LUAU. It is one word that conjures a thousand and one images of Hawaii and sumptuous dishes. But you need not fly several hours and spend thousands of dollars to partake of authentic Hawaiian favorites because you can have them anytime on Saipan.
Early on Saturday night, I and my out-to-eat buddies were seated at a table inside the empty Islander Club in Garapan. We had the whole place to ourselves because doors had not opened yet for the happy hour.
In came Rick Kealoha Pa, the man who makes Hawaiian-inspired food behind the Big Hawaiian Takeout kitchen.
He placed several Styrofoam boxes containing various menus on our table. But it’s not your ordinary take-out bento box where what you see is what you get.
We feasted on the delightful smells of the various selections set before us before I went for the box of soy sauce chicken which contained large pieces of chicken thighs browned in soy sauce, and the platter of dried fried beef sitting on a bed of fresh and crunchy lettuce, relishing its delightful flavors that went deep into the lean meat.
My buddies dug into the Pork Laulau — succulent strips of pork wrapped and steamed in taro leaves until the fat melts and the two ingredients merges into one bundle of delight for your tongue.
Other choices included the chicken luau which is chicken slices with taro and coconut milk, sweet and sour pork, and kalua pork.
Although he does not do the traditional process of preparing kalua pork — in which large hot rocks are placed inside each pig and slow-cooked in a deep pit for several hours over hot coals, banana leaves and covered with a wet burlap — Rick said he devised a modern way of cooking which traps the moisture and the steaming pigs come out with a delicious browned outer skin.
Each takeout box comes with a serving of rice and macaroni salad.
Rick also served us three variations of freshly made Hawaiian style poki — octopus with sesame, tuna with caviar, and tuna with seaweed, and a fresh platter of octopus kelaguen.
If you think that take-out food is not as good as food served inside a restaurant, you will change your mind after you try the takeout orders from the Big Hawaiian Takeout.
Are you planning a backyard or a beach picnic or just want to eat a superb meal outside the confines of a regular restaurant? Whether you want to be with a few friends and family members, or with a thousand relatives, you can be spared from the rigors of cooking by calling Saipan’s Big Hawaiian Takeout in Garapan and you can go ahead and have food and fun.
Rick said beginning this Thursday the Big Hawaiian Takeout menu will be available at the street market in Garapan.
“We will be joining the food vendors to reach out to a large number of locals and tourists who are yearning for authentic Hawaiian favorites,” Rick said.
All take-out menus, including the various poki recipes, can also be ordered as chasers and eaten inside Islander Club (formerly Shooter’s Bar) during happy hours from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
The Big Hawaiian Takeout is located at the back of Islander Club behind VFW and Gold Beach Hotel along Beach Road, Garapan. It is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday, and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays to Saturdays. Credit cards are not yet accepted. For orders or more information, call 989-2225.
(This article was first published HERE )