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Inside Feature

Kai Market Brings Fantastic Local Fare to Fruition

By Kyle Galdeira Photos By Lawrence Tabudlo
May 12, 2013

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With fresh, locally grown products headlining an eclectic mix of cuisine, Kai Market serves up a vast array of ethnic dishes mirroring those served regularly throughout Hawaii’s rich plantation culture.

Located on the ground level of Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, Kai Market offers up pristine views of Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head and the resort’s new “infinity edge” pool. Patrons settle in amid shaded comfort while sea breezes and the soothing rhythms of waves crashing below waft through the relaxed, inviting atmosphere.

Executive chef Darren Demaya incorporates products from local farmers and vendors while putting a modern-day twist on home-style favorites and Hawaiian delicacies that have become must-have mainstays for discerning diners.

“The plantation days made up the melting pot for food with cultures such as Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Hawaiian, Portuguese and Vietnamese,” explains Demaya. “Kai Market reflects on all these cultures giving our guests a true taste of the plantation culture.”

Kai Market’s welcoming atmosphere and extensive selection of fresh, local fare provide a great value for families, whether simply enjoying an evening together or celebrating a special event, such as graduation or birthdays. Kamaaina diners enjoy 25 percent off the bountiful buffet seven days a week. The restaurant also provides validated parking in the resort’s convenient on-site garage — yet another reason to bring the family and “holo holo” in Waikiki.

Those looking for the perfect Mother’s Day destination are in luck, as Kai Market honors moms today with special breakfast, brunch and dinner menus featuring irresistible spreads bursting with farm-fresh flavors. For today’s special celebration, families are encouraged to stop in for breakfast (6 to 9:30 a.m., $28.95 for adults and $15.50 for kids ages 6-12), lunch (10 a.m. to 2 p.m., $59 for adults and $28 for kids) and dinner (4:30 to 10 p.m., $69 for adults and $34.50 for kids). The special menu features Alaea Salt Crusted Slow Roasted Prime Rib with Au Jus and Horseradish Sour Cream (brunch and dinner), Crispy Pan Roasted Sea Bass with Red Curry Thai Sauce (brunch), Steamed Alaskan Snow Crab Legs (dinner), Korean Kim Chee and Portuguese Sausage “Local” Style Fried Rice (brunch) and Steamed “Asari Saka” Sake Manila Clams (dinner).

“We’re giving moms a treat,” says Demaya of today’s special culinary extravaganza. “We also will have a chocolate fountain with all the toppings, including Kula strawberries, rice crispies, blonde brownies, marshmallows and graham crackers.”

Kai Market serves its buffet daily, and offers Island Breakfast ($28.95) and Continental Breakfast ($21.95) from 6 to 11 a.m. and Dinner ($55, $58 on Fridays and Saturdays for Seafood Nights) from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Children ages 6-12 enjoy discounted rates ($14.50 during breakfast and $25.00 during dinner) and those under age 5 eat free with a paying adult. In addition to the generous kamaaina discount available daily, seniors enjoy discounted dinner rates: $35 and $39 on Fridays and Saturdays.

While some offerings rotate depending on the availability of fresh, seasonal products, diners are treated to a vast assortment of local cuisine that Demaya has crafted with influences from previous kitchens he’s honed his skills in, such as Cafe Pesto on the Big Island and Alan Wong’s King Street locale.

Buffet goers may choose to start with fresh salad selections such as a Kula Valley Mixed Vegetable Medley alongside Kim Chee Marinated Tako Poke, Hawaiian Style Ahi Poke as well as Dragon and California Rolls. In addition to the succulent Prime Rib carved to order, Kai Market also features Hong Kong Style Steamed Island Market Fish, Wok Tossed Garlic and Black Bean Manila Clams, Chinatown Roast Duck, Iron-Skillet Steamed Mussels in Coconut Thai Green Curry, Chinese Salt and Pepper Kahuku Head On Shrimp prepared “Shrimp Truck” style, and Shoyu Marinated Whole Chicken with Owen Kaneshiro Won Bok Cabbage.

Diners also rave about the decadent Portuguese Sweet Bread Pudding with Hawaiian Vanilla Anglaise Sauce. Dessert offerings also include cakes, puddings, custards, mochi varieties and countless other sweet treats.

“Here at Kai Market, we strive to support our local farmers, and provide locals and hotel guests with the freshest produce possible along with a local flair,” De-maya says. “You can get all types of ethnic-influenced dishes all in one seating along with a casual beach-front view. Last but not least, we validate parking up to four hours at all of our dining establishments.”

Kai Market

Sheraton Waikiki Hotel
2255 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu
921-4600
Open daily; Breakfast, 6 to 11 a.m. and Dinner, 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.