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It’s Paina Time!

Cover Story

August 5, 2018

Story By: Elima Pangorang | Photos by: Anthony Consillio

La Hiki Restaurant’s Russell Collier, executive chef Richard Polhemus, chef Simeon Hall Jr. and Lewana Chaulk

In the early 1980s, Kimo Kahoano produced a song that would take over the sound waves of the Hawaiian Islands and continue to do so for generations to come. “It’s Aloha Friday, no work till Monday. Ah do be doo, be doo be doo be doo be doo,” goes the chorus of the song.

Aloha Fridays in Hawaii has become somewhat of a weekly holiday celebrated by islanders to wrap up the workweek and ring in the weekend, and Kahoano conceptualized it perfectly in, what is known today, as a classic local jam.

Assorted Preserved Condiments

La Hiki Kitchen of the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina is following suit to this local tradition presenting Paina Fridays to the people and visitors of Hawaii. An array of ono island cuisine pairs together with hula dancers and musicians for a night of fun times and great memories.

“Paina night is our version of a family dining out in Hawaii,” shares chef Simeon Hall Jr. “It’s our take on some of the dishes you would get at a luau, or some of the tastes you would get driving to the North Shore, and some of the everyday dishes you would get driving around the island.”

Macaroni Salad (part of the Paina Fridays menu)

With the islands’ unique flavors, kamaaina and visitors flock from all over the world to get a taste of North Shore food trucks’ shrimp, or attend luaus for mouthwatering Hawaiian food and so much more. Luckily, one can find it all in one destination — La Hiki Kitchen.

La Hiki’s Paina Friday buffet-style menu ($95 adults, $35 for children) boasts favorites such as House Pipikaula, chicken Long Rice, All You Can Eat North Shore Garlic Shrimp, Poke of the Night, Whole Kalua Pig, Mixed Grill, Opakapaka Lau Lau, Lomi Lomi Salmon, Lava Ash Roasted Root Vegetable, Macaroni & Okinawan Potato Salad, Poi, Banana Lumpia and Coconut Haupia.

Roast Chicken, Fresh Fruit Amuse, Local Farm Veggie Sticks and Hummus, and Chocolate Banana Pudding (some of the items found on the Paina Fridays keiki menu)

There also are more options for children, who like a little more simplicity in their meals. Options available are Roast Chicken with Fresh Fruit Amuse, Local Farm Veggie Sticks and Hummus, and even Chocolate Banana Pudding for dessert, to name a few.

Guests’ Paina Friday experience starts off with a fresh flower lei and a Bacardi Rum Mai Tai for those looking to “get in the spirit” of things.

Among the highlights is the glorified Whole Kalua Pig, that Hall explains requires special preparation.

“The roasted pig comes in on a Tuesday,” he starts. “We brine it from Wednesday, through Thursday, and then on Friday morning it comes out. We have our own secret, very highly guarded brine recipe that we use which is the basis for the roast.”

An assortment of grilled vegetables found on Paina Fridays menu

Once removed, the pork is air cooled for about three hours, which helps retain the pig’s moisture and keep the skin crispy. The pig then goes into a 200-degree oven after drying for nearly six hours and then blasted at 450 degrees for 30 minutes thereafter. The end result is displayed for guests to relish and enjoy.

The idea of Paina Fridays is rooted in family togetherness and supporting local businesses. The chef, who has been with La Hiki since November, is a strong proponent of both ideals and aims to ground La Hiki in such foundations. “I would love to have La Hiki to be 65 percent local ingredients by the end of the year,” says Hall. “Right now we have several (local farmers) that we support but I think we can do more, so we are going to be diving right into it.”

A native to the Bahamas, Hall is thoroughly impressed with his culinary partners and is excited to continue doing work with them and elevating the restaurant’s name. “The team here is very rooted in what they do,” he shares. “There is a lot of appreciation and love for the culture here on the islands. So that’s what I really like about working at La Hiki, is we get to display that.

“We are definitely trying our best to make the experience a place where locals will enjoy as well as for people that has never been to Hawaii. But what I feel is locals can give us our best signature of approval. So that is something that we hope to elevate, as well as giving the guests that come here a very pleasant experience here at the Four Seasons Ko Olina.”

So don your favorite aloha attire, enjoy an authentic local experience with diverse eats, and sing and dance the night away because Aloha Friday calls for no work ‘till Monday!

WEEKEND FUN

With its growing popularity, La Hiki Kitchen has now expanded its Sunday brunch to Saturdays as well. The team invites you to enjoy breathtaking views with amazing bites every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

ABOUT THE CHEF

As the grandson to two very well-known chefs in the Bahamas, chef Simeon Hall Jr. holds more than two decades of culinary experience and has cooked up a philosophy that carried him throughout his career. He aims to “cook as Mother Nature intended and as (his) grandmothers Nola and Nay would have wanted,” according to the chef’s online bio. Chef Simeon keeps things simple yet innovative as he promotes “farm to table” and “sea to spoon” movements within his dishes.

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