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November 21, 2014, Volume 14 Number 24

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

It's almost "T" day on Guam and there's still so much to do to get ready! Have you made your reservations for Thanksgiving Day Brunch or Dinner? Or have you ordered your complete Turkey or Ham Thanksgiving Day Dinner to Go? We do have choices, right? That's more than I can say for that poor "turkey" who is still waiting to get a Presidential reprieve!

Everyone I know seems to be astonished by just how quickly 2014 has come and gone! Living on Guam and in the islands has changed some of our perceptions about time. We don't really experience the four seasons, which is one way of measuring time progressing through the seasons. We also stay very busy, or maybe it just seems that we are super busy. Busy or not, we are constantly moving forward in time, and maybe it's just aging that makes time appear to be accelerating! "Whew!" I guess I better go buy a ticket to see that new movie about the life of physicist Stephen Hawking ("The Theory of Everything"). Maybe that'll help me find an answer to slowing down time!

In the meantime, our GuamDiner staff and I would like to wish each and every one of you and your families a very special and heartfelt Thanksgiving Day celebration!

Ken the Guam Food Guy

Taste of Shanghai
Islander Terrace
Guam Hilton Resort & Spa
November 20 - 24, 2014
6:00 - 9:30 p.m.
$40.00/adult, $20.00/Children + S.C. (includes free-flowing Tsingtao Beer)

If you love spicy food as I do, then you'll love tasting your way through the myriad of exotic, Sichuan-spiced dishes prepared by visiting guest Chef Xie Zheng Jie, from the Shanghai Hilton. This is no ordinary Chinese buffet, rather it is a celebration focusing on Sichuan cuisine, which has not really been available on Guam for a number of years (not since the days of Sichuan Kitchen).

Among the dishes you can expect to find here are Hot and Sour Seafood Soup, Fried King Prawn with Minced Meat and Sichuan Spicy Soya Sauce, Fried Fish Fillet with Sichuan Sweet and Sour Sauce, Sichuan Bamboo Scallops and Shrimp, Marinated Chicken with Spicy Sichuan Sauce, Fried Green Beans with Minced Meat and Pickles, Gong Bao Style Fried Diced Chicken with Cashew Nuts, Sichuan Pepper, and Chilis, Dan Dan Noodle, Sticky Dumpling stuffed with Sesame Puree Served with Peanut Dipping Sauce, Numb and Spicy Tofu with Minced Meat, and Breaded Beef Steak with Chopped Chili, Onion, Chive, and Coriander Served with Spicy Sauce. Unfortunately, they don't have the Camphor Wood and Tea Smoked Duck that many were hoping to try.

Not to worry, there's more than enough delicious food available and I can assure you that you will walk away "sweating" from the heat that will numb your lips! Moreover, by dining here you are entitled to enter a drawing that could win you a trip to Shanghai! Ni hao!

"Akimatsuri" Japan Autumn Festival
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Governor Joseph Flores Beach Park (Ypao Beach)
2:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Be sure you don't miss the Japan Club of Guam's 35th Annual Japan Autumn Festival this coming Saturday. It is a spectacular and fun event for the entire family, with Free Admission. Of course, you will need to purchase script booklets that will enable you to purchase a variety of cooked Japanese foods and beverages available throughout the many stalls that will be open by local businesses and restaurants. There are also toys and gift items available for purchase and an exciting line-up of entertainment, including music and dance performances. One of the most exciting highlights of the Autumn Festival (which is celebrated to wish everyone good health, abundance, and happiness) is the "Mikoshi" parade. Club members carry the ornate Mikoshi shrine around the park chanting and marching to the rhythm of the drums and music. It is an age-old Shinto ritual to sooth the spirits (kami) by interacting with the living. Every year this special cultural event seems to get bigger and more active. Take plenty of photos and bring a strong tote bag - you may end up buying a lot of produce and other goodies!

