YOU have two choices of strategy when partaking of the annual Taste of Honolulu eat-o-rama.
There's the deliberate, carefully planned approach wherein you study all the offerings, either by going through the program or circling the grounds comparing the different restaurant menus.
Or there's the shotgun approach, which basically involves trading in scrip for anything that looks good, as soon as you see it.
The first strategy could prevent overspending and overeating. The second saves time, and may keep you from missing something really good. It's a drag when something you set your heart on sells out while you're standing in the shade pondering your options.
Option 3 involves an initial visit to the R. Field Wine Centre or the Paradise Beverages Beer Garden to sample either fine wines or micro-brews to the point where it doesn't matter what you eat.
When: 5-10 p.m. June 23; noon-10 p.m. June 24 and noon-7 p.m. June 25
TASTE OF HONOLULU
Place: Honolulu Civic Center grounds
Admission: $2, to benefit Easter Seals Hawaii
Advance scrip sale: $25 worth of scrip for $21 or $50 in scrip and two admission tickets, $44.00
Call: 536-1015, or visit http://www.eastersealshawaii.org
Whatever your pleasure, Taste of Honolulu happens in nine days. More than 25 restaurants are signed up to prepare their specialties and scrip is already on sale.
It's normally a happy coincidence that among the restaurants participating, there's always one that can grant a request sent in by a reader of this column. This year, Eastern Garden Chinese Seafood Restaurant provided a recipe for salt-pepper squid sought by Jerald Satake for his mother.
Ray Leung of the Kaimuki branch of the restaurant also offered instructions for making crispy noodles -- a technique frequently requested by readers, most recently Teri Kashiwamura. She wants to serve the crispy mein with her Crispy Gau Mein.
Leung's formula: Use uncooked Hong Kong-style fried noodles (sold in Chinatown). Cook in boiling water with a little salt. Drain and cool to room temperature (do not refrigerate). Fry in a hot pan with 3 tablespoons of oil, flipping over when completely fried on one side.
Sounds like a good companion dish for this squid specialty:
PEPPER SALT CALAMARI1/2 pound calamari
2 tablespoons sliced bell pepper (mix green and red)
5 cloves garlic, diced
2 teaspoons crushed chile pepper
Oil for frying
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup water
To prepare the calamari: Slice into 1-1/2 inch strips and score each strip with long knife cuts both lengthwise and crosswise.
To make batter: Combine all ingredients except water. Add water slowly to make a thin batter.
Heat oil to 350 degrees. Mix calamari in batter. Drop into hot oil and cook until golden. Remove and drain.
Stir-fry bell pepper, then add garlic and chile pepper. Add calamari and toss with bell pepper. Sprinkle salt over all. Serves 3.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving (about 1 cup): 370 calories, 20 g total fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 180 mg cholesterol, greater than 1,500 mg sodium.*
Tony Roma's restaurant is sponsoring a pork rib cook-off as part of Taste of Honolulu. Grand prize is a trip for two to Maui, including airfare, hotel and car for two nights.
Deadline to enter is Monday. Entry forms are available at Tony Roma's in Pearlridge, Kahala and Waikiki. Entry fee is $5.
Entries may be delivered to the restaurants or mailed care of PR Works, 444 Hobron Lane, Honolulu 96815.
Eight finalists will prepare their ribs for judging on June 24, at Taste of Honolulu.
Call the Tony Roma's BBQ hot line, 944-4361, for information.
Food Stuffs: Morsels
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by
Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.