Ducks in a RowCover Story
June 6, 2021
Story By: Ginger Keller | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
With Father’s Day just weeks away, Chef Chai at Pacifica gears up for the occasion by providing special Wiki Wiki Boxes ($135 for two) to honor dads and all that they do.
Available for order now, the bundle can be picked up between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. June 19-20, or customers can opt to have it delivered right to their doorstep for $12-$15, depending on the area.
“The food comes chilled like our novel Wiki Wiki Boxes, and there will be instructions for you,” explains owner Chai Chaowasaree. “No cooking, no cleaning, no lines.”
On the menu, guests can expect two appetizers — Naked Shrimp Salad with Lemongrass Garlic Vinaigrette and Heart of Baby Romaine with Caesar Dressing and Garlic Croutons — as well as two hearty entrées that Pop is sure to love.
In fact, the Cantonese Style Roasted Duck with Five Spices Duck Jus is a recipe that Chaowasaree picked up from his own patriarch. It’s a way for the Thailand native to pay homage his father, who’s one of his chief inspirations and the reason he was introduced to the food industry in the first place.
“You always miss your dad,” he says. “My father is the one who started the restaurant in Thailand when we were growing up. It makes me tear up just thinking about it. We just wanted to do something special for the dads. Most of the time, it’s always about Mother’s Day, but fathers are just as important.”
Preparing the duck is a labor of love, according to Chaowasaree, and takes several hours to concoct. Anticipate flavors of several Chinese spices, soy sauce and lots more.
“One of the ingredients is a Chinese flower. I don’t even know the name,” Chaowasaree says with a laugh. “But I know how to make it because my dad taught me.
“We’ve never featured duck before,” he adds. “We wanted to do something different.”
The second entrée, meanwhile, is the Roasted Prime Ribs of Beef with Natural Beef Jus and Creamy Horseradish. It takes about four to five hours to craft, which is exactly why Chaowasaree recommends guests order soon, as the Kakaako eatery is only making about 300 boxes.
On the side, find Roasted Hamakua Mushrooms with Garlic Pepper and Fresh Herbs, Aloun Farms Long Beans and Steamed Coconut Milk Garlic Ginger Rice. To complete the perfect meal for two, indulge in a Chocolate Cheesecake with Fresh Berries and Raspberry Guava Puree.
“If we can, and if it’s available, we always try to support local. It’s sustainable, and critical and important for Hawaii,” says Chaowasaree.
A bit sooner, though, Chef Chai at Pacifica celebrates Filipino Food Week, starting today (June 6) through June 12. At $50 a person, guests can enjoy a set menu created by chef Mark Lopez, which features everything from Pork Dumplings and Sisig Chicken Wraps to Black Tiger Prawns and Pork Belly Lechon Roulade. For dessert, treat yourself to sugar-free Halo Halo and Fried Caramelized Banana Lumpia.
And, for even more of Chaowasaree’s evergreen food concepts, residents and visitors alike can find his new restaurant — Kalo Hawaiian Food by Chai’s — at the Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki Beach on Royal Hawaiian Avenue. The local food eatery boasts everything from lau lau and kalua pig to poke and poi. Check out kalohawaiianfood.com for more information.
“Besides the food, we want guests to understand and appreciate Hawaiian culture. To me, that’s always No. 1,” he says. “We’re never just doing the food for the food, we want to have people experience the culture, too.”