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|Chef Tylun Pang on "What Maui Likes to Eat"|
|Written by Ann Shepphird|
Maui food. I only have to say the words and your mouth begins to water thinking of all the fresh products -- from local fish to Maui onions -- available on the island, doesn't it? Obviously, the best way to get Maui food is to, well, go to Maui -- and enjoy it yourself at one of island's many food outlets, which range from local stands to fine dining restaurants (some of which were featured in our story "Celebrating Agricultural Abundance on the Island of Maui").
A new one to add to the list is Ko at the Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui, which translates to "sugar cane" in Hawaiian, and celebrates both the agricultural abundance of the island and the mix of cultures that came together during the plantation era. Even better, Ko's executive chef, Tylun Pang (pictured above at Otani Farms), sources 90 percent of his produce from regional farms, including Hali'imaile Farms, Escobedo Farms, Kula Farms, Keaau Farms, Evonuk Farms, CN Farms, Allen Nago Farms, Anuhea Farms, Kamuela Farms, Shishido Farms, Pacific Produce and Island Paradise Farms. As Chef Pang says, "Listening to the farmers and fishermen and their stories helps me understand what they produce and what's being caught. I can then use my knowledge and training to take the flavors to the next level."
For those who'd like to bring some of those flavors home, Chef Pang has a book called "What Maui Likes to Eat" (click on the Amazon link on the right if you'd like to order) that is filled with recipes and stories from the island. Even better, 100 percent of the sales from the book are donated to the local culinary academy on Maui. And, Chef Pang was kind enough to share one of his signature recipes with us. See below for his Kobe Beef Poke, which uses island favorites such as Kula onion, Maui raw sugar, Hawaiian alaea salt and Japanese cucumber. Enjoy!
Kobe Beef Poke
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
For the steak rub:
For the relish:
To make the steak rub, mince the garlic, chop the parsley, and combine with the chili flakes, salt and sugar. To make the relish, cut up the onion, sun-dried tomato and cucumber per the instructions on the ingredients list. Combine the chopped veggies with the sesame oil and chili paste.
Massage the rub into both sides of the steaks. Heat up your grill. When the grill is hot, sear the steaks. They should be cooked on the outside and rare or medium-rare in the center. Let steaks rest for 10 minutes.
Cut the seared steaks into 1-inch cubes. Put the cubes into a serving bowl, add the relish and toss. Serve immediately.
Photography by Kaz Tanabe courtesy of Mutual Publishing