Alan Wong's New Wave Luau
is a glamorous book full of color photos that convey the complexity of his lush and exciting cooking. It is also alive with Chef Wong's passion for his Asian heritage and that of the Hawaiian Islands, where his restaurant has three times been selected Best Restaurant of the Year by Honolulu
Chosen Best Regional Chef for the Pacific Northwest in 1996 by the James Beard Foundation, Wong is a master of multicultural cooking. Called Hawaiian Regional Cuisine, his dishes fuse local ingredients and traditions with foods and techniques from Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Taking the succulent meat from whole Kalua Pig, pit-roasted luau style, he uses it in a risotto dotted with corn and crunchy water chestnuts, then enriched with truffle butter. He also features this smoky pork in nachos built on crunchy taro chips, topped with chile-spiked guacamole.
As you feast on the photos, it is almost possible to taste the artistic creations depicted, each one dense with contrasting flavors and textures. His Surf and Turf, for example, features grilled beef tenderloin and a Kona lobster tail wrapped around a scallop. They are served with a roasted potato topped with wasabi-spiked mashed potatoes. This potato sprouts leaves of tat soi, an Asian green, and spiraling antennae of fried linguini. Grilled marinated mushrooms and asparagus add to the plate, which is drizzled with a sauce combining cream, truffle butter, and soy vinaigrette. Then it is ringed with shining dots of basil oil and finished with a sprinkling of chives and diced tomato.
Lest this strenuous cooking intimidate you, it is easy to make Wong's Asian Guacamole flavored with ginger and sake, Five Spice Risotto rich with shiitake mushrooms, and Asian Ratatouille, unexpectedly enhanced with oyster sauce and sesame oil. Each adds immeasurably to a meal of grilled fish or store-bought roast chicken.
Anyone with an ice-cream maker must try the recipes for tropical Guava, Lychee-Ginger, and Mango Lime ice cream, and a quartet of memorably exotic, liquored sorbets. --Dana Jacobi
Wong's Hawaiian cooking transcends what most tourists to the
islands ever experience as native cuisine. Mark Knoblauch -- Booklist, Chicago, IL June 1, 1999
[This book] celebrates the individualistic fusion cuisine of one of Hawaii's top young chefs. The recipes are clear and well written. -- Library Journal June 15, 1999