Honolulu Food Tour & Manchu Spiced Garlic Chicken “Pizzettas”

Kualoa Ranch had a large experimental tree farm

A while back, I got an opportunity to go to Hawaii. I was thrilled at the thought of seeing in person all those scenes I have been watching on tv all these years. The vistas and food did not disappoint. Each meal was fabulous and It didn’t hurt that I was at a professional culinary conference.

On one of the days we were given a culinary walking tour of  Chinatown and lunch at the famous INDIGO restaurant, where the chef Glenn Chu taught us delicious recipes from his homeland of China after the tour.

Beet Dyed Eggs in the market, we were dared to eat by the hawker…

Chef Glenn Chu walked us around Chinatown


Dining Room at Indigo Restaurant

Fresh veggies from the market to greet us that chef Chu used in his cooking demo.

Lunch by Chef Chu

On another day, I did some exploring around town and stopped in for afternoon tea at the Halekeluni Hotel , a 5 star posh hotel overlooking the ocean.

Research! It never ends…

Afternoon Tea at the Halekulani Hotel

The next day we got up with the chickens and headed to the famous Honolulu Fish Auction.. Cold, wet, and loud it was an experience. It was a rare look into the seafood trade that is legendary in Hawaii.

Fish Auction

We got to meet Famous Amos, he had cookies!

Lunch at the Kualoa Ranch

Lunch at the Kualoa Ranch was delectable. The caterer that prepared our lunch was the premier location caterer that caterers for film crews and of course she cooked for the cast of LOST when they were filming there. The guide took us out on a boat ride in a place called Molly’s Pond which is where the location was for the submarine explosion in the LOST series. I remember the tour guide saying the actual sub was about 4 feet long, much smaller than a real one. The trees and foliage was fascinating and we got a lengthy lesson on Poi, a traditional Hawaiian food.

Molly's Pond on the Kualoa Ranch. They had a large experimental tree farm

Let me tell you it was tough to come home…

When I returned home, I found this terrific recipe from Chef Chu for pizza which I adapted for the grill. Now, I know you are thinking I must be crazy thinking about grilling in the winter, but I tell you my friends, it’s the BEST time to grill, you really appreciate the flavor and it’s a welcome change from winter eating- you know,  those comfort food, rib sticking dishes that we eat with heaps of gravy to keep us warm…I know I am guilty of doing this when the temps dip into the negative so once and a while it’s good to have a change of pace..

To print the recipe click here

Manchu Spiced Garlic Chicken “Pizzettas”

Pizzettas is Italian for “little pizza”

Makes 4 individual pizzettas


¼ cup olive oil

2 large onions, thinly sliced

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

1 ½ Tablespoons brown sugar

1 ½ Tablespoons cider vinegar

1 ½ teaspoons garlic, minced, plus 1 tablespoon

Salt and pepper to taste

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced small

2 Tablespoons hot Thai chili sauce

6 Tablespoons chopped cilantro, divided

2 tubes 10 ounce pizza dough from they refrigerator case in the grocery store

3 large plum tomatoes, seeded and diced (1 ½ cups)

1 cup shredded mozzarella

1 cup shredded swiss cheese

1 cup shredded provolone cheese


Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, add onions and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, brown sugar and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until a golden brown color about 30 minutes.

In the same pan, place chicken thighs sprinkled with salt. Add additional garlic and cook for 3 minutes or until firm. Add chili sauce and cook an additional 2 minutes coating chicken as it cooks. Add 3 Tablespoons of chopped cilantro and take off the heat. Let cool to room temperature before adding to pizza.

Preheat grill to medium and keep lid closed until ready to use. Stretch dough from tube and cut in half to form 2 small pizzas. On a cutting board, sprinkle a generous amount of cornmeal and stretch dough as far as you can without tearing it. Open grill and slide dough off the cutting board onto the grill, turn down the grill to low and close the lid. About 5 minutes later, the dough will start to puff up and develop golden grill marks on the bottom of the pizza shell. Take the shell off of the grill and turn it over on a generously coated cutting board with cornmeal. Add the carmelized onions, chicken, tomatoes and cover with cheese. Slide back onto grill and let cook until cheese melts and bottom of pizza is cooked about 5 minutes or longer. When ready slide the cooked pizza back on the cutting board and sprinkle with remaining cilantro. Cut into slices and enjoy!

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