Mastering Mango Season

Cover Story Features

July 12, 2015

Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo

Are you a Haden mango kind of person, or is your favorite variety the common mango? Perhaps you enjoy your yellowy orange fruit when it’s a little overripe, pickled or covered in li hing mui. Or maybe you’re like the talented chefs at Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, who can’t get enough of the juicy tropical treat straight up and chilled from the refrigerator. No matter which way you slice it, the luxurious hotel is calling all mango lovers to join in its celebration of this beloved local product at its seventh annual Mangoes at the Moana event this month.

Taking place at the resort’s Banyan Courtyard Saturday, July 18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mangoes at the Moana allows locals and tourists to eat, learn and be inspired by all things mango. A host of island chefs and professionals have been invited to join the Moana’s culinary team in showcasing Hawaii’s favorite fruit through seminars, workshops, exciting contests, a farmer’s market and more.

“Locally grown mangoes have this distinct flavor to them that you’re not going to get on the Mainland or anywhere else. I feel like that’s something we do very well in Hawaii,” says the resort’s executive chef Ryan Loo, confirming that there’s good reason to rejoice over this vibrant summer staple.

Admission to Mangoes at the Moana is free, and one of the most anticipated portions of the event is the Mango Throw Down, set to run from noon to 4 p.m. Eight of Hawaii’s best-known chefs, including Shaymus Alwin of Azure Restaurant and Lee Anne Wong of Koko Head Cafe, will cook up some friendly competition as they go head to head with their own tasty mango-themed dishes. Attendees will get to enjoy the fruits of the chefs’ labors, and they may purchase tickets to sample each creation ($6 per plate) before voting for the winning recipe. Pre-sale tickets for the Throw Down also are available, offering 10 tickets for the price of eight (the additional two tickets may be used for food or beverages; see contact box).

Other masters of the kitchen participating in this year’s Throw Down are James Aptakin of MAC 24/7, Heather Bryan of Top of Waikiki, Ron de Guzman of Stage Restaurant, Darren Demaya of Kai Market, Hiroyuki Mimura of Taormina Italian Restaurant and Ronnie Nasuti of Tiki’s Bar & Grill.

While reveling in an array of delicious fare, be sure to stop by the Mango Cooking Demonstrations at the Veranda. Executive pastry chef for the hotel, Nanako Perez-Nava, will first share her secrets for whipping up delightful mango scones and mango curd at 1 p.m., then relay how to make glorious mango panna cotta and spiced mango compote at 2:30 p.m.

You’ll also be able to quench your thirst during the day-long affair via the Mango Cocktail Mixdown, sponsored by Southern Wine & Spirits. Mixologists will work their magic to blend the featured fruit of the day with Cruzan Rum, Sauza Tequila and Jim Beam Bourbon in refreshing libations. There also will be a Best Mango Contest in which one guest’s homegrown pick (anyone can enter their fruit to win) will be deemed “Best Mango of the Year.”

Sweetening the deal, the winner will be awarded with a two-night stay at the Moana as well.

If you won’t be able to attend the event, there’s no need to worry because all of the resort’s dining destinations will officially be in mango mode all month long. “We incorporate the mango theme throughout the whole entire resort,” shares Loo.

At the ever-elegant evening restaurant Beachhouse at the Moana, executive sous chef David Lukela presents Mango Ceviche ($18), featuring cilantro-kissed ahi, kampachi, scallops, shrimp and crab tossed in a lively sauce. “My sauce has yuzu, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, a little bit of black pepper and some aji amarillo — a Peruvian pepper sauce,” explains Lukela, who adds that the sweetness of his mango garnish balances out the acidity of the sauce and the pepperiness of the jalapeno.

Mangoes can be found in the subtlest places — such as in the mango salt served with Beachhouse’s bread service — but it also takes center stage in many of the hotel’s dishes. The Veranda’s breakfast menu presents mango chicken sausage, mango bread, mango salsa and even Mango Pancakes ($19). During lunch, Chili Mango Barbecue Ribs ($18) may be found at the Beach Bar and Surfrider Cafe.

Not surprisingly, mango also serves as the perfect addition to the hotel’s sweets and pastries. Perez-Nava imparts this local ingredient into the Veranda’s Afternoon Tea service (prices vary), where you’ll spot mango macaroons, mango mousse with pistachio tart and mango curd among chocolate creme puffs with milk chocolate macadamia nut mousse, haupia roll cakes and blueberry orange scones. Her Mango Keffir Lime Panna Cotta ($9) also may be devoured during lunch at the Veranda or dinner at Beachhouse.

To learn more about the resort’s current specials and Mangoes at the Moana — which will be emceed by Augie T. and Guy Hagi and will feature a silent auction with proceeds going to the Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Kapiolani Community College — call Moana Surfrider at 922-3111 and ask to speak to the concierge desk.

Mangoes at the Moana

July 18 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Note: For pre-sale tickets to Mango Throw Down, call 923-2811 or email Mason.Waugh@westin.com

Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
2365 Kalakaua Ave., Waikiki
922-3111 or dining reservations: 921-4600

Honolulu, HI 96815

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