Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape - - FRONT PAGE -

for eight hours – it rep­re­sents the old – and the new comes in the form of the pre­sen­ta­tion, served with steamed starfish and a driz­zle of mango sauce. If you’ve ever been to a Hawai­ian luau, you will have seen this whole slow­cooked pig pa­raded through the crowd in a cer­e­mo­nial style for carv­ing.

Thank­fully, the next morn­ing starts with a mass yoga class at the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach ho­tel, which has been my base for the fes­ti­val. A sud­den and un­ex­pected down­pour, typ­i­cal in Honolulu from Septem­ber to Novem­ber, brings the as­sem­bled crowd of more than 50 in­doors to down­ward dog along­side the huge outrigger ca­noe in the foyer that gave the ho­tel chain its name.

The morn­ing yoga ses­sion is a per­fect start to the day, which ends at the Rooftop Gar­den of the Hawaii Con­ven­tion Cen­tre and the Hawai­ian Air­lines foodie pre­sen­ta­tion, Corks & Forks.

Chef Chai Chaowasa­ree, the Bangkok-born chef and owner of Singha Thai Cui­sine in Waikiki, is a star of the show. He is con­sid­ered one of Hawaii’s top re­gional chefs and has helped cre­ate the menu for Hawai­ian Air­lines for five years. “I be­lieve the Hawai­ian ex­pe­ri­ence starts when you board a Hawai­ian Air­lines flight and I want to give visi­tors to the is­land a taste of our cui­sine be­fore they even get here,” chef Chai ex­plains.

“We are re­stricted by FDA guide­lines, which means we can’t serve any­thing raw and have to pre­pare food that won’t dry out when it’s heated in the air, so in­stead of filet mignon, we serve short ribs, in­stead of chicken breast, it’s chicken pie, but al­ways full of flavour.”

The next day I fly out of Honolulu on a Hawai­ian Air­lines flight, a few ki­los heav­ier, but still look­ing for­ward to my in-flight meal for the first time.

I’m not dis­ap­pointed by the teriyaki chicken served in the plas­tic tray, now I know how care­fully chef Chai plans and pre­pares the sim­ple but tasty meals to tempt visi­tors to the is­land.

DE­LI­CIOUS MO­MENTS: (from main) En­ter­tain­ment at the Hawaii Food and Wine Fes­ti­val; and An­drew Le’s basa fish with turmeric, dill and ver­mi­celli noo­dles.

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