MCA Salon Culinaire 2014 Winners

Congratulations to Francis Olivares of Sea Grill, Ernie Merfalen from Meskla Chamoru Fusion, and Peter Duenas, President of the Micronesian Chefs Association, created the winning entrees during the Micronesia Chef's Association Salon Culinaire 2014 held Wednesday, November 19, in the GCC Culinary Arts Kitchen arena. The annual event creates opportunity for the development of chefs on Guam, and Chef Duenas noted that he has "never been more proud" of the caliber of a competition.

31 junior chefs entered the Junior Chef's competition, during which the chefs had an hour and a half to prepare a main course from a box of mystery ingredients that included pork tenderloin, shrimp, sweet potato, okra, and Anchor Culinary Cream and Anchor Butter.

Junior Chef Category Winners:
1st place: Francis Olivares, Sea Grill Restaurant
2nd place: Leann Lusung, Meskla Chamoru Fusion (and a member of the 2013 Simon Sanchez High School National Champion ProStart Team)
3rd place: Aron Paul Ocampo, Westin Resort Guam

In the Professional Chef's category, nine chefs from island restaurants competed to see who could create the best main course from a Mystery box containing a Lamb Rack, Lobster Tail, Pumpkin Tips, Kabocha Squash, Bitter Melon, Anchor Cream and Anchor Butter, all within one hour.

Professional Chef Category winners:
1st place: Ernie Merfalen, Executive Chef at Meskla Chamoru Fusion Bistro
2nd place: Darren Dragon, Executive Sous Chef, PIC
3rd place: Cristiano Pozzi, Chef de Cuisine, Al Dente, Hyatt Regency Guam

Only six chefs competed in the Master Chefs "Chopped" competition, during which the chefs had only 30 minutes to prepare their mystery box main course with the following ingredients: Tataga (Kala) fish, Octopus (tako) Chinese Broccoli, Chinese Preserved Egg, Canned Hollandaise, Grand Marnier, Anchor Butter and Anchor Cream.

Master Chef Category winners:
1st place: Chef Peter Duenas, MCA President, owner, Meskla Chamorro Fusion
2nd place: Chef Eddie Chien, Executive Chef/owner, Delmonico's Kitchen & Bar
3rd place: Chef Paul Kerner, GCC Culinary Arts Program head instructor

The competition was hosted by the Micronesian Chefs Association at the GCC Culinary Arts kitchen, and sponsored by Micronesian Brokers Inc., and Fonterra, with support from Triple J Five Star, Guam Farmer's Co-Op, UOG Cooperative Extension Service, Farm to Table, and Ambros. Everyone competing in this event was a winner for just showing up! It was also great to have Barry Mead participate as a floor judge! It was Barry's dream and vision to have this culinary academy program at Guam Community College! Thanks to the staff and administration at Guam Community College for helping make this annual event a success.

Napu Restaurant
Tamuning (next to Roasted)
Hours: Mon - Sat 11 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
5:30 - 9:00 p.m.
Sun - 11 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

It was late Sunday morning (just past 11:30 ) and we needed some place to eat close to my Tamuning office where I was working. I called Napu and suggested to Zee we try this place on Sunday, since I confirmed they were open. I like their unique salad bar that's loaded with local produce and interesting pickled treats. Unfortunately, the salad bar is not available on Sunday, only Saturday and weekdays.

Nonetheless we ordered the Garlicky Chicken Wings ($7.95/6 pcs) as a starter, and Zee decided to try the special that owner Christine Mortera recommended. It was a Taco Trio ($14.00). For me, I was in a mood for an egg and meat, so instead of getting a Loco Moco, I decided to get Nina's Special Loaf ($13.50) and to have an egg put on top of it for $1.25 more! I have had Nena's Special meat loaf and it's always great for extending beyond one meal! The Garlicky Wings are garlic laden and just tasty enough to quell you appetizer hunger pangs.

Zee's Taco's were interesting. One was Salmon, the other was Mahi, and the third had Poke. There was a salsa and also fried flour tortilla chips. The tacos were wrapped in soft flour tortillas. All three were good enough to order more if we were hungry. We didn't like the fried flour tortillas...corn would have been better.

