Chicken feet delights

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I grew up thinking that everybody in the world eats chicken feet, or I guess I just haven’t met anyone who shudders in disgust looking at a plate of steamed or chicken feet adobo, that is until I came to Saipan six years ago. A new American friend invited me for lunch and we went to this hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant in Garapan. I saw chicken feet in the menu and decided to order it. My companion looked at me as in “seriously?” like he was thinking I was kidding. I was not.

Then he asked how anyone could eat those chicken feet when you don’t know where those feet had been trampling about earlier before they were butchered. I saw he was serious so I ordered chicken wings instead. I learned that not everyone eats chicken feet and while majority of the people in China, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, South Africa, Peru, Mexico, Philippines, Middle East and Vietnam consider it a delicacy, a huge chunk of the world’s population won’t even consider taking a bite of it.

Chicken feet BBQ is very popular in the Philippines. It is usually sold in the streets when it gets dark, and is a very popular hit with kids and adults. I like chicken feet cooked adobo style—marinated in soy sauce, vinegar, onions and garlic, simmer until the feet are tender and all the liquid is drained then pour in a bit of oil to fry the chicken feet.

Chicken feet is served in several Chinese restaurants on Saipan like Guangzhou Restaurant in Garapan, (just be sure to tell the wait staff not to make it too soft and tender or else it will feel like you’re sucking on gelatinous claws (lol), Oriental Dumpling on Middle Road and other Chinese restaurants.

As soon as you get past the images of nails and claws and visions of where those feet had been before its date with the knife, you might even learn to like it.

 

 

 

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Black Burger on Saipan

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 HAVE you ever tried the Black Burger served at the N@chan Café and Restaurant in Garapan? I haven’t heard of black burgers nor seen any on Saipan yet so when I saw it on the menu, I decided to give it a try on Friday evening.

I was thinking they named it Black Burger because   they overcook the patty in a certain way, or something like that but when the burger was served, I stared at it in surprise. The bun was black, like those chocolate flavored buns. They have the buns specially ordered for them. Under the bun was a slab of melted cheese, a huge piece of homemade patties, and something which I loved—baked shredded cheese which was crunchy and crispy I ate it ahead of everything.

The sauce, tomato, onion and lettuce are not molded into the burger like regular burgers anywhere, which leaves you the choice to do as you please. You can insert them all, or just choose what you want. The burger was already a whole day meal for me. It also came with French fries, mayo and catsup dip. Not bad for $9 because you can share it with others. We only finished a quarter of the burger and took the rest of it home.

My dinner buddy decided to try the fish taco and Fish Meunniere Monk Style from the special lunch. N@Chan! staffer George said it was okay although it was already dinner time. Friend Rico joined us for dinner and he ordered one of the special lunch favorites—crunchy breaded shrimp with tartar sauce served on a platter loaded with rice, garlic bread, potato, salad, fruits, and corn.

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As a special treat for the local community, N@Chan! Café and Restaurant is offering 50 percent discount for all draft beer, cocktails, whisky and wines for the Happy Hours from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

For taco lovers, head to N@Chan!5 every Sunday to have your fill of tacos for only a dollar each. Tacos are $2.50 each on regular days. Go for the fish or tacos and chicken burritos which is covered in soft shell, or the beef taco wrapped in a hard taco shell.

All lunch specials are $7.50 and comes complete with soup and bottomless iced tea

N@Chan! also offers 10 percent discount for locals everyday from the ala carte menu.

On the weekdays, you can get a taco combination of all three kinds for $9, served with nacho chips. Taco rice is also available.

N@Chan! Café and Restaurant specializes on a fusion of Oriental, Asian and local cuisine. Popular pasta dishes are the Chamorro pasta which is again on the spicy side, carbonara and meat sauce.

Meat dishes for the special lunches include choices of sauté porkloin, Menchi Katsu which is fried cake of minced meat. The fish special dishes are fish fillet served sweet and sour with chili and black bean.

N@Chan’s lunch favorites are the garlic shrimp special lunches that include choices of garlic fruity shrimp, chili and garlic shrimp, grilled prawn with lemon butter sauce, and prawns and garlic set.

For the appetizers and chasers, selections include all-time favorites like oyster bacon, spicy shrimp, calamarez, chicken or beef kelaguen, Chamorro sausage, chicken chasers and more—from $3.50 to $8.

