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The perfect present

Cover Story

December 6, 2020

Story By: Ginger Keller | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO

Chef Chai’s Christmas Wiki Wiki Box includes appetizers, entrées and dessert.

It’s officially December. That means we can guiltlessly adorn our living room trees, mail letters to Santa, bop around to holiday tunes and, of course, indulge in all of the enchanting food that this time of year offers — like Chef Chai at Pacifica’s Christmas Wiki Wiki Dinner Box.

Wiki Wiki Boxes have become quite the hot-ticket item since its inception earlier this year. The idea was initially a way for the eatery to safely continue operations while navigating the pandemic. The parcel, which can be picked up or delivered, is always abundant with Chef Chai’s classically lavish appetizers, entrées and desserts.

Miso Sea Bass

This time around, the special holiday box provides a dinner for two ($130) that includes three appetizers, two entrées and a dessert.

“These items represent the holidays,” says owner Chai Chaowasaree.

“It’s versatile and something you know people will love.”

Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail

To begin the flavorful experience, try starters like Alaskan King Crab Cakes with fresh tomato mango salsa, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktails and Organically-grown Big Island Baby Greens with tangerine vinaigrette.

“Because the food comes cold, we have to choose items that you can reheat and it’ll still taste good and the texture will still be good,” explains Chaowasaree.

The entrées, meanwhile, do not disappoint. Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs with five-spice demi is option one and comes with mashed kabocha pumpkin, haricot vert and Hamakua mushrooms.

Waialua Chocolate Mousse Cake

“If I do a filet mignon or lamb chop, they might dry out,” says Chaowasaree. “The good thing about braised short ribs is, because it’s in a liquid, you can reheat it and the texture and flavor will be exactly the same.”

Option two is a Miso Sea Bass with lobster reduction. It’s served with mashed potatoes, haricot vert, baby carrots and sun-dried tomatoes.

“Sea bass is a little bit pricey, but to me, it’s the only fish that you precook, microwave and it’s still so moist and juicy,” notes Chaowasaree.

Alaskan King Crab Cake

“Normally when you reheat fish, they tend to be dry and rubbery. That won’t happen with this, and we’ve done it hundreds of times so we know it will come out just perfect.”

To finish off an impeccable meal, treat yourself to a Waialua Chocolate Mousse Cake with fresh berries and a raspberry guava puree.

Chaowasaree only has one thing to say about that: “Who doesn’t like chocolate cake?”

A seamless drive-thru pickup will take place at the Kapiolani Boulevard restaurant from noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 23-25. Delivery is also an option, costing only $12 for drop off in Honolulu and $15 for anywhere outside of town.

Although still weeks away, Chaowasaree humbly advises that customers place their orders as soon as possible.

“I think this holiday box will sell out,” he says. “Our Thanksgiving box sold out about 10 days prior. I would say already we’ve already sold a few hundred boxes.”

As a token of appreciation, Dining Out readers will receive a complimentary box of Pineapple Cookies, a recipe dear to his heart, if they order soon.

Orders are currently being accepted online at chefchai-catering.hrpos.heartland.us/menu or by calling 585-0011.

E-gift certificates can also be found on the website and serve as a way to give a meaningful present to those special people in your life.

“During a pandemic, I think food is the best gift you can give someone,” Chaowasaree says.

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