We threw a luau. Here’s the menu.


We had a luau for our friend Jacklin’s 25th birthday yesterday and I was pretty impressed by the spread we cooked up.

On the table, clockwise from the top center: Potato-macaroni salad, Kalua pork, Hawaiian rolls (can’t not have ’em!); Teriyaki chicken skewers, kimchi-Spam-pineapple fried rice and garlic bok choy.

Co-cook Synouen was in charge of the bok choy and fried rice. I could have eaten both all day. She’s the one who taught me to make bok choy and I love the way she does it: quartering each stem, then sauteing it in a pan with oyster sauce, fish sauce and a ton of garlic.

For the rice, she rendered down the Spam until crispy, then fried up kimchi and pineapple in the Spam oil. She mixed in a big batch of rice, plus a little fish sauce and soy sauce. She also makes fried chicken fried rice with Roscoe’s leftovers … she’s pretty much a genius when it comes to the art of frying rice.


I took care of the pork, the chicken and the potato mac.

Here’s the recipe we used, though I added a few pinches of curry powder, a lot of sliced scallions and four white rose potatoes (boiled, cooled, then diced).

The chicken breast was cut into chunks and soaked overnight in a tub with a ton of sliced scallions and a bottle of Island Teriyaki from Trader Joe’s. That was easy, but surprisingly, so was the Kalua pork.

It’s done the same way you’d make cochinita pibil, but the ingredient list is much smaller. I used this recipe on Epicurious as a general guide, though my piece of pork was bigger and I changed the way the recipe is finished.

For this one, just take a pork butt (the shoulder), rub it down with a couple tablespoons of course Hawaiian sea salt (alaea red salt, available at Savory Spice in Fountain Valley) and wrap it up in a few banana leaves and then tightly in foil. Pour four cups of water in a roasting pan and place the roast in the dish. Cook it at 350 degrees for 5 to 5 1/2 hours (depending on the size of your roast; they say 5 hours for a 5 lb. roast, I did 5 1/2 for a 7 lb. roast). The banana leaves keep the meat moist and the foil holds everything in.

Here’s where our paths differed. The Epicurious recipe has the cook make a sauce with new water, liquid smoke and more salt. I just saved the juices from the roast, added mesquite liquid smoke to taste and added it to the meat as I shredded it after letting the roast sit for 15 minutes.

We ate at 4 p.m. and I couldn’t eat another thing all night. So stuffed.

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