Lots of people on O‘ahu get cravings for the Chamorro dish kelaguen, the Mariana Islands’ equivalent of ceviche, but there aren’t many places to sate them. The Firehouse Food Truck closed, leaving the Chamorro Grindz Food Truck at the Waikele Outlet. The Prince Waikiki’s 100 Sails Restaurant & Bar steps into the breach for one night with Pacific Fiesta: Celebrating Chamorro Cuisine, part of its quarterly Off the Eaten Path chef’s table series, on Thursday, Nov. 14, 6-9pm. Tickets are an all-inclusive $105 and available online now.
The event is a chance for the hotel’s executive chef Joseph Almoguera to show off the food of his heritage—but with elevated, contemporary twists. If you think of Kelaguen as a chicken dish, think again. Almoguera will create a “Kelaguen Ice Bar”—with shrimp (hang), octopus (gamson), and venison (bindu) versions that you can scoop up with titiyas (flatbread with coconut milk). At a media preview, I got a taste of the shrimp Kelaguen, and it’s a bright, citrusy start to the dinner.
Another highlight is the Guam staple fiesta dish tinala katne, red rice and finadene—Almoguera presents it as an elegant ensemble of sliced smoked beef, the Spanish rice and finadene sauce rich with crab paste.
A carving station will be serving slices of lechon (made from Pono Pork) with katupat (rice steamed in a pouch of woven coconut tree fronds). Mmmm, lechon.
Dinner includes beverages, and you won’t want to miss the specialty cocktail made with tuba, alcohol made from coconut tree sap, brought to Guam by Filipino farmers. Mixed with citrus, the drink brought back memories of Exchange, in a good way.
This isn’t the first time Almoguera has put the spotlight on Chamorro cuisine at the Prince Waikiki. Two years ago, he teamed up with poet Craig Santos Perez for a cultural evening of readings, talk, and food.