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|A Flair for Local Talent -- and Hawaii Regional Cuisine -- at Chai's Island Bistro|
|Written by Ann Shepphird|
Located at the Aloha Tower Marketplace on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, Chai's Island Bistro is a haven for local talent. This is true both on the stage (where local entertainment is featured nightly) and in the kitchen, where produce from local farms is featured in Hawaii Regional Cuisine influenced by Chef/Owner Chai Chaowasaree's native Thailand. Chef Chai works closely with local farmers at Nalo Farms and Aloun Farms. He also helped found Hawaiian Island Chefs, an organization whose mission is to promote agriculture and aquaculture in Hawaii and to help promote academic scholarships in the culinary arts.
For those who can't get to Oahu and would like to learn more about Chef Chai's cooking -- or try it themselves at home -- his cookbook, "The Island Bistro Cookbook," is a great place to start. Below is one of the recipes. According to Chef Chai, "This is one of the easiest dishes to make. You don't have to follow the recipe exactly and you can substitute pork or anything else. You can stir-fry it any way you want and make it as fancy or simple as you like. It depends on how much you want to show off for your dinner guests!"
Lettuce Wrap with Stir-Fried Ground Beef
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
In a hot pan, saute vegetableoil, shallot and garlic for two to three seconds. Add ginger and ground meat, and cook until meat is almost done. Add shiitake mushroom, onion, sesame oil, shoyu and black pepper and cook until the meat is done. Add Chinese parsley and turn the heat off.
To serve, put one spoonful of the meat into a lettuce cup. Add tomato and cucumber.