Archive for the ‘Buffet’ Category

Kahala introduces curry winner

October 28th, 2011

Nadine Kam photosA beautiful array of crab claws and mussels topped the Thai green seafood curry. part of the Kahala Hotel & Resort’s weekly lunchtime International Curry Bazaar.

The Kahala Hotel & Resort augmented its popular Wednesday International Curry Bazaar all-you-can-eat buffet with the Oct. 26 unveiling of its “All in the Family Curry Contest” winner, whose dish will be among the curries featured from noon to 3 p.m. every Wednesday in November at the Plumeria Beach House.

Contestants entered a favorite curry recipe via Facebook or Twitter, and Noella Monteiro won with her grandmother’s recipe for yellow shrimp curry. The Pakistani recipe is saturated with turmeric and spices that was toned down for mass appeal. Those who like their curries hot were welcome to add more chili to the dishes, as well as condiments specific to the various styles of curry. To accompany Monteiro’s curry, there was toasted, shredded coconut, cranberries, peanuts and raisins.

An Punjab-style chicken-spinach curry came with options of mint and mango chutney and cucumber-mint raita.

Lanterns graced the Indian curry table at The Plumeria Beach House at the Kahala Hotel & Resort, home to a popular lunchtime curry buffet.

The contests celebrates family tradition, which is also true to the Kahala’s philosophy of sharing the flavors of the kama’aina table. A Thai seafood curry was based on an intern’s family recipe, and the recipe for Japanese beef curry is that of executive chef Wayne Hirabayashi’s mother … or at least the basic recipe came from his mom. He admits to having played with it over the years, for example, adding more vegetables as he grew to appreciate vegetables more.

In talking with the chef, he realized that the curry played a big part in his early culinary forays. He said he would often think of ways to improve on recipes for curries and hamburgers, giving his mom suggestions of “adding a little salt here, a little pepper there.”

He said he didn’t realize at the time, but he was learning how to blend flavors and adapt recipes to his taste, learning that he could add sweetness to a dish not by simply adding straight sugar, but maybe a little bit of apple for subtlety.

The buffet, with curries that change every few weeks, includes soup du jour, and a selection of salads and desserts, and is priced at $30 per person (tax and gratuity additional). For reservations, call  739-8760, or e-mail Reservations are also taken at

The Kahala’s executive chef Wayne Hirabayashi shared his mother’s recipe for Japanese beef curry with kabocha, carrots and shiitake. He enjoys this curry with condiments of takuan, pickled ginger and tsukemono.

Noella Monteiro was the winner of the hotel’s curry reccipe contest, sharing her grandmother’s recipe for yellow shrimp curry. Her prize is two nights in an ocean view room at The Kahala, dinner for two at Hoku’s and breakfast in the Plumeria Beach House.

I arranged a small sampling of the four curries offered on my plate. Each had its own condiments. Monteiro’s, at front right, could be dressed with peanuts, cranberries and toasted coconut.

Around the world at Kahala

March 16th, 2011

Nadine Kam photos

A view from inside the Plumeria Beach House toward the ocean, al fresco tables and musicians.

The Kahala Hotel & Resorts hosted the second of its “Kahala Restaurants Present: Island Heritage Cuisine” in the Plumeria Beach House on March 12, with an international array of appetizers, salads, entrees and desserts in a buffet reflecting the way various cuisines came together to become island favorites.

The selections are forever linked to Hawaii’s history of plantation labor, and the Chinese, Filipino, Hawaiian, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese dishes represent the ethnic backgrounds of executive chef Wayne Hirabayashi and his team of chefs. Although the circumstances of our ancestors were trying, what’s left is a remarkable food legacy ingrained in our culture.

The amount and array of food offered was so vast that one has to make a tour of the room and come up with a strategy for making the most of the buffet without overdoing it. For me, it meant starting with dishes that I don’t see every day, like salt cod-stuffed Portuguese bread and caldo verde, a delicious soup of chorizo, kale and diced potatoes.

Prawns sinigang with New Caledonia prawns, tamarind, squash and eggplant.

I was also tempted by the Philippines section with its old-style prawns sinigang and braised oxtail kare kare. I think a lot of people are still wary about Filipino cuisine so those dishes were barely touched, but they were among the best dishes available that night. Also amazing to me were the amazingly compact Korea bi bim bap, molded musubi style, so the meat and veggie fillings were inside the crisped rice!

Oxtail kare kare, and below, shrimp paste that accompanied the Filipino dishes.

It added up to an educational experience for some of the visitors there, like a tourist in the Japan section, who, studying the hasu, kabocha and assorted tsukemono, asked of one item, what’s that?

“Taro,” I said. “What’s that?” she asked again.

That’s something that doesn’t require an explanation for locals.

A noodle bar allowed diners to pick their own ingredients for a stir-fry.

The next event, taking place 6:30 to 10 p.m. April 9 will be themed “Buns and Dumplings,” with another selection of dishes from around the world, with staples of salads, raw bar, cheese tray and desserts. The cost is $75 plus tax and 20 percent gratuity per adult, and $37.50 plus tax and 20 percent gratuity per child age 4 to 12.

Hasu in the Japan section of the buffet.


Here’s what will be on the menu on April 9:

Cold selections: Chinese chicken salad, salmon tofu salad, Waimanalo greens, chopped romaine, tomato mozzarella, domestic and imported cheese platter.

Raw bar: Assorted nigiri sushi; California, spicy ahi, unagi and maki rolls; inari sushi; ahi sashimi; ahi, tako and mussel poke; oysters, crab claws and shrimp on ice.

Buns and dumplings: Vegetable Samosas, fried masa bun with pulled beef cheeks, kalua pig paroshki, duck and mochi rice dumpling with Asian gremolata, imperial scallop soup buns, har gau and vegetarian pot stickers.

Hot pans: Black truffle gnocchi, chicken and dumplings, monk fish dumplings in consommé, and grilled catch with mochi rice lup cheong dumplings.

Carving station: Prime rib of beef au jus with horseradish buns, roast duck and roast pork with buns, and lemon-bacon roast chicken with rosemary buns.

Desserts: Seasonal whole and sliced fruits, ube and coconut ice cream sandwiches, pineapple turnovers, apricot “ravioli” cookies, blueberry panna cotta, chocolate dobash Cake, haupia cake, strawberry Napoleons, Kona coffee profiteroles, stuffed marshmallows, brownies and blondies, and bun pudding with crème Anglaise.

Desserts available March 12 included the resort’s specialty Kahalasadas with lilikoi sugar, and above, Portuguese custard cream, chocolate and matcha green tea torte.

Chocolate fans were delighted by jasmine tea-infused pots de creme.

Fixings for halo halo included tapioca pearls, ube, toasted coconut, red beans and cantaloupe.

Fresh fruit was pretty enough to lure those that might normally choose more sinful desserts.