As long as America continues with spacious skies and amber waves of grain along with Supersized
portions, we’ll continue to also lead the world with Supersized waistlines. An unfortunate by-
product of this dilemma is the myriad of miracle diets that appear (and reappear) on television, in
print ads and through e-mail.
My solution is to simply follow the seafood diet. I’m sure you’ve all heard of friends claiming to
be on the Seefood diet…whenever they see food, they eat it. I’m speaking of the real McCoy here:
fish, lobster, crab, oyster, mussels and every other delectable morsel from the ocean.
Not Just Another White Meat
Aside from being an excellent source of protein that’s generally very low in saturated fat, many
choices are great sources of long chain omega-3 fatty acids. Whereas beef is just…well beef, pork
is just the other white meat and everything else tastes like…chicken. Seafood comes in all shapes,
sizes, variety and tastes. From the miniscule tobiko all the way up to minivan-sized maguro or as
delicately flavored as freshly harvested bay scallops to the knock-out-your taste bud flavors of
Seafood also can be prepared in a variety of cooking methods, or simply eaten raw.
Try Something New
I know that we all have tried various forms of sashimi, grilled butterfish or salmon or shellfish in
miso soup. How about mussels sautéed with garlic and onions with fresh chopped tomatoes and
saffron. Or an assortment of fish and shellfish steeped in a rich fish and tomato broth ala the
French bouillabaisse. Poached squid and shrimp make tasty additions to a simple green salad served
with an olive oil and wine vinegar vinaigrette.
Or how about the traditional Hawaiian approach to raw seafood, poke. It traditionally consists of
salted (you must use coarse sea or rock salt) cubes of fish – usually some type of tuna, seaweed
(ogo or limu kohu) mixed with either minced kukui nut or raw onion and minced chili peppers.
Celebrity chef Sam Choy has a poke contest every year on the Big Island, which includes non-
traditional poke. This is where you see creativity in action. Pokes with everything from Thai chili
sauce to tofu have been entered in the non-traditional category. The only key is sashimi grade fish
or shellfish and your imagination.
Any Vegetarian Seafood?
The ocean also offers a wide assortment of vegetarian delights. The variety of seaweed available
rivals animal products from the ocean. In Hawai`i, ogo or gracillaria sp. is a popular namasu item.
It’s also found in poke and other Asian salads. Don’t fret if you live on the mainland – it can be
dried and frozen and rehydrates very nicely – just find a contact that lives in Hawai`i. Rat’s Foot
or codium sp. is popular in miso soup. When added to hot broth, it first turns from a drab olive
green to a vivid green then eventually melts in the soup. The Hawaiian limu kohu is a very popular
addition to poke or other raw fish dishes (I personally like it added to my shoyu while enjoying
sashimi). Limu lipoa is also another popular seaweed for “purists” since it does have a very strong
odor but enhances any raw seafood.
If you don’t feel that adventurous, then simply enjoy Japanese nori, wakame and konbu since all
seaweed products are very good sources of calcium. They actually are more concentrated in
calcium on a weight basis than the best of the dairy products and they are virtually fat-free.
Best Seafood Buffet in Hawai`i
If you would rather just dine out instead of preparing your own seafood, Hoku’s has what I
consider the best seafood Sunday Brunch Buffet, Period. The seafood appetizer bar offers snow
crab claws that are shelled up to the actual pinchers so that all you have to do is bite and pull
removing the whole claw meat without fighting or struggling.
I’m sure everyone has had snow crab at all-you-can-eat buffets where you might as well have
been eating “crab-flavored” surimi out of a crab shell or crab meat that resembled dried crab flakes
since they probably were frozen around the last ice age. Not at Hoku’s. The crab here is very easy
to eat, very moist and actually tastes like crab. Same thing with their lobster. The tails are split in
half and the claws are pre-cracked so that only a minimum of effort is required to extract the
succulent, sweet meat within.
However, the iced shrimp are the crowning glory of the seafood bar. I’m sure you’ve all had peel-
n-eat shrimp at one buffet or another- and they may have even been very delicious, large shrimp
served maybe with an excellent cocktail sauce. However, for the rest of the day or night, you walk
around with well…”shrimpy” smelling fingers. While this shrimp perfume may have added to the
total gastronomic sensation in the restaurant, it doesn’t evoke the same response several hours
later as say Chanel #5. Well, Hoku’s has that topped.
Their shrimp is not only pre-peeled but also cooked to perfection. Almost like that perfectly stir-
fried shrimp dish at your local Chinese Restaurant where the shrimp “pop” in your mouth as you
bite them. And the bonus is no ”shrimpy” smelling fingers. Ditto for the chilled clams on the half
shell-cooked until just done and not a moment longer. They also offer nigiri sushi made to order
including the freshest tasting hamachi I’ve had in Hawai`i (since hamachi is flown into Hawai`i, it
occasionally takes on a stronger fishy odor than desired). The seafood appetizer bar is rounded out
with cold smoked salmon with its usual accompaniments of fresh bagels, cream cheese and red
onions and includes non-seafood selections such as grilled vegetables and breads.
If you still have room after the seafood appetizer bar, the price includes your choice of one menu
entrée item. I had the King crab omelet with shiitake mushrooms and goat cheese. Shiitake and
goat cheese are a pairing that I never would have tried in my own kitchen but they paired very
nicely with the eggs and King crab.
Hoku’s also offers salmon, fish of the day and if you must have it, lamb, chicken and the other
white meat entrée offerings. The only improvement possible (other than to offer all of this at no
charge) would be to offer oysters on the half shell.
The cost is $41, which is as high as buffets go in Hawai’i but again, it’s all relative. A Mercedes
costs a lot but you know you’re getting a good product. Some buffets offer a Toyota price but
you actually end up getting only a 15 year old Chevrolet. Plus a $40 a day for dining seems to be
the benchmark when traveling ala the Food Network Program with Rachel Ray. If you eat
enough, you won’t be hungry the rest of the day and would have only gone $1 over your daily
Hoku’s at the Kahala Mandarin Oriental
5000 Kahala Avenue
Kahala Mandarin Oriental
Honolulu, HI 96816-5411
Phone: (808) 739-8780
Tired of Another Fad Diet? Try the Seafood Diet