We present the first in the personal collection of recipes shared by Chef Felix Tai, Head Chef of Pounders Restaurant. These bi-monthly posts, which will be a part of our popular Eat Polynesia recipe series takes us into the world of Chef Tai, where local Hawaiian ingredients are fused in Asian, Polynesian, and Western styles of culinary art.
As several of you know, Pounders is located at the entrance to the most popular paid attraction in Hawaii, the Polynesian Cultural Center, situated on the North Shore of Oahu. It is in Laie that Chef Tai has perfected his unique style of island focused cuisine.
This particular recipe features a favorite ingredient in Hawaii—Li Hing Mui! For the unfamiliar, li hing mui powder (pronounced lee-hee-moo’-ee) is created from dried pickled plums and has a lovely balance of sweet, salty and sour flavors. This local favorite is normally found sprinkled on candy, snacks, fruits, shave ice and is often mixed into drinks. Chef Tai takes us out of the box and creates a fantastic sweet and tangy dressing for salads, breads, and vegetables. Most Ling Hi Muy powder uses aspertame. If you want a version made with natural ingredients, try looking in a local health food store.
Look for another great recipe from Chef Tai’s personal file soon!
Li Hing Mui Vinagrette
From the personal Collection of Chef Felix Tai, Pounders Restaurant at the Polynesian Cultural Center
¼ cup Rice Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1 Tsp. Honey
1 Tsp. Dijon Mustard
½ cup Sugar
¼ cup Li Hing powder
1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Prep time: 5 minutes
Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a mixing bowl. Whisking while slowly pouring olive oil into the bowl from the side to emulsify.
Store in refrigerator. When ready to serve, take dressing out of refrigerator and allow it to sit until it is room temp. Shake well to re-emulsify before using.
Nina Jones, a mainland gal from way back, is now a transplanted Islander. With her husband of 41 years, she volunteers at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Her hobbies include swimming, traveling, studying and writing about what she is learning from the various Polynesian cultures. Her blogs focus on their history, beliefs, practices and – as an added bonus – delicious food! To her, Polynesia is not just a place to visit, it is a way to live and she is very honored to be able to be a part of their amazing world.