Honolulu tops nation for Japanese, Korean food

Honolulu ranks as America’s most popular city for Japanese and Korean cuisines in America, according to a report out today from Chef’s Pencil.

The state of Hawaii leads the nation in its love of sushi. And Thai is the most popular cuisine in Hawaii and Alaska.

The report is based on Google Trends data, a reliable source of consumer trends data. What is unique about the data is that it doesn’t only indicate Americans’ dining out habits, but also shows what Americans are eating at home.

Google provides data on a whole range of topics, including national cuisines, and allocates a score that indicates the level of interest in the topic. For example, Japanese cuisine will comprise hundreds or thousands of searches related to the topic such as Japanese restaurantsJapanese ricesushisushi recipes, and even names of well-known local Japanese restaurants.

Google then counts how often they are used in countries, regional areas, towns and cities relative to all local searches and allocates a popularity score. For example, if New Jersey scores 100 for Indian cuisine and New York scores 80, it doesn’t mean more searches were done in New Jersey than in New York; it means a higher percentage of people in New Jersey than in New York are into Indian cuisine.

Top 5 international cuisines according to Google Trends:

  1. Chinese (Google Trends Score: 64)
  2. Mexican (Google Trends Score: 59)
  3. Italian (Google Trends Score: 38)
  4. Thai (Google Trends Score: 24)
  5. Indian (Google Trends Score: 11)
  6. Japanese (Google Trends Score: 10.5)
  7. Korean (Google Trends Score: 10)

See state and city rankings in the report here:

https://chefspencil.com/most-popular-ethnic-cuisines-in-america/

City-level rankings:

The following cities are regarded by Google as the most popular for each of the top 7 ethnic cuisines:

  • Honolulu, HI is America’s capital of Korean and Japanese cuisines; 
  • Fremont, CA is America’s capital of Indian cuisine
  • San Antonio, TX is America’s capital of Mexican cuisine
  • Seattle, WA and Portland, OR are America’s capitals of Thai cuisine 
  • Yonkers, NY is America’s capital of Italian cuisine; 
  • Newark, NJ is America’s capital of Chinese cuisine

Here is a link to the full study (including charts and tables):

https://chefspencil.com/most-popular-ethnic-cuisines-in-america/

Hotel Wailea announces revamped three-tier culinary experience

 Hotel Wailea, Hawaii’s first and only Relais & Châteaux property, has unveiled its new kitchen and experiential tasting menu to further cement its status as an incubator for culinary talent and leadership.

Envisioned by Hotel Wailea owner Jonathan McManus, and led by culinary director Chef Chris Kajioka, the three tiers of dining include a bistro-chic casual menu on the lanai of The Restaurant, a new chef tasting menu in the Secret Garden launching in early February, and the wildly popular seven-course culinary experience in The Treehouse.

Chef Chris Kajioka
Chef Chris Kajioka

Hotel Wailea is Hawaii’s only hotel to feature a Hestan equipped exhibition kitchen. The detailed-oriented space features a new layout with two custom island cooking suites explicitly designed for the team to work efficiently on both sides, an exclusive fish station to descale and clean fish, and multiple specialty stations for chefs to divide courses. One station even includes a coveted guest counter (playfully called “Table 1”) that allows them to interact with the culinary team throughout their dining experience.

Hestan, revered within culinary circles for their top of the line premium equipment has longstanding partnerships with esteemed Relais & Châteaux chefs such as Thomas Keller and with renowned institutions such as The Culinary Institute of America.

“Hotel Wailea defines both culinary innovation and elevated luxury at its core,” said owner Jonathan McManus. “Our new Hestan kitchen and restaurant developments foster my commitment to creating environments for young chefs in which to learn and thrive. In collaboration with Chef Chris Kajioka, who is instrumental to Hotel Wailea’s culinary growth and success, our joint vision is for both guests and culinary professionals to truly grasp the inner workings of a top-of-the-line kitchen and see their dishes come to life in a unique way from prep, to plate, to export.”

From a sunset toast to a counter-side course with chef commentary, the new multi-course tasting menu experience in the Secret Garden includes optional wine pairings from Level 2 Sommelier Sarah Salgado and starts at $145 per person. Premiering mid-February, the chef-driven menu includes highlights such as Venison Tartare, I’A Hou and Crab Toast with local ingredients shaping the flavor profile of the ever-changing menu. The sculpted tropical garden venue is warmly intimate, with just a handful of tables arranged on private candlelit terraces, while at the same time provides a striking behind the scenes view into the kitchen.

“The new Hestan furnished kitchen at Hotel Wailea is a chef’s dream,” says culinary director Chris Kajioka,” “The new layout allows our team to control the dining experience completely and allows our guests to dine at their own pace. With time, I envision the space evolving as a distinctive forum to host guest Chefs from around the world and introduce fresh, global perspectives.”

