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Joyce Ang | Photo: Rae Huo | July 1, 2013
Hawai‘i’s culinary horizons may be broadening as far-flung flavors become part of our palate. However, the flurry of new tastebud pleasers will not fully replace the truly local traditions that have inspired chefs from all walks of background. Here, a few suggestions that will help you reconnect with the island heritage.
The team at Azure follow a strict sea-to-table philosophy: assures guests that seafood is fresh daily from the Honolulu Fish Auction. Along with its impressive seafood entrees, this eatery also whips up tantalizing dishes that sprinkles signature island zest. We suggest the Kona lobster stuffed with dungeness crab, paired with Portuguese sausage, foie gras, sweet bread, ‘Ewa corn and Hāmākua mushrooms. The Royal Hawaiian, 2259 Kalakaua Ave., Waikīkī, 923. 7311, azurewaikiki.com
Chef Chai sets sail to explore the palette of the Far East but does not forget the local fusion that has long-anchored his creations. A firm advocate of using the bounty of the island’s land and sea, this culinary artist constantly seeks news spices and ingredients at Oahu’s farmers markets and Honolulu’s Chinatown. Try the signature blend of kataifi and macadamia nut encrusted black tiger prawn rainbow salad with vinaigrette or fresh mahimahi with thai red curry sauce. 1009 Kapiolani Blvd, Honolulu, 585. 0011, chefchai.com
Kaiwa is faithfully Japanese and offers sushi and teppan-grilled creations nightly. However, it is not immune to the allure of Waikiki and has therefore crafted several dishes that honor the uniquely local Hawaiian flavor. The Abalone zosui comprised of Hawai‘i Island baby abalone soupy rice flavored with dried bonito and seaweed is a rarity that should not be missed. 226 Lewers St., Waikīkī, 924.1555, kai-wa.com
New Executive Chef Leanne Kamekona has brought her flair for transforming lesser-appreciated island fish (monchong and shitomi, for instance) into exquisitely prepared creations. Originally from Hawai‘i Island, Kamekona prepares entrees that are paired with lots of locally sourced accompaniments, including edamame and kombucha purees and pineapple relishes. The St. Regis Princeville Resort, 5520 Ka Haku Road, Princeville, Kaua‘i, 826.9644, stegisprinceville.com
At this must-visit resto on the greens at Kapalua, indulge in a host of savory dishes that pack in the island flavor, from shiitake mushroom and pork hash spring rolls to blue crab-crusted monchong. 200 Kapalua Drive, Kapalua, Maui, 669.9600, cohnrestaurants.com