Alan Wong's

June 17th, 2009

Alan Wong's

Not... (as we'd say in the neighborhood) meaning no way this winner of countless culinary awards, co-founder of Hawaii Regional Cuisine (1992), recognized by Robert Mondavi Winery as one of 13 Rising Star Chefs in America (1994), recipient of the prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef: Pacific Northwest,  Chef of the Year by Santé Magazine (2001), Gourmet Magazine ranked his restaurant sixth in a list of America’s Best 50 Restaurants... how could Chef Wong who also owns The Pineapple Room at Ala Moana Center, Alan Wong's on King St., and Alan Wong's Hawaii at Disneyland in Maihama, Japan... be considered a mom and pop operation?  His Hawaii roots are grounded firmly and he proves it by the support he has given colleagues and local producers from the coffee farms in Holualoa to Nalo Farms in Waimanalo.  This interview is an excerpt from a series called Changing Hawaii. One of our most enjoyable documentary style forays into life in contemporary Hawaii.

For those of you who recall King's Bakery, McCully Chop Suey, Flamingo's, and so many other local landmark eateries that have disappeared you'll chuckle to hear Chef call his fine dining restaurant empire "just another mom and pop (store)".  But he's right. Like Mavro, Hiroshi's, Dk's Steakhouse, Michel's at Colony Surf, Vino, Merriman's, and other spectacular Hawaii restaurants owned and operated as small businesses (vs large corporations) they are uniquely Hawaii and they reflect a lot about who we are in the islands. These restauranteurs and chefs have managed to survive and thrive through changing economies and changing times.  They're like beacons who remind us that it's going to be ok... and that Life is Good.

For more video visit our Arts & Culture channel at www.PacificNetwork

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2 Responses to “Alan Wong's”

  1. Maxine Shea:

    Alan Wong represents one of the reasons why Hawaii is one of the best places to live...Every day we meet with friends and loved ones to experience the different foods from all the cultures we have here. To the down home hibachi at the beach, where we pride ourselves on the best barbeque recipes to meeting at the excellent and varied restaurants in Hawaii with friends, we are so lucky to live in Hawaii! Alan is right, we cannot lose the "mom and pop" restaurants...How I miss Flamingo on Kapiolani for the after work pupu and cocktails and Pork Cutlet, and i wistfully wish for Wisteria with their Japanese breakfast and local style bar! No matter what big name establishments come to Hawaii, we will always love and cherish our mom and pop restaurants!

  2. elee:

    Maxine, yes Alan Wong is fabulous and thanks for the memories. The Wisteria! I forgot to mention. This place saw more local icons go thru their doors than almost any restaurant in town. I think of Uncle Puna Titcomb and other regulars and during campaign season you couldn't go in for breakfast or pau hana without seeing a table of politicians and their strategists, CEOs, GMs... and all us local folks there because we went for local comfort food and a blast back in time.
    I would like to know if anyone knows of a place that still serves free pupus with a glass of beer like the old days when it was common place.