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Indulge in the Tropical Flair of Mangoes at the Moana

Cover Story Features

July 7, 2013

Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Leah Friel

Mango madness happens this month, as Waikiki’s legendary Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa celebrates its fifth annual Mangoes at the Moana event July 13 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in which an entire day is dedicated to this beloved tropical fruit. In years past, Mangoes at the Moana has drawn in quite the crowd of locals and visitors alike.

“We’ve built on this event year after year. The mango is a great summer tropical fruit and it speaks to the Islands,” says William Chen, chef de cuisine at the Moana. “When Mangoes at the Moana started four years ago, I wasn’t too familiar with the whole spectrum of mangoes, but just seeing the different ways one can utilize mango really opened up my eyes to endless possibilities.”

This year, Moana Surfrider is once again partnering with Makaha Mangoes to showcase this seasonal fruit in food demonstrations, best mango and recipe contests, seminars and workshops, and more.

“Each year we have contestants who come up with interesting mango recipes. These contests really bring the community together,” Chen states, adding that applications for submissions are still being accepted. “I’m also really looking forward to A Mango Throw Down and Mango Cocktail Mix Down.”

The competition heats up in Tree to Table — A Mango Throw Down when celebrity chefs including Chef Chai’s Chai Chaowasaree, Town’s Ed Kenney, Beachhouse’s Celeste Pasag and RumFire’s Brett Villarmia, among others, get down to business and create their own mango-inspired dish. Guests on property can then sample the chefs’ unique creations and play a part in selecting the ultimate winner.

Sampling is priced at $75 for adults (includes two drinks at the Southern Wine & Spirits booth); $45 for children (ages 5-12); $6 per script for one plate at each booth; pre-sale tickets cost $65 for adults and $35 for children and are available for purchase through July 12. (A portion of the proceeds will benefit Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers Association.)

Then, guests are invited to Banyan Courtyard to cool off with Mango Cocktail Mix Down, in which local mixologists Christina Maffei, Justin Park and Jenny Engle will take part in some friendly competition, using Ketel One Vodka and mango as the main ingredients to concoct a mixed drink destined to wow the crowd.

“Last year we had more than 20 varieties of mango showcased at our event, and I encourage guests to learn about the different types of mango — they each bring a unique flavor profile to different types of cuisine,” Chen says, noting that UH master gardeners, local farmers, growers and arborists will be on hand to share the best practices in pruning techniques, production, and the care and maintenance of mango trees, along with providing information on mango growing.

Mangoes at the Moana quickly has become a tradition at the resort, and has expanded beyond its day-long celebration. In fact, the feast of mangoes continues on to the next day, July 14, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., when Chen will partner with celebrity chef Lee Anne Wong to host a Sunday Brunch Five-Course Family-Style Menu paired with cocktails. Guests are invited to dine with these culinary talents and indulge in an Asian and French-influenced spread of Mango and Pork Shumai, Pork Belly, Mango Kimchi Seafood Pancake, Kale Mango Salad and more. Reserve your space for $55 per person (limited seating is available).

In addition to a weekend full of everything mango, Chen says, guests can have their fill of mango all month long.

“All of our restaurants are offering dishes and drinks centered around mango. We really take the time to celebrate the fruit,” he says.

At Beachhouse, patrons will be greeted with Mango Chicken Sausage, Mango Bread and Mango Salsa (a savory condiment for scrambled eggs) in the breakfast buffet (complete buffet is priced at $34 per person).

Renowned afternoon tea ($34 Veranda Tea Set, $40 Moana Classic Tea Set, $48 First Lady Tea Set) includes a sampling of Mango Scones, Mango Butter and Mango Lemon Curd. And lunch and dinner patrons must save room for dessert and relish in Mango Panna Cotta ($10).

“The Mango Panna Cotta is amazing,” Chen says. “Custard and vanilla components really pair well with mango — they highlight the fruit, and Mango Panna Cotta is light and refreshing for summer.”

Cocktail enthusiasts, gravitate to Beachhouse Bar to sip on Mango-jito ($13), an original creation inspired by bartender Brian Yamada. Beach Bar offers a tempting Green Mango Twist ($7) and Mango Peach Fizz ($12).

And the perfect drink calls for a meaty sandwich — more specifically, Surfrider Cafe’s Pulled Pork Sandwich with Mango BBQ Sauce ($17).

“We take fresh pork butt and braise it overnight until it’s nice and soft, and we make our own barbecue sauce with fresh mangoes and cook that down, it takes a good 18 hours or so,” Chen explains. “The sandwich is sweet and tangy with a lot of bright flavors from the mango.”

Chen is even taking Mangoes at the Moana beyond the Waikiki property. Catch him today at Kahala Whole Foods from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Chen also will be joined by chef Lee Anne Wong July 9 at 5:30 p.m. at Cook Space in Ward Warehouse.

Mangoes at the Moana

Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
2365 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu
923-2811 or 924-4749
http://www.moana-surfrider.com/dining/mangoesatthemoana/

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