Hotel Wailea’s continually evolving culinary program is championed by Chef Kajioka, a semifinalist in the 2017 and 2018 James Beard Awards. Known for his internationally celebrated restaurant Senia in Oahu, of which McManus is a principal investor, and his prestigious background working at Per Se in New York, Kajioka works closely with his prodigy, Hotel Wailea’s Chef de Cuisine, Zach Soto. Kajioka, a Hawaii native, joined forces with restauranteur and hotelier, McManus, in 2016. In the past several years, the duo has made a dramatic impact on the culinary scene in Hawaii. Their upcoming Oahu project, Miro Kaimuki, has already earned a place in Robb Report’s list of “Most Anticipated Restaurants of 2020,” and the stunning new Hestan-furnished kitchen at Hotel Wailea serves as a cornerstone of immersive dining experiences in the islands.

Reservations at The Restaurant at Hotel Wailea may be booked at hotelwailea.com/rhw/ with Secret Garden tastings available on Wednesdays-Saturdays. For more information about Hotel Wailea, please visit hotelwailea.com.

About Hotel Wailea

The first and only Relais & Châteaux property in the state of Hawaii, Hotel Wailea offers travelers an ultra-private elegance infused with relaxed island luxury. The independently owned and operated, all-suite hotel finished a $15 million renovation in January 2015, reimagined as an intimate adults-only escape with 72 oversized suites and a pool overlooking three Hawaiian Islands with residential style cabanas and an apothecary style pool bar. The ideal island escape for couples recognized as “Top 21 Most Romantic Hotels in the World” by Condé Nast Traveler in 2019, Hotel Wailea boasts an unprecedented level of intimacy, privacy and exclusivity in Hawaii. Personalized guest programming is tailored to couples and centered on unique island experiences that embody adventure, romance, and laid-back luxury. Hotel Wailea’s continually evolving culinary program boasts a unique take on seasonal dining with Hawaiian staples and Maui-grown ingredients, including from the hotel’s own organic garden. For more information, please visit www.hotelwailea.com.

New Yorkers get a taste of Hawaii with King’s Hawaiian Breakfast Bungalow

King’s Hawaiian is transporting New Yorkers to the warm shores of Hawaii for a limited-time this winter with the opening of its Breakfast Bungalow, an interactive restaurant located at 1701 Broadway in Midtown Manhattan, where irresistibly delicious breakfast grindz will meet immersive experiences fit for a brunch fanatic.

Open to the public by reservation from Feb. 22 through March 1, the Breakfast Bungalow brings together soft and fluffy King’s Hawaiian breads with the culinary talent of Chef Jaime Young, whose celebrated menu at New York hotspot Sunday in Brooklyn includes some of the city’s favorite breakfast and brunch dishes. Visitors can work up an appetite by exploring several uniquely King’s Hawaiian experiences throughout the restaurant, ranging from an ocean-inspired ball pit where visitors can take a quick “swim” to a mountain top swing in the clouds.

 “We are excited to welcome New Yorkers into our Ohana by bringing them our Breakfast Bungalow when they need it most – the heart of winter,” said Chad Donvito, Chief Marketing Officer at King’s Hawaiian. “We hope our interactive restaurant provides them with irresistibly delicious ideas to start their day and inspires new ways to enjoy breakfast in bread all year long thanks to King’s Hawaiian.”

Chef Young’s signature Breakfast Bungalow dishes include:

  • Coconut S’mores French Toast
    • French Toast made with King’s Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Round Bread, served with a Coconut Maple Glaze and topped with Toasted Meringue and Shaved Dark Chocolate
  • Spam-Egg-and-Shoestring-Potatoes Sandwich
    • Spam, Scrambled Eggs, Provolone, Crispy Shoestring Potatoes and Hot Sauce Aioli stacked on a King’s Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Roll
  • Hawaiian Chicken Fried Steak Katsu Sandwich
    • Chicken Fried Steak Katsu with Miso Hollandaise, Scrambled Eggs and Crispy Shallots on King’s Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Sliced Bread

“I’ve been a fan of King’s Hawaiian since the first time I tried their Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls and I’m excited to partner with them to bring a taste of Hawaii to New Yorkers,” said Chef Young. “The menu I’ve curated fuses melt-in-your-mouth King’s Hawaiian bread with my passion for great food – including next level breakfast – so whether you’re craving something sweet or savory, you won’t be leaving hungry.”

In addition to the exclusive menu items created by Chef Young, guests can enjoy the option to build a custom creation that’s all their own using King’s Hawaiian products, including Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, Original Hawaiian Sweet Sliced Bread or Original Hawaiian Sweet Round Bread, and more than 50 toppings and sauces.

