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Hawaiian Cuisine Book Reviews

Alan Wong's New Wave Luau
Alan Wong with John Harrisson
These recipes from Honolulu's award-winning, native Hawaiian chef are distinctive regional cuisine, blending Eastern, Western and local influences. In his first book, Wong showcases his signature blend of Pacific-Rim styles with over 100 recipes--including Hawaiian raw bar pupus (appetizers), splendid seafood entrees, singular beverages and desserts. With sumptuous food photography and vintage historical images supplementing the text in its 196 pages, Alan Wong's New Wave Luau is an exciting introduction to Hawaii's fascinating cultural


Pacific Bounty
by Roy Yamaguchi

Undisputedly, Hawaii has a bounty of natural resources, among them fresh local seafood, vegetables and fruits. In this book, chef Roy Yamaguchi and ten fellow chefs have prepared 26 complete menus for festive entertaining. The menus are a melange of East-West cookery and the results are both unique and delicious. A little island history puts it all in perspective.


Roy's Feasts from Hawaii
by Roy Yamaguchi and John Harrisson

What is the nature of Pacific Rim cuisine? Something to do with elegant Asian vegetables and seasonings, a melding of cooking styles, with woks thrown into the hodgepodge, perhaps. It's hard to put your finger on the perfect characterization. Yet you'll know it when you see and taste it. That's the cooking of Roy Yamaguchi.

Yamaguchi heads the venerable Roy's group of restaurants in Hawaii, California, Tokyo, and Guam. He is also a founding chef of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement, which works with growers and other food producers to popularize local ingredients.

In Roy's Feasts from Hawaii cookbook, you'll be introduced to an imaginative blend of French, Italian, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, and Polynesian cuisines favoring assertive flavors and extraordinary combinations, with no compromises on freshness. Not for the faint of palate are dishes such as Kalua Pork Quesadillas with Smoked Mozzarella, Avocado and Lomi Lomi Salmon ("Hawaii meets the Southwest, by way of the Mediterranean") or Asian Ratatouille seasoned with ginger lemon grass, lime leaves, and oyster and chile sauces. This is food for the adventurous.

Yet, Yamaguchi's creativity is far from reckless. The dishes in his lush, beautifully photographed travelogue-style book really make sense -- not just in the context of an emerging cuisine, but also judged against the established criteria for balancing flavors and textures. His food is not merely interesting. It tastes as vibrant and colorful as it looks.

Also, the recipes of Roy's Feasts from Hawaii are clearly written to ease the uninitiated into a new way of cooking. While they tend to call for long lists of ingredients, the actual preparation isn't overly complicated. Directions are short and to the point. If some of the ingredients aren't readily available on the mainland, Yamaguchi provides substitutions. What's more, he encourages home cooks to go their own way with his recipes.

"Be sure to experiment, improvise and take a few chances," he urges. A pioneer of food styles, Yamaguchi knows that in order for home cooks to truly appreciate the art and beauty of the cuisine of the Pacific Rim, they must have the freedom to make his recipes their own.

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