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Chai’s Choice

By Lynsey Beth Futa
October 2, 2016

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Bone-in Jamon Iberico Ham ($18 regular, $15 at the bar)

Bone-in Jamon Iberico Ham ($18 regular, $15 at the bar)

Always pushing the boundaries of culinary fare and never hesitating to take a chance on new ideas, Chai Chaowasaree truly is a one-of-a-kind chef and food innovator.

At his renowned Chef Chai restaurant on Kapiolani Boulevard, he lays out a menu filled with intricately detailed recipes. Patrons can rest easy, however, because although the cuisine may seem intimidating, the concept behind it is rather simple.

Chef Chai ultimately strives to offer the most top-notch eating experience for all diners, introducing Asian-fusion food at its best, all while using the freshest produce and highest quality ingredients.

Photos courtesy of Chef Chai

Photos courtesy of Chef Chai

He recently sat down with Dining Out (DO) to discuss one of his must-haves:

DO: What dish are you highlighting this week?

CHEF CHAI: Bone-in Jamon Iberico Ham ($18 regular, $15 at the bar)

DO: What makes this dish so special?

CHEF CHAI: It is carved fresh to order and considered one of Spain’s treasures. The meat comes from the native cerdo iberico black pigs that are fed a diet of high-quality grain and acorns. Each ham is cured in the mountain air for over two years, eventually losing more than 40 percent of its weight as the fat melts away.

DO: Why do you recommend this specialty?

CHEF CHAI: It’s simply the best! The thin slices of dark red ham have a deep, complex flavor and surprisingly mild saltiness. It is served on a warm plate, alongside mini olive oil breadsticks and Spain’s pan de cristal con tomate — which is a savory, fresh tomato spread served on traditional airy bread.

Chef Chai

Pacifica Honolulu
1009 Kapiolani Blvd., Honolulu
585-0011 | Nightly, 4-11 p.m. | chefchai.com