Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
I am grateful for this day and for everyday that I live...that is a blessing we all share and for which we should be grateful! Last Saturday I had a fall that really put some things in my life in perspective. I am thankful that my injury was not life-threatening, though it was close and I have five staples on my head to remind me of my close call. July has been a very busy month for me and I have many adventures that I still need to share including my first visit to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. in Saipan, as well as my recent walk-through of the elaborate new Kensington Resort Saipan. As you can see, I am spending more time in Saipan which is undergoing a significant growth spurt due to major investments by developers in the tourism industry. Along with the new hotels and casino, it is amazing to drive down Beach Road in Garapan and see a new iHop that's packed with local residents! Next to iHop a Ajisen Ramen Shop is about to open! A new high profile Teppanyaki restaurant called Zen has opened in the middle of Garapan's tourist district across from Country House! On Guam Chef Peter Duenas has opened up his second Meskla Dos Restaurant in Tumon's Pleasure Island across from the Reef Hotel & Olive Spa. King's Restaurant in Tamuning is closed for renovation. Things are really hopping with plans to expand and renovate being revealed every week!
It is an exciting time to be living in the Marianas! Let's keep this momentum going forward!
Ken the Guam Food Guy
Adios, Chris Bejado
Founder/Co-Owner PROA RESTAURANT
The island has recently lost one of its most successful and innovative restaurant entrepreneurs, Christopher "Chris" Bejado. He was the quintessential Renaissance man...a can-do and did-do achiever with his hands and heart involved in numerous projects. There are many titles and labels one can ascribe to Chris, though he never let his fame go to his head. He was humble and a man of faith who loved his family, his work, his employees, and his island. We at GuamDiner.com were fiercely devoted fans, supporters, and champions of PROA from its inception in 2006 & 2007. They created their famous Marianas Glaze and coined the descriptive phrase "Marianas Regional Cuisine" to differentiate them from traditional Chamoru cuisine. Their red rice and finadene were truly Chamoru! Whenever Chris would walk into a room he would raise everyone's spirits with his broad smile and sincere greetings. His smiles were contagious! For those of you who never knew him you can see part of his legacy in the thriving enterprise he and his partner, Chef Geoffrey Perez, created. Our deepest condolences to his wife, Cora and his daughters Natalie, Kacey, and Camille. They are the best part of his legacy! We are all better people for having Chris in our lives! Our beautiful, noble island brother, Chris! Adios!
Hours: Monday - Friday 10:30 AM - 2:30 PM, 3:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Saturday - 10:30 AM - 8 PM
There are some places on Guam that one should not miss - one of those places is Poki-Fry House. I am probably one of a small handful of people who had not yet tried Poki-Fry House until recently. I was "challenged" to go try it by Chef Peter Duenas, whose brother Bryan is Poki-Fry House's Operations Manager. This place is in a rather unusual spot (the Agana Pool), which is a place you don't really think about going to eat, swim maybe yes, but eat...not likely. That's the beauty of this place, though, which is being different and thinking way out of the box and into the bowl...the Poki Bowl at that!!
The colors of the interior are the same cheerful bright vermilion with blue and aquamarine tones. Many of the original pool signs have been restored and are used to decorate the walls along with polished wooden surfboards that are tagged with stickers, emblems, and logos. A big giant yellow fin tuna greets you on the wall. I liked this place immediately, and elected to sit down after I ordered my early dinner from Stoni who was working behind the counter. Good thing Chef Peter suggested what I should order since the menu was so large I would have probably ordered way too much to eat! They have Poki Bowls, Sandwiches, Tacos, Rice Bowls, Salads, and Gourmet Fries...nearly 50 items from which to choose!!!
I ordered the Tokyo Fries (French Fries topped with house aioli and bulldog sauce - $7.00) and the Pig Bowl (Crispy Pork Belly with Asian Sauce on top of Rice - $10.95). I also ordered a Coconut Water ($2.50). The Tokyo Fries really surprised me...they were absolutely delicious...better than how I'm used to eating French Fries...they were cheesy and had bonito flakes with green onions and the house aioli and bulldog sauce...there was the unmistakable Japanese flavor I recall from the sauce used on Tako-yaki! The portion was huge (enough for two people)!
The Pig Bowl sounds rather unappealing but again, this is a place of unexpected surprises! This was "out-of-the-park" delicious! Maybe not the healthiest choice on the menu but darn near the tastiest!! The Crispy Pork Belly pieces are large and meaty, and they are drizzled with a tangy Asian Sauce. There were so many pieces I had to take the leftover home. I am also not a big rice eater, so I had left a lot of rice in my bowl, focusing on the meat.
I had talked to Bryan's partner, Kevin, who was kind enough to let me sample two of their poki selections (they have 10 flavors). The ones I tried were the Fijian Poki , which has Fijian style (raw) tuna with coconut/tomato, cilantro & onions. In the Poki Bowl, this is served over rice and priced at $10.45. A side of Poki by itself ($9.00 for 1/2 lb) except for Salmon, Shrimp, and Crab. This Fijian Poki was delicious...the coconut and cilantro were magical.
