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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Literature of local eats grows

By Wanda A. Adams
Advertiser Columnist

 •  Sum of all great parts

At the first Hawai'i Book and Music Festival week before last, I landed a copy of the new book by my predecessor, Joan Namkoong. Her "Food Lover's Guide to Honolulu" (Bess Press, paper, $14.95) opens with a quick guide to local and Hawaiian foods and moves on to a guide to restaurants, specialty food shops, farmers markets, festivals and cooking classes, plus a chapter on deciphering Chinatown and a glossary of Island food terms. A very helpful feature is a geographic index showing where to eat and where to shop around Honolulu by neighborhood. Joan even slipped in a few recipes.

This is the book to hand a newcomer, a visiting foodie friend or a returning kama'aina who wants to know where to get the best saimin. Many of us have a visitor's closet where we keep the snorkeling gear, guidebooks, the extra slippers and bathing suits and beach towels, the hats and pool toys and spare keys for friends and relatives who show up from time to time. Throw one of these in there.

But you also might want to have one in the car for yourself you know, when you're trying to remember the name and location of that great health-food store in Kahala ('Umeke Market) or find that new wine shop in Chinatown (HASR Wine Co., 31 N. Pauahi).

Other new books of interest:

  • Mililani High School's Project Graduation has released "Warrior Chefs," a hefty (452-page) cookbook to benefit the class of 2006 alternative graduation party. The more than 375 recipes are mostly contemporary, mostly easy and quick for families, with lots of ideas that would be good for a potluck or backyard party. The book costs $14 and is available at the high school 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, or by calling 627-7747, ext. 219.

  • And "Mene Easy Eats" is a new collection from Moanalua High School's class of 2007, also a benefit for Project Graduation. This one is subtitled "Simple, Fast, Delicious" just what most of us are looking for. I saw recipes for microwave Portuguese bean soup (sacrilege, but time-saving) and okonomiyaki (subtitled Japanese pizza, but really more of a crepe), and also local classics and exotics, such as Thai spicy sweet-potato coconut soup. The 280-page book is $12 (plus $3 shipping and handling, if mailed). Call Carolyn, 342-6133, or Susan, 228-4344.

  • Also signing books at the festival was my counterpart at the Other Newspaper, Betty Shimabukuro. Her "By Request: The Search for Hawai-'i's Greatest Recipes" (Mutual, $13.95), is a compilation of her columns lively and full of Island favorites.

    Send recipes and queries to Wanda A. Adams, Food Editor, Honolulu Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802. Fax: 525-8055. E-mail: wadams@honoluluadvertiser.com.

    For more information about our 150th anniversary cookbook, call 535-8189 (message phone; your call will be returned). You can pre-order the cookbook online.