Mad About Mangoes

Columns Ono, You Know

August 5, 2012

Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Leah Friel

Nothing signifies summer more than a ripe, juicy and succulent mango! Regarded as an extremely versatile fruit, mangoes (ripe or unripe) are widely utilized in many world cuisines. Sour, unripe mangoes are found in chutney or used to make pickled mango (my absolute favorite). When ripe, the mango is generally sweet, fleshy and perfect. Did you say mango bread? Mango pies? Mango smoothies? I’m all over it. Cheers to mango season!

I guess word of my love for mango spread, because a couple of weeks ago I was asked to judge the Mangoes at the Moana Recipe Contest held at Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, where many mango enthusiasts submitted mango masterpieces created from their favorite recipes. I sampled everything mango, from mango carpaccio to mango scones. Talk about a hard job — but someone’s gotta do it!

So now, weeks later, thoughts of onolicious mango still dance in my head, and in order to calm this mango madness I looked to a few beloved Ono, You Know hot spots for help. Believe me, this week, I surely “mango tango’d” my way to pure bliss! I’m one happy gal!

Shor American Seafood Grill

Want a classic American dining experience with extreme local flair? Then swim (OK, walk or drive) to Shor American Seafood Grill, located in Hyatt Regency Waikiki. This restaurant with spectacular views of Waikiki Beach prides itself on its sustainability factor as it capitalizes on the freshest seafood and meats, always sourced from sustainable and local vendors.

And in this sizzling summer heat, cool down with Shor American Seafood Grill’s Mango Daiquiri ($10), a delicious blend of rum, Hayden mango and lemon juice. A longstanding drink on the menu, Mango Daiquiri is ever-popular with the Asia-Pacific market. You’ll be amazed with each and every sip, and the mango is blended to perfection.

Now, if you’re craving something a bit more tart, but just as tasty, I highly recommend Red Dirt Chi Chi ($10), which is an off-the-menu option available at Hyatt’s Japengo restaurant. In fact, this drink was proclaimed a winner in Mangoes at the Moana’s Mango Cocktail Mix Down, where all entries comprised of mango and Kettle One Vodka.

“It’s almost like a blended vodka pina colada,” says Japengo restaurant manager Michael Hutton. “I came up with this drink on my own, I was inspired by the red dirt on Kauai.” It’s sweet and savory, and boasts Kettle One Vodka, Grand Marnier, fresh Hayden mango and li hing mui powder. Mango flavored boba tops it off.

According to Hutton, locals fall head-over-heels in love with this drink. And although I sampled a virgin Red Dirt Chi Chi, I couldn’t agree more.

Shor American Seafood Grill
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa Diamond Head Tower, Third Floor
2424 Kalakaua Ave.


A star all its own, Hoku’s at The Kahala Hotel & Resort is renowned for its innovative fusion fare, which highlights the best of Hawaiian, Asian and European flavors. According to The Kahala’s food and beverage director Todd Oldham, Hoku’s was in fact named after the oldest dolphin on property, Hoku.

“Casual elegance is what Hoku’s is all about,” Oldham says. “The service is crisp, yet unobtrusive.”

And the cuisine? Well, the cuisine is divine, especially when we’re talking about executive chef Wayne Hirabayashi’s avant-garde creations, which embody the best in contemporary French cuisine and local flair. Take Hoku’s Seared Foie Gras ($22) for example, which features pan-seared goose liver accompanied by Hayden mango, lemongrass and Hawaiian sweet bread croutons topped off with a balsamic lehua honey reduction.

And since we’re manic about mango this week, Chef Wayne kicked this popular appetizer up a notch.

“Here I’m featuring three different types of local mango, including Hayden mango sauteed with lemon grass and Chinese parsley, puree mango combined with rice vinegar, and a mango bread twill baked to a crisp,” he explains. “Other garnishes are grilled coconut chutney, Molokai red sea salt, herb oil, and balsamic and lehua honey reduction.

“Traditionally, when you eat foie gras, you like to have something sweet and savory to counteract the richness of the liver, and that’s where the mango comes in. Mango is a very versatile fruit, it’s sweet and savory,” he adds, noting that mango season continues through the end of August.

Foie Gras with roasted mango and grilled coconut chutney also will be served as one of the Julia Child’s special dishes featured at Hoku’s. This incredible dish will be served in conjunction with Hoku’s Chef’s Table: A Grand Experience, held Thursdays and Saturdays of this month (except Aug. 12).

The Kahala Hotel & Resort
5000 Kahala Ave.

JJ Bistro & French Pastry

Who needs to jet off to Paris to marvel in sinfully exquisite French masterpieces? Oh, no. Instead, make the journey to JJ Bistro & French Pastry on Waialae Avenue and drown your taste buds in JJ Luangkhot’s French pastry delicacies. Heralded for his ultimate Chocolate Pyramid, Luangkhot possesses great talent in the kitchen. However, that famous Chocolate Pyramid now has some steep competition in Luangkhot’s Classic Mango Bavarian ($4.75 per slice, $30 for entire cake).

Many are singing praises for this decadent cake as it was recently named as a winner at the Mangoes at the Moana third annual Mango Throw Down.

“We have been utilizing mango for many years, but this is the first time we’ve competed in Mangoes at the Moana,” Luangkhot says. “I was up against many talented chefs, and I was surprised when the judges said my dessert won ‘best taste’ because I had just entered for fun,” Luangkhot says. “I was told by the judges that the Classic Mango Bavarian tastes like silk. It’s a light dessert and I really wanted to let the pure flavor of the mango shine through.”

While Luangkhot admits Classic Mango Bavarian has been on the menu for some time, it’s living proof that classic treats such as this are timeless. This award-winning dessert showcases a savory mango mousse infused with sponge cake, and as Luangkhot says, it’s as simple as it gets.

The presentation is pristine and vibrant, and if you’re a mango fanatic you’ll be pleased to know that morsels of sweet mango garnish the plate as well.

JJ Bistro & French Pastry
3447 Waialae Ave.

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