down to its grand finale and 2010 is about to make its glorious debut, ushering in a decade of unprecedented growth for Guam and the surrounding island-dotted pond of Micronesia. I won't bother trying to make predictions about restaurant growth and expansion in the next few years - it's a given that we'll see more big national names entering our food arena along with innumerable entrepreneurial start-ups as folks make that great leap of faith of opening their own restaurant. I wouldn't be surprised to see Asian-based chains looking to establish a foot print on Guam in hopes of offering familiar brand recognition to visitors hailing from Japan and Korea.

In this week's edition of Guam Diner Bytes, which happens to be this year's final newsletter, we will bid adieu to 2009 and welcome 2010 by listing the top 10 newsletter reviews of 2009. And, we have details on a few new restaurants igniting taste buds with exciting meals.

Traditionally during the Christmas issue we have included images reflecting the season, notably the annual Christmas Train in the Hilton's Lobby which is inexplicably absent this year. We were delighted, however, to find an amazing Gingerbread House creation by Guam Plaza Hotel's Executive Chef, Takuhiko Kishimoto, while having lunch at Sushi Ebisu. Fumiya Nakamura, Ebisu's owner, told us that this entirely edible Christmas Gingerbread house was given to him by Kishimoto to celebrate the Christmas holidays and to share the joy with customers. One can't help but marvel at Chef Kishimoto's handiwork in making ornamental seashells with sugar frosting!

Merry Christmas to all and may you enjoy a safe, exciting, and prosperous New Year!

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy" and the staff!

GFG Hosts K57 "Tourism & You" Food Guy Show
Saturday December 18, 2009

Listen up this Saturday morning for the Guam Food Guy segment of K57's "Tourism & You" Show, from 10am-Noon. Guests for the first hour will include Sabitha Sripathi, owner of the newly-opened Indian Kitchen in the Chamorro Village, and Executive Chef Andreas Lorenz, Westin's Director of F&B in charge of Kitchens. Andreas was the Mentor Chef of the award-winning GW Pro-Start Team that was recently featured on the Food Network with Guy Fieri.

Our second hour guest will be Toshie Ito, owner/founder of Motiva Training & Consulting , who will join me in a very compelling discussion on customer service training, work force empowerment, and related topics. She will also discuss some of the upcoming training seminars planned in conjunction with the Guam Hotel & Restaurant Association for 2010. Feel free to participate by calling *57 on your cell phone or 477-5757. I'm sure we are going to have a lively conversation and restaurants are one thing that everyone has an opinion about!

Indian Kitchen
#166 Chamorro Village
(for Party Orders and Pre-Orders)

Wow! Watch out, Guam! Things are really spicing up at the Chamorro Village with the arrival of the Indian Kitchen, a brand new eatery that opened this week.

Located between Nit's Thai Cuisine and the Balutan Shack, Indian Kitchen is a welcome relief to many who enjoy Indian cuisine but are unable to travel all the way up to Tamuning to eat at Curry Kebab for lunch. "Lunch" is the operative word here since Indian Kitchen is only open for lunch (Mon-Fri, from 10:30am-3pm) with Wednesday having extended hours of 10:30am-9pm.

The other operative word should be "fast", since Indian Kitchen is geared to produce an Indian meal quickly as in fast food. There is some preparation involved and owner Sabitha Sripathi has ingeniously created a simple menu featuring two daily lunch specials and a variety of a la carte meals using six signature curries along with your choice of meat, seafood, or vegetables.

I got the "memo" early so was one of the early adapters in trying out this fascinating new Indian fast food concept. The specials of the day written on a large white board were Fish Curry (South Indian ) with steamed rice, yoghurt, cucumber, Chat salad and Stir Fried String Beans ($6) and Fish Curry (South Indian) with steamed rice, yoghurt, cucumber, Chat salad, Stir Fried String Beans and Chappati (Indian Wheat Bread) for $7.

I did the $7 special and then also ordered one of the a la carte Curry Specials - Tikka Masala with Shrimp for $9.50. You should be prepared for about a 10 minute or so wait for the a la carte items since there's more preparation time required. It's worth the wait (or you can order in advance).

The food is delicious! Though I wanted to take the food home for lunch, I started the Fish Curry and was captivated by the awesome flavor of the moist and flaky Basa filet that was generously used in this dish. The cucumbers in yoghurt refreshed the palate. I also enjoyed the crunchy freshness of the green string beans. The surprise I didn't expect was how good the fresh cooked Chappati tasted! Originally from North India, Chappati is a flat unleavened bread made of wheat flour and grilled like a tortilla. It sells for $1.50 a la carte and the Papad (cracker) is $1. I had this thin crispy Indian wafer made from lentils and it really has a peppered kick to it!

The Tikka Masala with Shrimp was spicier than the special, and I believe it was a Goan coconut curry ("smooth as silk") made with onions, coconut milk and whole roasted spices. The shrimp are small but plentiful though I personally would prefer larger, meatier shrimp (I'd sacrifice quantity for size), and there's plenty of white steamed rice which is not Basmati, but does the job.

Indian Kitchen features the following sauces: Tikka Masala, Vindaloo, Kurma, Madras Curry, Goan Coconut Curry, and Rogan Josh, with each having its own flavor, spice and heat profile. Meat options include Chicken, Lamb, Fish, and Shrimp. They have a vegetarian option, too. Though this little food stand is still in its infancy, and still needs to weather the test of time, I give it two thumbs up for originality, taste, and for creating a niche in the market place.

