The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2017

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 32 of 102

30  /  the tasting panel  /  march 2017 WHERE WE'RE EATING Here Today, Gone to Maui I t's been said that a tourist is someone who drives 3,000 miles to get their photo taken standing next to their car. By extension, a tourist is someone who flies even further—to eat the dishes they eat at home in their hotel, which is a lot like not going anywhere at all. Even in Hawaii—which is a state with Burger Kings and KFCs and Walmarts and Costcos—eating familiar plates of steak and chicken is just plain sad. This is the land of ahi poke, opakapaka, plate lunch and the wonderful world of Hawaiian Regional Cuisine—locally inspired dishes built around locally grown products. These days, pineapples are grown and shipped in from the Philippines. But that lettuce you're eating at Roy's may well have been grown on the volcanic slopes of Mt. Haleakala. Eat up—and to heck with fitting into a Speedo. Baggies are much more comfortable anyway. I have never gone to one of the Hawaiian Islands without a trip to Roy's as my very first destination. The same way that my first sip in San Francisco is Irish Coffee, and my first sushi in Tokyo is at the Tsukiji Fish Market, Roy Yamaguchi's signature kiawe-smoked Szechuan baby back pork ribs, his baby Kula greens from Upcountry Maui and his jade pesto–steamed mahi-mahi let my taste buds know I've arrived. That and maybe a somewhat goofy drink made with rum and fruit juice, possibly the only one I'll have on the trip, for those drinks do tend to paralyze the nervous system. The Roy's on Maui is in the resort town of Ka'anapali, north of the old whal- ing village of Lahaina and south of the Ritz-Carlton and Montage resorts in Kapalua. There's a view of the islands of Lanai and Molokai in the near dis- tance—and more than a few whales traveling through the Channel. In recent years, Yamaguchi has grown a tad restless, coming up with new concepts that take us back to his roots growing up in the Islands. He began with the wonderful Eating House 1849 on Kauai, followed just a few months ago with his Humble Market Kitchin in the newly upgraded Wailea Beach Marriott—a name that's an homage to a shop opened by Roy's grandfather when he first arrived in Hawaii. It is, if anything, even more locally sourced, with a menu of such "humble" dishes as ramen with Roy's pork, crab and shrimp dumplings and a sous vide egg and a "hot iron seared" lavender snapper called a "kale kale." The misoyaki butterfish with chilled soba noodles is a joy of tastes and textures. And there's a raw bar, serving kampachi and yellowfin, Kauai shrimp and Roy's own poke, which is both downhome and elegant at the same time. The view in this case is of Molokini and Kahoolawe—which the U.S. military used to use for target practice. It's still off limits because of unexploded ordnance. Not off limits is the wonderful world of downhome Hawaiian cooking, found at the remarkable Star Noodle in the Lahaina warehouse district, where you sit at long tables and order a multitude of shared plates—family-style feeds of green papaya salad made with long beans, Vietnamese crepes of shrimp and pork, steak Duroc pork buns, hot 'n sour smoked prosciutto noodles and fried saimin with Spam. They do love their Spam in Hawaii—Spam musubi is a sushi roll made with, yup, Spam. And if you like local food, a trip to Aloha Mixed Grill is essential, on the beach on the northern end of Lahaina, where you'll eat plate lunches of kalbi ribs, shoyu chicken, kalua pork and sides of steamed rice and macaroni salad. Always macaroni salad. How macaroni salad became a staple in Hawaii is a culinary mystery—something to discuss over rum drinks with lots of fruit juice, as the sun fades across the Channel. WHERE TO EAT FOR A TRUE HAWAIIAN EXPERIENCE by Merrill Schindler Chef Roy Yamaguchi of Roy's Restaurants and newly opened Humble Market Kitchin, located on Maui. Steak Duroc pork buns of Star Noodle in the Lahaina warehouse district on Maui. Australian rack of lamb, creamy cauliflower and curry essence from Chef Roy Yamaguchi's Humble Market Kitchin. PHOTO COURTESY OF HUMBLE MARKET PHOTO COURTESY OF HUMBLE MARKET PHOTO COURTESY OF STAR NOODLE

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - March 2017