Splurge in the Surf and Turf section and have a feast of New York steak, Ribeye SteDSC_0992ak Tenderloin steak, or burger steak and local lobster combination. Premium seafood dishes are the Maine and local lobster prepared in a variety of delectable ways. Also check out the set menus of chicken adobo, fish sautéed & shrimp, peppered chicken in coconut; Japanese curry or the local curry, noodles, grilled salmon, Chamorro fried rice, loco moco, octopus fried rice and more. Each order of the set menu comes with rice, soup and salad.

Along the sandwich lines, N@Chan!5 boasts of the regular burger, bacon cheeseburger, Chamorro burger which you have to think twice if you have a low tolerance of anything spicy, chicken teriyaki burger, New York Steak, tenderloin steak and for the non-meat eater, fish burger. These are all served in customized rectangular wooden trays and costs from $7.50 to $15.50 for the whole meal.

The comfortable ambiance at N@Chan! provides several options to diners like the main dining section or you can go up to the elevated portion with cozy sofas for your meals or drinks and enjoy a bit of privacy, or you can have drinks at the bar counter.

For smokers and those who prefer the natural breeze, the tables outside provides the perfect place. N@Chan! general manager Lee Sungnam runs the place.

N@Chan! is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. WiFi is available. Only cash is accepted for now. For reservations, call 233-5233.

The name is Roberto’s

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THE flash of blue and orange signboard announcing “Roberto’s Café & Restaurant” caught my attention while driving along Beach Road in Garapan on Friday afternoon, and I knew I just had to go back and see what it has to offer two hungry stomachs.

 

 

Flying Tilapia

Fried Flying Tilapya

It was past 5 p.m. and I haven’t had anything yet for the whole day except for a couple of cups of coffee. The glass walls gave us a quick glimpse into the inside of the restaurant before we pushed open the glass door— neat walls devoid of any decorations and ornaments, wooden chairs and tables, counters filled with an assortment of nuts.

They handed us a couple of the one-page laminated menu and I immediately saw what I want—flying fried tilapia. Intrigued, I did not ask questions but just waited to see why it was called flying tilapia. My buddy decided he wanted Roberto’s version of boneless fried chicken.

The food staff served us chicken noodle soups in small bowls as we waited for our order. Then my ‘flying tilapia’ was served, answering my question. It was a big one, sliced on both sides making it look like it is flying, and deep fried to perfection just the way I like it. My tilapia set came with a serving of steamed rice, vegetable salad, pickled papaya and finadene sauce.seafood vegetables

A few minutes later, my buddy’s order was served—crispy bite size boneless chicken pieces served on a bed of vegetable salad. It came with garlic sauce and a serving of rice. We dug into our food but did not finish the tilapia. We took the remaining half of it home. For dessert, I got one of the freshly baked cheese tarts. We were halfway into our early dinner when more diners came in, including a family with kids.

Roberto’s Café & Restaurant opened just three weeks ago and they are already getting a good share of diners from both locals and tourists. As soon as the sun started to set, the food staffers pulled the blinds up, giving us a good view of the Beach Road and the IMG_7490Saipan lagoon bathed in gold, red and orange reflections from the sky.

Try Roberto’s specials like lobster which you can order grilled teppanyaki style or steamed, or pair if off with a combination of steak for the Surf & Turf option, and prawns.

Roberto’s main dishes selection include beef stroganoff, hamburger steak, breaded cutlet, breaded seafood platter, seafood vegetables Chinese style, deep fried shrimp, and another must-try—Robert’s special Pakbet Bagnet Filipino style.

The all-dbeef stroganoffay breakfast specials include omelets, local breakfast, French combo, Pinoy breakfast, fried rice in several variations, and pancakes. They also serve various noodles, salads, desserts like banana split, ice cream scoop, cakes and cupcakes.

Steaks are also available in 8 and 10 oz servings. Try Roberto’s version of Angus Tenderloin steak, Angus rib eye steak and Angus New York steak. Roberto’s also serves a variety of pizza like Hawaiian, cheese, pepperoni, four seasons, and Roberto’s Special Pizza—from $15.99 to $19.99.

The food staffers said they will start serving breakfast earlier very soon. Most of the food at Roberto’s are within the $8 to $20 range, and the servings are generous. Roberto’s Café & Restaurant is locatedBoneless fried chicken at the ground floor of the Gold Beach Hotel along Beach Road. They are open everyday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. They only accept cash for now. For reservations please call 235-BOBS (2627).

