By Request

By Betty Shimabukuro

Wednesday, October 6, 1999

By Dean Sensui, Star-Bulletin
June Tong browns the noodles for a batch of Gon Lo Mein
while some of the members of the cooking committee for the
Oct. 16 Ultimate Keiki Fun Day benefit assemble two other
dishes. The four are, from left, Theresa Chun, past president
and board member of the Waikiki Community Center; Cindy
Matsuyama, a volunteer with the community center; Rena
Young-Ochse, a volunteer with American Business Women's
Association, Maile Chapter; and Juanita Hu-Takara, another
Waikiki Community Center volunteer.

‘Popo’s’ favorites
take a bow

REVELATIONS that come upon us in hospital beds normally involve self-improvement and self-awareness. We vow to quit smoking, exercise more, appreciate life and our families to a greater degree, that sort of thing.

June Tong's revelation was a better cookbook.

Laid up for 10 days after gallstone surgery, Tong worked out in her mind the format for an easy-to-use recipe collection where ingredients and instructions were simplified and carefully grouped to make cooking fairly foolproof.

The result was "Popo's Kitchen," published to mark the bicentennial of Chinese immigration to Hawaii, in 1989.


Featuring entertainment by Opihi Pickers, Robert Kekaula and more; cooking demonstration by June Tong, "Popo's Kitchen"; children's games; food booths

Bullet When: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 16
Bullet Place: Honolulu Zoo
Bullet Admission: $8; $5 children, $25 families
Bullet Call: 923-1802

"Popo's Kitchen" became a standard text in local kitchens; nearly 40,000 copies were sold. Requests still come in for the book, although it's been out of print for years and Tong herself has diminished her public profile.

But she will appear Oct. 16 at a benefit for the Waikiki Community Center Childcare Program at the Honolulu Zoo. Among the dishes Tong will prepare is her Bar-B-Que P-Nut Chicken, a recipe sought by Polly Montgomery, one of those who has been searching in vain for Tong's cookbook. She saw the dish demonstrated on a television cooking show once. "It looked so ono."

Tong says the dish was among the most popular in the cookbook, one she used to demonstrate frequently. "When I was selling my cooking, that would really draw a crowd."

By Dean Sensui, Star-Bulletin
Three of Tong's recipes, chicken skewers that have been marinated
in a soy sauce, miso and peanut butter mixture; coconut covered
mochi balls; and fried noodles; were prepared by volunteers, from
left, Matsuyama, Chun, Tong, Young-Ochse and Hu-Takara.

The first 5,000 copies of "Popo's Kitchen" were sold to benefit the trust fund of Darin Ihara, a teen-ager who had leukemia. Darin's grandparents were bowling partners of Tong's. Later sales benefitted the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals Hawaii and the Chinese Bicentennial Committee. Eventually, Tong did sell some for herself.

A homemaker who "liked to play with recipes," Tong included her own creations and family favorites in the cookbook. She says only one case of books remains, and she's saving those, "in case I have grandchildren."

Now 68, Tong says she has no interest in reprinting the book. "If I print more now, then I have to go out and work again."

So, for those not lucky enough to have a copy of "Popo's Kitchen," here are three of Tong's recipes, to be featured at the Oct. 16 benefit:


5 pounds chicken boneless thighs, cut in cubes

Bullet Marinade:
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon miso
1 tablespoon peanut butter
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 slices ginger, minced
2 tablespoons mirin
1/2 cup green onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic chile paste
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Combine marinade ingredients and marinate chicken 1 hour. Barbecue on a grill or stir-fry until cooked through. Serve pieces on sticks. Makes about 12 sticks, about 6 ounces meat each.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 510 calories, 31 g total fat, 8.5 g saturated fat, 160 mg cholesterol, greater than 1,400 mg sodium.*


Bullet Dough
1 pound glutinous rice flour
15 ounces water

Bullet Coating
1 cup peanuts, chopped fine
1 cup coconut flakes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

Combine flour and water to make dough. Roll dough in 1 inch balls. Drop into 3 cups rapidly boiling water and cook until they rise. Remove with slotted spoon.

Combine coating ingredients and roll cooked balls in coating mixture. Serve on sticks. Makes about 60 balls.

Approximate nutritional analysis per ball: 50 calories, 2 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, no cholesterol, 15 mg sodium.*


Bullet Noodles
2 tablespoon sesame oil
3 pounds Hong Kong fried noodles (thin noodles)
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup oyster sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Bullet Vegetables
1 pound bacon, diced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced
3 stalks celery, julienned
1 carrot, julienned
1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 cup chives in 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup sliced cabbage (optional)

Bullet Garnish
1 cup sliced green onions
1 bunch chopped Chinese parsley, leaves only
1 cup sliced char siu (optional)

Combine noodle ingredients, except vegetable oil, and marinate 1/2 hour.

In a wok, fry bacon to crisp; remove bacon and grease. Add vegetable oil to wok. Stir-fry vegetables until tender. Set aside and add bacon.

A 3 more tablespoons oil to wok and reheat. Add noodles and brown. Return vegetables to noodles and stir well. Top with garnishes. Serves 12.

Approximate nutritional analysis per serving (including optional cabbage and char siu): 630 calories, 21 g total fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 70 mg cholesterol, 680 mg sodium.*

Send queries along with name and phone number to:
By Request, Honolulu Star-Bulletin Food Section,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Or send e-mail to

Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by
Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.

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