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A new creative and healthy dish

A La Carte

June 12, 2022

Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

Sesame Fried Tofu with Gomoku Rice (Oahu $6.59; neighbor islands $7.69)

Even as part of the largest chain in the retail convenience industry with over 77,000 stores worldwide, 7-Eleven Hawaii is dedicated to its customers and their tastes by offering an array of locally inspired food and beverage selections.

This week, guests can enjoy a brand-new item that was crafted as part of the fourth annual 7-Eleven Hawaii Healthy Bento/Entrée Development competition that took place via Zoom in December 2021. Students were challenged to make a plant-based entrée or bento with no more than 900 calories, and at least two locally grown, caught or raised ingredients — all of which must be cooked, chilled in the refrigerator and reheated.

Avery Serna with his Sesame Fried Tofu with Gomoku Rice

Avery Serna’s dish, Vegan Fried Tofu with Gomoku Rice Bento ($6.59 Oahu; $7.69 neighbor islands), was heralded by judges who raved about the fried tofu with a sweet teriyaki sauce sprinkled with sesame seeds coupled with rice, which includes carrots, edamame, onions, bamboo shoots and shiitake mushrooms.

“I am passionate about Japanese cuisine, and when creating the recipe for this contest and thinking about healthy pairings for tofu, my first thought was flavorful rice,” says Serna, who received his advanced training certificate from Kapiolani Community College’s culinary program and hopes to move to Japan to specialize in Japanese cuisine. “The tofu is a soy-based marinade, so I needed something sweet to balance it against. The naturally sweet vegetables in the rice made the most sense. Even though it is vegan, I hope people feel the familiarity and want to eat this product without feeling guilty about the nutritional side of it.”

Adds 7-Eleven Hawaii food innovation and development manager Debbie Lee Soon:

“Over the past four years, we enjoyed working with the students of Kapiolani Community College and Leeward Community College. To prepare for the recipe competition, our team visits the campuses and shares about our food development process.”

Additionally, 7-Eleven Hawaii has introduced more products catered to specific dietary needs such as vegetarian, vegan and keto options.

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