Reef coolers at the Hyatt’s Splash Bar

???     TUCKED away behind the poolside waterfall of Hyatt Regency in Garapan is a nook that not everyone knows about, especially if you don’t venture beyond the swimming pool. The Splash Bar is located in between artistically carved boulders with superb views of the swimming pool and the waterfall.

I have been to this nook several times but last Saturday was the first time that I stayed and decided to try something from the menu.

I decided on the Reef Cooler from the cocktail list, a non-alcoholic cocktail made of fresh banana, orange, apple and pineapple juice which was served in a tall glass. I would have preferred coffee but despite the cold rainy day, the Reef Cooler was so refreshingly tempting. I sipped on it while waiting for my cheese burger which was served shortly, a grilled burger with melted Swiss cheese, a platter of French fries, pickles, tomatoes and onion. The burger was so big for me that I knew from the start I was only going to finish half of it. I took t??he other half home.

The bartenders at the Splash had their hands full with the constant stream of hungry customers, most of them dripping wet from a swim.

The Splash Menu includes a selection of salads, starters and sides, burgers from the grill, sandwiches, pizzas and desserts. Must-try items are the Thai chicken salad wrap, Splash burger, any of the pizzas and more. Burgers and sandwiches are served with fries, sweet potato chips or a side salad, and all below the $15 mark.???

Alcohol and non-alcoholic cocktails are also available for $8 to $10. Try the Mai Tai, Golden Margarita, Blue Pacific, Banana Rama, Pina Colada, Long Island Iced tea, Strawberry Peach Daiquiri, Blueberry Bliss, Citrus Cooler, Tropical Iceberg, and Strawberry Jubilee.

A selection of snacks are available for kids include grilled cheese, grilled ham and cheese, chicken nuggets, kid’s burger, chopped salad and peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

The food selections at the Splash Bar include just your regular favorites but the ambiance is priceless. You can relax at the bar counter with a cold beer or a refreshing tropical cocktail as you watch a basketball game on the flat screen TV mounted on the wall, listen to the soothing sounds of the waterfall, or soak up the sun in one of the loungers at the poolside with your drink.

You can also have your o??rders delivered at any of the tables near the poolside. It’s one bar where no dress code exists, where the chairs are designed for wet diners. Although majority of their customers are hotel guests or pool users, anyone can walk in and order anything from the Splash Bar.

The Splash Bar is open from 10 a.m. to 5 .pm. everyday. Cards are accepted, and hotel guests can add orders to their room tabs. For more information please call the Hyatt at 234-1234 or visit http://www.saipan.regency.hyatt.com.

Authentic Italian cuisine at Giovanni’s Restaurant

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZs-UHioHwQ

 

HOW do you know that the Italian pasta you are eating is genuinely Italian? With the emergence of thousands of restaurants in the wo??rld advertising Italian cuisine in their menu even without using Italian ingredients or preparing a certain dish the traditional Italian way, Hyatt Regency Saipan is inviting the community to get a real taste of authentic Italian cuisine.

In observance of the International Day of Italian Cuisine which is being celebrated by over 1,700 Virtual Group of Italian Chefs in over 70 countries in the world of which Colombo is a member, Giovanni’s is serving spaghetti al dente with tomato sauce and fresh basil, a simple but emblematic dish starting last Friday night and all the way to January 31, 2014.

For this special celebration, I got the rare chance to watch Hyatt Regency’s executive chef Gabriele Colombo whip up a special sample of the signature pasta for the next two weeks right inside Giovanni’s kitchen.

Watching Chef Colombo at the stove from start to finish was a feast to the eyes and the senses. I watched him through my camera lenses as he tossed the spaghetti, arranged them on warmed plates, and until when he sprinkled fresh basil leaves from the Hyatt gardens and finally grated a bit of cheese on top of the pasta.

Colombo said the authentic spaghetti al dente doesn’t have any meat but you won’t even know it. Cheese is not also included in the original recipe but some Italian families use it.

The spaghetti plates were served to our table a few minutes a*?way, and it was hard to wait till we took photos of it before we dug into it. The spaghetti was a bit crispy, and the flavors of tomatoes and fresh basil blending well into the pasta.

