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Cage free. Grass fed. Farm fresh. Local. Organic. All of these foodie buzz words are changing the face of cuisine across the globe, and while much of Europe has boasted these types of delights for centuries, the latest culinary trends are hitting the gourmet scene in the United States with the opening of another restaurant by Alan Wong, Hawaii's undisputed premier chef. Maui's Amasia features a nearly 100 percent locally-sourced menu that not only showcases the farming community on the island, but also highlights a rich food tradition unique to Hawaii's Asian and Polynesian influences.
Nestled in the middle of the Grand Wailea Resort, Amasia welcomes all those who take flights to Honolulu to hop on another short plane ride to Maui to enjoy some of the best food in the state.
The 411 on Hawaii Regional Cuisine
Hawaii Regional Cuisine (HRC) is a recent initiative by local chefs who wanted to take a gourmet spin on street foods and plate-lunch diners throughout the eight islands. Korean, Japanese and Chinese cultures, as well as influences from traditional Hawaiian culinary practices, have molded Hawaii's food into what it is today.
Wong has already opened two restaurants in Honolulu, the high-end Alan Wong Restaurant and the more casual Pineapple Room, both of which provide unique menus that took local eats off the streets, dressed them in tuxedos and presented gourmet bites perfectly suited for luxury holidays.
Bringing the farmer to the table
Wong's Amasia leaves all other HRC restaurants in the dust as the master chef combines even more cultures under one roof.
"Food brings people together, at the kitchen table or in the plantation fields in many destinations," said Wong. "Guests will experience a sense of place as they see, hear, smell and feel the melding of exotic flavours from around the world, featuring the best of Maui's bounty from the land and sea."
This continental convergence, which includes the tastes of Spain, Peru, Singapore and numerous other international locales, creates an entirely unique menu at Amasia. Additionally, each plate features ingredients grown on the island of Maui itself, from sweet onions and heirloom tomatoes - some of them boast a blue and purple hue - to grass-fed beef and freshly caught tuna.
A total cultural experience
Amasia's offerings don't stop at the cuisine. Diners will experience true tranquility amidst 800 tons of rock taken straight from Mount Fuji and a calming pond filled with koi fish and small turtles. Akin to a traditional Japanese tea house, Amasia's $3 million renovation features not only the formal dining area, but also private tatami rooms for smaller parties, a chic cocktail lounge and fully stocked sushi bar.
Just a taste of the menu
Unlike most high-end eateries, Alan Wong's restaurants are notoriously family friendly and casual despite boasting award-winning menus. Luckily for Aussies, they won't have to wear their Sunday best to enjoy the mouthwatering eats at Amasia.
"This menu is inspired by street food and cuisines from all over the globe," said Wong. "Our food will be experienced in small plates and family-style sharing portions."
Carnivores should not pass up the chance to sample a cut from Maui Cattle Company's ribeye steak, which Wong serves over a bed of locally grown Hamakua mushrooms and Hawaiian chili pepper butter. Or, if Aussies are looking for the taste of the Pacific Ocean, they should order the "Ochazuke" kobujime whitefish, which are caught every morning off the shores of Maui.
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