The other Poki I tried was the Spicy Tuna which has a spicy Japanese Sauce that's a little pika. This is more of a traditional poki tradition, just like the Hawaiian Poki. I know I will need to go back and get my Poki on, along with another variety/type of gourmet fries - like the German Fries and the Hot Fries, both of which are spicy. The Ika (squid) salad sounds interesting. I also now have a place I can order take-out for a party - they sell Poki by the pound (any Marlin or Tuna)!
Thai House Restaurant
"Authentic Thai Cuisine"
Hours: 11:00 PM - 2:00 PM, 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Here I was in Saipan and had a chance to spend a little casual time with my good friend, Gabriele Colombo, Executive Chef of the Hyatt Regency Saipan. We had stopped by the DFS Saipan's Galleria which was celebrating its 40th Anniversary and they had a VIP Soiree which the Hyatt Regency Saipan had catered. Chef Colombo and I decided to go try somewhere different and went to Thai House, which has just recently re-opened after being closed for 11 months due to extensive damage caused by Typhoon Soudelor. You can see from the pictures in this collage how devastated this place was nearly a year ago. The Chef, Bang-On Kanthuk, is in one of the photos. She and General Manager Jack Hudak had spent nearly 11 months rebuilding, and they still aren't finished.
We ordered an appetizer, Pah Pea Todd (Spring Rolls - $8.95). These are fried and not fresh, so be warned! They are tasty and filled with fresh julienne mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, bean sprouts, ground beef, and glass noodles, wrapped in a crispy rice paper. They are served with a special Thai dipping sauce. You should also be aware that these are plentiful and enough for four people!!
The next thing I ordered was the Yahm Woonsen Kung (a savory Thai Salad,- $9.95), with the "Kung" designating Shrimp. I love this refreshing palate tingling salad since it has seasoned shrimp combined with glass noodles and a delightful blend of tomatoes, onions, crushed peanuts and fresh lemon juice. We ordered this medium spicy.
The third thing I ordered was one of my all time favorites, Phad Kra Praow Mhoo (Basil) for $7.95. I ordered this Thai Style with two eggs on top. The "Mhoo" stands for Pork, and this is minced and stir-fried with bamboo shoots, garlic cloves, fresh basil. This was ordered hot/spicy and when this came out we had to order another round of beers because my ears were turning red!!
At the time we tried Thai House they were on a CASH basis. They are awaiting the credit card machine to be connected, which should be soon. The food is quite good and I am looking forward to enjoying a larger selection of their authentic Thai food!
FIZZ & CO
114 Agana Shopping Center Rt. 4
Congratulations to the owners of FIZZ & CO on their successful relocation of their business on Rt 4 to this choice spot in the Agana Shopping Center. I had stopped in one day a few weeks ago after ordering my favorite Lamb Shwarma at Dr. Kabab's, which is right next door. I promised I'd come back and indulge because this place begs that to happen...you are literally compelled to indulge...you don't want to order anything that says "Diet"!!!
Their menu is extensive and then some, and full of temptations! The delicious Sandwiches include Grilled Cheese ($4.00), P.B.& Banana (an Elvis Presley favorite), Tuna, Turkey, Ham, Roast Beef, Corned Beef & Pastrami. All sandwiches include lettuce, onions, and tomatoes with your choice of regular, garlic, or spicy mayo on white or wheat bread! They have Paninis (the Classic Rueben for $9.00)! They have sides like Cup of Chili or Chili & Rice ($6.00), as well as Salads and a bunch of ice cream treats like Sundaes, Waffle Sundaes, and Banana Splits! I haven't even gotten to the sodas and shakes!
Where I got the most temptation was the B.Y.O.B (build your own burger) for $7.50! You follow a complete order form by choosing your patty - either 100% Angus Beef or Turkey. Then you go step by step for your choice of bun (Regular, Sesame Seed, Texas Toast, and even Lettuce)! Add your choice of Cheese (five choices - add $0.75), and your sauces (hot fiery mustard or spicy mayo, or just Ketchup and Mustard), and more toppings - some free and some will cost you $0.50 like Dinanche and Jalapenos. For a $1 more you can get Hickory Smoked Bacon, Avocado, and Caramelized Onions or Pico de Gallo. For $4.00 more you can make it a COMBO, which includes fries and a soda.
I ordered a Calamansi juice for my beverage...while I waited at the counter I was once again tempted by the little ice cream signs (Dreyer's) and the fountain machines, so I had to order a BARREL OF BLACK MUDD (Chocolate Milkshake) for $4.75 (includes Whipped Cream)! Oh well, I had already come this far; might as well go all the way!
The Burger took a while to be served...at least 15 minutes. I did like the Sesame bun and the patty was thick and juicy and hot. The fries were well-seasoned but didn't have much temperature...they were crisp but not hot.I did tell my server. Talia, who promised to tell her bosses they need to get a warmer of some type to keep their fries hot! The tomato was red and flavorful, the red onion sliced right, the Colby Jack cheese melted properly and abundant, and the whole thing found a home in my hands and finally in my mouth! This burger is well-made and ranks up there with some of the other island burgers (better than many others that cost more!).
I am glad I came by Fizz & CO this day...it is a place that lets you be yourself...an old fashioned American-style diner with hot dogs and root beer floats...comic books and super heroes...where dreams are made true and burgers & milk shakes satisfy your cravings!
Bon appetit! Ken the GFG