We also shared a plate of Caesar salad and tasty bread sticks, as well as dishes from Giovanni’s regular menu—roasted Australian rack of lamb in thyme crust, artichoke and kalamata olives ragout. I split half of an order of medium rare Certified Angus Beef sirloin steak with Hyatt’s Luis Villagomez, knowing I could never finish one by myself.*?

Check out Giovanni’s selection of the finest Italian cuisine including grilled Certified Angus Beef rib eye steak, the hotel’s popular whole baked Maine lobster, veal tenderloin escalope, and baked Onaga red snapper; and Giovanni’s genuine Italian pasta selections, appetizers and soups, and a good selection of pizza.

Enjoy the soft, cozy ambiance of Giovanni’s Restaurant with its subdued lighting and glass walls that offer a spectacular view of the landscaped ponds and gardens outside. It’s one place you want to linger after dinner and relax.

We declined dessert but ordered a cup of the hotel’s famous Macchiato coffee. Don’t miss out on the remaining days and try authentic Italian spaghetti al dente with fresh tomatoes and basil only at Giovanni’s and learn to distinguish authentic from the counterfeit so the next time you go out to eat at restaurants labeled as Italian, you will know if you are being given the real thing or not.

For more information about itchefs-GVCI, visit www.itchefs-gvci.com.

Spaghetti al dente and other authentic Italian cuisine is available for dinner from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Giovanni’s Italian Restaurant. For inquiries or reservations, please call the Hyatt at 234-1234.

 

 

 

American-Mexican lunch at the World Café

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An impromptu lunch on Saturday led me and a buddy to the World Café at the Fiesta Resort & Spa on Saturday noon. The plan has always been there to try out the theme lunches at the World Café but somehow each time we plan to go it always never materializes.

It was just past 12 noo??n and a friendly wait staff took us to only available table at the center of the dining room. Not a very ideal spot for one who wants to observe the general lunch atmosphere but there was no choice.

We headed to the buffet section to check on what the American-Mexican theme has to offer. A chef was busy flipping burgers and rolling burritos with Mexican-inspired stuffing. I skipped the burritos and made myself a cheeseburger before heading to the section for main entrées. I skipped the noodles and the soup section for later, inhaling in the tantalizing aromas rising from the pots.

My buddy tried the Mexican favorites before loading a plate from the hot entrée section. Available were chafers of fried chicken, short-ribs in gravy, and a seafood medley with calamari, mussels, shrimp, and more. I only picked out a few items to sample since I was saving space in my stomach for something more.??

The salad bar is one of the can’t-be-missed sections at the Café World. It is in a small enclosure with mirrors on the wall reflecting the simple yet appetizing items like chicken kelaguen, mixed greens with different seasonings, tomatoes, corn, cucumber slices, kimchi, pickles, salad, and fruits like watermelon, papaya and more.

The dessert section groans with a delectable array of cheesecake, fruit, pastries, a bread basket, fresh-baked desserts and more.??

My buddy was not surprised when I lit up upon seeing the Halo-Halo section at the dessert bar. He knew at least more than half of my lunch will be from there, or more likely crushed ice and he was right. I made several trips to fill my glass with crushed ice and ate until my throat started sending signals to stop. World Café offers several choices of beverages like bottomless coffee, soda and more.

Lunch everyday is a different theme at the Café World but you can check out the ala carte menu to order your favorite food if you don’t fancy the theme lunches.

 

If you want to splurge, pick out any of the live lobster swimming in a cold aquarium just beside the salad bar and prepare for a real lobster treat.

The World Café offers diners a contemporary casual ambiance, with its rattan tables and seats adding to the comfortable aura. For some privacy, a section with glass walls facing the small pond is available but be sure to make reservations if you want to secure that spot.?

If you are going to have the American-Mexican theme lunch on Saturday, or any of thelunch themes on any day, go on a hungry stomach to do justice to all the food. Stumbling in there in a half-asleep state will make you miss much, take it from me. The theme lunch costs $22 for each person, $18 for locals.

