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Veg'n Out

Doing It Plantation Style

By Terri Hefner Photos By Nathalie Walker
December 30, 2012

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No matter what the occasion, heading to Waikiki to celebrate can make it all the more special. Sure, it’s a busy place with lots going on, but that’s the fun part — the hard part is choosing just the right venue.

Buffets are popular in part because of the variety of dishes offered, which makes it easier to please your whole party. But do you really want the same old buffet line fare?

Definitely not the same old thing, the concept at Kai Market, located on the ground floor of Sheraton Waikiki overlooking Waikiki Beach, is to harken back to Hawaii’s plantation days and the food that resulted from the blending of ethnicities, offering a farm-to-table dining experience that changes nightly. And if you choose not to eat meat or fish, unlike many buffets, you’ll not have to settle for the typical vegetable-based dishes that seem to be almost an afterthought. Why not eat fresh and local?

At Kai Market, island-fresh vegetables and meat-free dishes also take the spotlight. Executive chef Darren Demaya, who is thrilled to utilize quality, local products in his cuisine and is locally grown himself, recommends a couple of his favorites from the nightly offerings (dinner prices are $55 for adults ($58 Friday and Saturday; $35/$38 for seniors age 62 and up), $25 for children age 13-16, free for children under age 12 with a paying adult, one child per adult).

Yuzu Glazed Kahuku Japanese Long Eggplant is tender and flavorful. Fresh from the farm, the eggplant is glazed with miso, brown sugar, sake, mirin and yuzu juice, then roasted to perfection.

Another must-try is Chilled Rice Noodle Salad with Sumida Farm watercress and shoyu-mustard vinaigrette. The cool combination of fried diced tofu, watercress tops, julienned carrots, shaved red onion, slivered almonds and sliced won bok cabbage is topped with the savory vinaigrette and garnished with Chinese parsley and green onions.

And that’s just a sample of what’s in store, so don’t settle for anything less when you can enjoy a fresh, plantation-style feast at contemporary Kai Market.

Kai Market

Sheraton Waikiki
2255 Kalakaua Ave.
931.4600
Open daily, Breakfast: 6-11 a.m. Dinner: 5:30-9:30 p.m.