Please visit www.BreakfastBungalow.com for additional details on the experience, prices and hours, and to purchase tickets, which include both the experiences and food. For more information about King’s Hawaiian, please visit www.KingsHawaiian.com or find the company on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

About King’s Hawaiian

Founded more than 60 years ago in Hilo, Hawaii, by Robert R. Taira, KING’S HAWAIIAN is a family-owned business that for three generations has been dedicated to providing irresistible, original recipe Hawaiian foods made with Aloha Spirit. A priority for the company is sharing the Hawaiian Way – a uniquely Hawaiian approach to hospitality based on graciousness, generosity, and a commitment to making everyone feel a part of the KING’S HAWAIIAN ‘ohana’ (extended family). KING’S HAWAIIAN makes the #1 branded dinner roll in the United States, along with other great Hawaiian foods including hamburger buns, hot dog buns, sandwich bread and more. The company operates baking facilities in Torrance, California, and Oakwood, Georgia. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.KingsHawaiian.com, or find KING’S HAWAIIAN on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

About Chef Jaime Young

Jaime Young grew up in Long Island, New York. He started his culinary career at Johnson & Wales University where he received a Bachelor’s degree in culinary nutrition. After graduation, Jaime pushed into fine dining where he worked at celebrated restaurants such as Eleven Madison Park and Atera in New York City. Today, Jaime is the Executive Chef and Partner of Sunday Hospitality, which includes Sunday In Brooklyn in Williamsburg and Rule Of Thirds in Greenpoint (opening in 2020), as well as Sibling Rival and Pilot at The Hoxton in Downtown Los Angeles.

Valentine’s Day dinner for two special offered at Romano’s Macaroni Grill

Chicken Scaloppine

Italian has become the language of love. Romano’s Macaroni Grill, the national restaurant chain with award winning Italian food, has made it easy for couples to enjoy a special Valentine’s Dinner, for only $55, February 7-16.

After a stroll on the beach, couples can unwind with a three-course prix fixe menu for two, at either Honolulu or  Waikoloa Macaroni Grill locations, with a choice of one antipasti, two entrees, and one dolce (dessert) to share only for $55.

Antipasti selections include Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Stuffed Mushrooms, Calamari Fritti, Signature Mac + Cheese Bites, Bruschetta and Goat Cheese Peppadew Peppers. Entrees include Chicken Scaloppine, Grilled Salmon, Chicken Parmesan, and Shrimp Scampi or (at additional cost) Fettuccine Alfredo (with Chicken or Shrimp), Porterhouse Steak or Braised Lamb Shank. Enjoy one of these desserts to share: Romano’s Cannoli, New York Style Cheesecake, Decadent Chocolate Cake or Tiramisu.

Shrimp Scampi

Romano’s Macaroni Grill is conveniently located at Ala Moana Center in Honolulu and Queens’ MarketPlace, Waikoloa on the Big Island of Hawaii.

For those who are busy, Macaroni Grill Hawaii also offers online ordering, with family-friendly bundling options, including a special Feast for Five. Gift cards are also available. For a limited time, Macaroni Grill is offering a 25% off sale on digital gift cards for guests who apply the promo code VALENTINE at checkout. See macaronigrill.com.

Decadent Chocolate Cake

About Romano’s Macaroni Grill

Romano’s Macaroni Grill is an Italian restaurant brand founded in 1988. Inspired by Italian country cuisine, Macaroni Grill believes in an open kitchen that allows guests to see its ingredients and preparation techniques that blend Italian traditions with progressive culinary inspiration in a polished casual atmosphere. Named the No. 1 Italian Restaurant Chain in America by a Nation’s Restaurant News consumer survey, Macaroni Grill has 83 company-owned locations in 22 states, plus 21 franchise locations in the U.S. and 7 other countries.

New Waikiki Sunset Dinner Cruise Launching on Valentine’s Day

While catamaran party boats or multi-story yachts in Waikiki are numerous, there are very few options available for an intimate, upscale sunset cruise. A new tour in Oahu aims to fill that void.

Oahu tour operator And You Creations invested just under $1 million in its new powerboat, the Ariya II, which arrived in Honolulu last month. The Ariya II will seat up to 50 guests, making it a smaller option than dinner cruises with similar offerings, such as the Star of Honolulu or The Majestic.

“We have firmed up an awesome meal and currently are have finalized the install of state-of-the-art lights, sounds and interior, ” And You Creations President Kaina Neuman said. ” We’re not holding back on costs in order to accommodate the best customer experience possible. ”

The new tour, named “Ocean and You,” launches on February 14. The boat will feature a titanic-style front deck, and LED lighting to illuminate the vessel after sunset.

One of the main attractions of Ocean and You will be the dinner served on board, prepared by local chef Elmer Guzman. Guzman owns Poke Stop, an island seafood restaurant, as well as a gourmet catering business. He has worked under prestigious names in the culinary industry, such as Emeril Lagasse, Samuel Choy and Alan Wong.

“One of our goals, when we created this menu, was to make something that people can’t find anywhere else in Waikiki,” Guzman said.

Along with island cuisine, Ocean and You attendees will enjoy live hula and Hawaiian entertainment as they cruise past Diamond Head state monument and the Waikiki coastline.

Ocean and You will operate out of Kewalo Basin Harbor in Honolulu every day of the week, with fireworks included on Fridays. To celebrate the new tour, the company is offering $30 off per person until the end of June 2020.

“Our new ARIYA, she will have all the bells and whistles and truly will be the jewel of the harbor,” And You Creations CEO Richard Holland said.

To book an Ocean and You sunset dinner cruise with And You Creations, please call (808) 696-4414. To learn more about And You Creations Tours, visit www.andyoucreations.com.