??The World Café is open for breakfast from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner is from 6 p.m. to 9:30 pm. For reservations and inquiries please call 234-7171 extension 1585 or call direct line 233-6414.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A feast of grilled delights at Gekka Teppanyaki & Bar

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Chef Jay Adarve ‘plays with fire’ at the Gekka Teppanyaki

YOU can see the Gekka Teppanyaki Bar right across from the main restaurant near the poolside when you step into the lobby of the Mariana Resort & Spa in Marpi, its polished counter tops and comfortable chairs around the bar enticing one to come and explore the mouthwatering temptations in its menu. The Gekka Bar is dead in the daytime, but at 6 p.m. the lights go on and the bar springs to life. It was my first time to be at the Gekka on Saturday night, and my companion was convincing me to go for the BBQ Buffet.

Baked Prawns

I convinced him that we try the Gekka Teppanyaki & Bar when Marianas Resort & Spa when Executive Chef and 2013 Taste of the Marianas Chef’s Competition grand champion William C. Retardo stepped in with a brand new menu and it was not hard to give in.

On William’s recommendation, we started off with a hot appetizer—tofu steak mixed with mushroom and I got my fill taking photos and video clips as our appetizer was being prepared by Chef Jay Adarve.

Ceviche ala Mariana

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I am not a big fan of tofu or mushrooms but it tasted so good the plate was clean after a few minutes. Chef Jay next prepared fresh prawns called Kuruma Eb Ougon Yaki on the grill— three large prawns which he grilled and glazed until they turned golden orange, and served with vegetable salad and half a slice of lemon. My companion almost finished all the prawns, while I dug into the salad. It was our second dish and I was already getting full. The best was yet to come. Our Sirloin Steak salad medium rare was next and again gloried in watching how it was prepared before it was all ready to eat.

1- main photo Mariana Resort & Spa executive chef William Retardo is flanked by chefs Jay Adarve and Arnel Patio.

Halfway into our steak, our seafood feast on a plate was served. Sumptuously arranged on a white platter was a colorful mix of fish slices, octopus, shrimps, prawn, mussels, and scallop with tomatoes, mushrooms and greens. This, too, we cleared off in a short time.

Try the other items in the hot appetizer section like the mixed sausage Sauerkraut, grilled duck sushi roll, scallop with mixed mushroom, spicy garlic shrimp and chicken wings teriyaki from $10 to $14 per order.

The cold appetizers menu includes new style salmon sashimi, beef carpaccio, prosciutto with fruits from $15 to $18 bracket.

Noodles and rice are also available like Yaki Udon, eel fried rice, garlic rice and steamed rice. Certified Angus Beef sirloin steak and tenderloin steaks are available in different sizes.

The highlight of the Gekka Teppanyaki Bar are the items in the Gekka Special Combo menu which includes the Chicken Wings Teriyaki and Baked Shrimp Combo, Angus Beef Sirloin Steak and Baked Shrimp combo, Scallop and Angus Beef Tenderloin combo, and the lobster tail and Angus Beef Sirloin Combo, all served with pickled vegetable, soup and rice.

Complete your Teppanyaki experience with the salmon steak with shoyu butter sauce, mussels with shoyu butter sauce and garlic, lobster tail Shoyu butter sauce, and live lobsters Shoyu butter sauce.Live Lobster Shoyu Butter Sauce

The couple beside us ordered a live lobster and it was grilled fresh and live and served right out of the grill. It was stunning to watch chef Jay preparing eel fried rice like he was just playing, and before you know it, everything was ready and set.

Tofu Steak wit Mixed Mushroom

Dig into the delights of homemade cake, sherbet and ice cream for $4 and fried

ice cream for $9 for dessert at the Gekka Teppanyaki Bar.

Cap your dinner with beer, whisky, wines, cocktail, no alcohol cocktail and soft drinks and juices from the beverage menu. Watching the chefs at the Gekka Teppanyaki and Bar expertly flipping, juggling, tossing and slicing ingredients mid-air with samurai-style knives is a feast to the senses. You smell the heavenly aroma wafting from the griddle making you anticipate your meal all the more. Everything at the Teppanyaki happens so fast but the memory of the food and the taste will linger not only in your mouth but in your memory, teasing your salivary glands and make you come back for more.

You can have dinner at any of the tables around the Teppanyaki if you want but the thrill of watching everything is at the counter. You can also bring your drinks and have it leisurely at the pool side as you watch island dancers and fire dancers perform during the weekends.

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Gekka Teppanyaki Bar opens at 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. everyday. Credit cards are accepted. For inquiries or reservations please call 322-0770 or visit http://www.marianaresort.com.

First published at the Marianas Variety

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