Seafood Dynasty Chinese Restaurant
Tumon (next to Flowers by Tand and across from GVB)

If I'd known earlier that Chef Jackie Li was here, I'd have been there since day one! Seafood Dynasty is causing quite a sensation and stir amongst the Chinese community - if you drive by at night you will notice the full parking lot with a good number of luxury cars. Oddly, this same location has been occupied by a few other Chinese restaurants that didn't get quite the attention. It's all about Jackie Li, who I first encountered in my February 2004 review of his former restaurant, Fast Wok. He's better than good - he's great.

This place has a rather shoddy interior with no frills and fanfare, nor the ornate and elaborate decorations that you see in fancier establishments. All the effort and passion goes on the plate and in the food. Highlights of our dinner visit were the Salt and Pepper Shrimp ($10), the Chicken of General Cho ($8), Chinese Spinach ($8), Beef Fried Flat Noodle in Canton Style ($10), and Roast Duck (half $13/whole $24).

Jackie's Salt & Pepper Shrimp have some of the best-tasting sweet white onions stir-fried with chilis, green onions, garlic, and peppers. This is a very spicy and aromatic dish while the shrimp are plump, juicy and large.

Although the Chicken of General Cho has some controversy over its Chinese roots (there are claims that is more of an American invention), it has been said to be a cross-between Hunan and Sichuan cuisine styles, being sweet and hot and spicy. My first bite abated my fear of too much heat from the large chili peppers on the plate - it was very balanced and quite good. This is best eaten immediately when served.

The Beef Fried Flat Noodles were also very well-prepared, with an addictive taste which did not come from MSG as we had requested no MSG in all preparations. The Roast Duck was alright though not as good as I've had at Lee Garden. We noticed other guests' tables and some had whole fish (Steamed Lapu Lapu). Seafood Dynasty has 50 (yes, 50!) lunch specials priced at $5.95 each, with Beef, Chicken, Pork, Seafood, Vegetable and Fried Rice dishes, with lunch served daily from 11am-2:30pm. My dream is to return here with a small group so we can share many other dishes and maybe have the whole fish and live crab.

Hopefully I won't have to wait too long!

Guam Food Guy's Top 10 Reviews for 2009

The useful thing about lists is that they give people an easy-to-follow guide of places to try especially if they haven't been there yet or are new to Guam. Unfortunately, lists are by nature limited, and don't give a full representation of the numerous excellent options not on the list.

The reviews and/or newsletters are listed in chronological order so their placement is not based on any particular ranking. I hope you have an opportunity to experience these places and that you like them as much as I did!

GuamDiner Bytes for January 16, 2009 - Palms Resort Saipan Dining Delights, Saipan's Unique Aglaia Restaurant, Hot Diggety Dog is Smokin' Hot and Gabriel's House of Pasta Celebrates Two Years!
January 16th, 2009, Volume 9 Number 2

GuamDiner Bytes for February 27, 2009 - Team GW Wins, UOG/MCA Chef's Cup Competition Announced, PROA Fish Story, Colors/Red Burger, Nit's Thai, HRC Smokehouse, First Look at Guangzhou
February 27th, 2009, Volume 9 Number 5

Guam Diner Newsletter for April 24, 2009 - 7th Annual Green Door Dinner, Shioti Shines, Great Korean Fare at Chung Gai Wa & Meskla Chamoru Fusion Bistro - A 'Divine' Mix
April 24th, 2009, Volume 9 Number 9

Guam Diner Bytes for May 22, 2009 - Support Your Local Restaurants, The President (Nippon), Margarita's, Ebisu, Roy's, Flamingo, Tony Roma's
May 22nd, 2009, Volume 9 Number 11

Guam Diner Bytes for June 5, 2009 - Taste of the Mariana's Report & Winners, SyAqua Shrimp Farms, Jan Z's Back on Top, Feeregalo Fine Dining Lunch, Chatan-ke Okinawan
June 5th, 2009, Volume 9 Number 12

Guam Diner Bytes for June 19, 2009 - Around the Island, Mango Festival, taste Opens, Marriott Cafe Dim Sum Wednesdays, Tumon Bay Lobster & Grill, Kanda's Corner plus Infusion Coffee & Tea Opens
June 19th, 2009, Volume 9 Number 13

Guam Diner Bytes for July 17, 2009 - Ebisu Lobster Night, Mermaid Tavern Lunch, Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream Fondue (you have to see this picture!), Shioti Lunch, Giovanni's Cibo e Vino, Meskla & GuangZhou
July 17th, 2009, Volume 9 Number 15

GuamDinerBytes for Sept. 25, 2009 - Out 'n About, Stanley Passes, New Burger King, Thapanee Thai, Gyoza Yatai, New Menu at La Mirenda, Manhattan Steakhouse Dine & Ride IV Feast
September 25th, 2009, Volume 9 Number 20

GuamDinerBytes for Oct 9, 2009 - Upcoming Events: Fundraisers, Oktoberfests; Bistro's Amazing Sunday Champagne Brunch, Nanay's, Vitale's Remodels, Shioti, Merloj Lunch Specials
October 9th, 2009, Volume 9 Number 21

GuamDinerBytes for Dec 4, 2009 - Chelsea's Grand Guam Adventure, Chopstix in Hagatna, Nana's, Joinus & Kalena's
December 4th, 2009, Volume 9 Number 25

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

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