Archive for the ‘Banquet’ Category

Hawaii Mainland Chinese celebrate spring

February 2nd, 2011

Nadine Kam photos
Amy Zhang was one of two winners of a stuffed rabbit during the Hawaii Mainland Chinese Overseas Association’s elebration of the Year of the Rabbit at Empress Restaurant.

The Hawaii Mainland Chinese Overseas Association marked the start of the lunar new year with its annual Spring Festival Banquet on Jan. 30.

About 700 people packed Empress Restaurant in the Chinatown Cultural Plaza for a four-hour dinner that included many speeches, lion dances and entertainment that ranged from martial arts demonstrations by the Hawaii Wushu Center, to opera by Bai He, a magic show by Reyn Nishizuka, piano solo by 2010 Narcissus Queen Angie Zhang, and folk dance by current Narcissus Queen Ningjin Miao.

The informal association marks a way for Mainland Chinese to commiserate about home while in Hawaii, and even though I started studying Mandarin, I didn’t understand much of what they were saying on stage, but I’m sure it was all about health, happiness, luck and prosperity in the new year, the things Chinese—and perhaps others—everywhere prize.

A dish of shredded duck and vegetables in a taro basket was created to celebrate the spring season.

Peking duck skin was a brittle, crackling good treat, served with the requisite bao, hoisin sauce and green onions.

Business leaders lure lions with lai see in hopes of being blessed in 2011.

Empress owner Kenneth Lee presides over the banquet room packed with 700 people.

Chef Titus Chan with 27th District Rep. Corinne Ching.


JWSF’s fashionable lunch

August 4th, 2009

Main course of snapper and chicken

Main course of snapper and chicken

Anyone who’s attended a hotel fashion show over the past decade knows the drill. Eat first, show second. The Japanese Women’s Society Foundation reversed the order during its 55th anniversary fashion show, “Kokoro O Musubu (Joining Hearts and Culture.”

On Aug. 2, the kimono fashion show took place in one ballroom at the Sheraton Waikiki, with the center divider parting after the show to reveal set tables and video screens in the next ballroom.

The lunch was beautiful, filled with plenty of healthy options such as curry hummus to enjoy with bread, in lieu of butter, or with the salad of baby spinach served in a purple cabbage “bowl” with slices of papaya, tomato and Brie, and a lime mustard seed vinaigrette.

The main courses were a grilled breast of chicken with pineapple-pepper relish and tamarind sauce, plus snapper topped with a dollop ginger-green onion sauce that usually would accompany cold ginger chicken. This was accompanied by a sweet potato mash.

strawberry shortcake

For dessert, the Sheraton has been bringing in some of Satura Cakes’ signature confections in a cup. In this case, it was the strawberry shortcake and classic chocolate cake. There was a little hesitation as guests debated whether to broach the subject of sharing the desserts because only one of the two is placed per setting, and well, in any group of women, you’re likely to find a lot of chocoholics who might feel left out if they don’t get a bite.

chocolate cake

Speaking of Satura, there’s a definite passion involved in their presentation. A recent visit to the Ward location reslted in espresso that looked like this:

Satura Cakes' espresso artistry

Satura Cakes' espresso artistry

While on the subject of Japanese traditions, each guest was presented with a booklet, “Dento — Traditions,” that would help them remember and celebrate Japanese cultural traditions throughout the year, with a list of monthly occasions and a handful of seasonal recipes. Here’s one for the hot summer months:

Almond Ice
By Sadie Fukuda

5 envelopes gelatin (1/4 ounce each)
2-3/4 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon almond extract
4 cups cold water
1-1/3 cups white sugar
1 cup fresh strawberries, halved
1 cup seedless grapes
1 cup ripe cantaloupe, cubed

Soften gelatin in 1 cup cold water. Add boiling water and sugar. Stir until thoroughly dissolved. Add remaining cold water and almond extract. Mix well. Pour gelatin mixture into a 9-by-13 inch pan and refridgerate at least 4 hours.

Cut into 1-inch squares and serve in a bowl with cut fruits.

Note: Avoid citrus fruits so the gelatin will remain firm.