I was in meat loaf heaven Nena's has two large chunks of tasty meat smothered in a savory brown gravy with mushrooms and sliced green onions. This was pure comfort food! Moreover, Christine came by after bringing me some Tabasco and asked if I'd wanted some Dinanche! Did I ever!! They have an awesome dinanche!! It elevated that meatloaf to a whole new level of flavor!! I did have one whole piece little leftover (I ate all the sauteed sprouts and skipped the rice). I made that Meat Loaf stretch for two more days for breakfast and basked each top with that savory dinanche!! Yum! Get to Napu Restaurant for some down home comfort food...they even have party platters available so you can share their good eats with all your friends and co-workers!

Chesa Guam (new location, across Untalan Middle School)
Route 10
Hours: 6 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. Mondays - Thursdays
6 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. - Fridays
10 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. - Saturdays
Closed on Sundays

Chesa Guam's new location has ample parking and is elevated from the road, affording some protection from the traffic. I was hungry and stopped by to see if anything had changed. They have a lot more counter space and more seats and tables. Plus, the place was much brighter with more daylight coming in through the windows. The Friday Lunch special was on a large screen. They had Carne Asada Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp ($10.75), Smoked Beef ($10.75), Smoked Pork ($9.50), and BBQ Ribs for $8.75. You could get any two of these for $11.50, so I ordered the Smoked Beef and BBQ Ribs. I saw another special, the Lemai Bowl with Smoked Beef for $8.75. Another customer was raving about it after he realized I was the Guam Food time!!

My meal came with the pickled cabbage so I also got the Gollai Hagun Suni (savory spinach stewed in coconut milk), which was also very richly flavored. Though I am working hard to restrict my rice intake, Chesa Guam's red rice is the bomb!! It is so tasty that you have to have at least three bites...! The smoked beef was awesome (especially with Chesa Guam's award-winning dinanche!!). The Ribs were meaty (smoked as well). I did manage to take one home for a next day meal.

I'm glad Chesa Guam is still in business and putting out some excellent Chamorro food. We need a place like this to satisfy those kelaguen longings!!

Asu Smokehouse
Chamorro Village (across entrance to Paseo Stadium)
Hours: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. (Mon - Fri)
Wednesday - Open 'til 9 p.m.

There are cravings that you sometimes can't control. One of them is the allure of slow-cooked smoked meat that's fork tender and falls of the bone. The only place that serves melt-in-your-mouth beef brisket is Asu Smokehouse, in the Chamorro Village. I have not been able to get there enough (maybe it's better for my health), but when I did go with my pare, Joe B., we ordered the Pork Rib and Beef Brisket Combination plate, and I had no rice(just more salad). We also ordered a container of their dinanche (what's with this...I must be dinanche crazy?). Asu's is pika I can only handle it in small doses! They also provide bbq sauce. Our timing for being able to have meat available was good this day, since it was Wednesday (Chamorro Village's Wednesday Night Market) so Asu was prepping for the evening crowd (big money maker for them). Asu runs out of meat quite often during their regular (non Night Market) days. Why do they run out of meat you ask? Just look at all the BBQ Competition trophies they've won lining up on the counter where you order. That's why!!

Casa Bonita - Salvadorian Eatery
Chamorro Village - next to Asu Smokehouse

Okay Everyone! This is your opportunity to beat the Guam Food Guy! I have not been able to get to this place to eat yet! I saw it Wednesday last week and promised myself I'd return. It's a new restaurant serving Salvadorian and Mexican cuisine. They have Burritos, Tacos, Enchiladas, Fajitas, Quesadillas, and Tamales (they look awesome in their photos). They sell a la carte or platos (plates). They are open Monday - Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 4 pm. and Wednesday from 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.

I can't always be first and I don't want to be the last! I talked to the owner of this little eatery and he is such a nice and gentle man who has been on Guam for a few years and has worked for other people. Now he's on his own and show-casing his passion! They have the cutest miniature kiosk hut replica built sitting on their counter! It even has miniature potted plants! The colors are intriguing! The food must be magical!! Let me know if it's as good as it sounds and looks!

Muchas Gracias!
Ken the Guam Food Guy

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