Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hawaiian-Asian Birthday Party, continued...

We continue our review of the Hawaiian-Asian Birthday Luau from late summer with a look at the savory foods swerved on the buffet. As the theme of the party suggests, the food drew inspiration from Hawai'i, the Philippines, Japan, and China. Together, the delicious foods from these varied cultures created an exciting selection of meats, vegetables, and starches. Taken together, they were a delightfully balanced culinary experience.

We started with handmade Japanese chicken gyoza with a sesame-ginger dipping sauce.

Hand-rolled Filipino Lumpia-- bursting with ground spiced pork and vegetables-- were a guest favorite, quickly disappearing off the buffet as fast as we could replenish the beautiful hand-crafted platter.

A platter of grilled meats and vegetables was both delicious and colorful in appearance. Pictured at the bottom of the platter, grilled Mongolian marinated beef with a Thai red curry and cabernet dipping sauce. Spicy and sweet, this has to be one of our favorite marinade and sauce combinations. Moving clockwise, next to the beef is oven-roasted baby bok choy, followed by grilled chicken, pineapple, and vegetable yakitori. Smokey and sweet, these chicken and fruit skewers were refreshing and satisfying. Last, white miso glazed grilled vegetables completed this overflowing platter!

Toasted coconut sweet sticky rice and Chinese cold sesame noodles provided the perfect foil for the spicy and savory meats and vegetables.

Slow-roasted kalua pork-- a traditional Hawaiian celebratory food-- was our personal favorite of the afternoon. Smokey, salty, and flavorful, this meat was so tender it melted in the mouth. Accompanying the pork were Japanese pickled carrots with shiso, and hibiscus pickled lotus root.

Fresh crudites with Schezuan five-spice powder dip was both colorful, cool, and refreshing.

A colorful and delicious salad of roasted sweet corn, black beans, mango, avocado peppers and cilantro was finished with a tart and refreshing citrus vinaigrette.

All together, we were very pleased with the Luau buffet. The food was accented with Asian and Hawaiian-inspired decorations including fans, flowers, lanterns, Hawaiian quilt squares, and tableware.

Tomorrow, a look at the sweets that followed the savory buffet. Be sure to join us again!

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