“In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome decree” -Samuel Taylor Coleridge
When I began plotting out how I was going to launch Gourmet Plunder, one thing was clear. It was going to begin with the Hotel Hana-Maui. More than any other section in Mary and Vincent’s exhaustive culinary tour-du-monde, this relatively short section on Hawaiian cuisine has become something of a legend amongst my friends and family. It began, like so many of my dinner parties do, with the announcement of a theme: ‘Hawaiian luau’. However, it was such a success that it became the ‘Annual Hawaiian Luau’ (nobody can quite keep track of just how many there have been)…and then I started buying old Trader Vic’s cookbooks…and then the Tiki cocktail books arrived…and needless to say, it was all downhill from there. So, I can honestly say, that without the Hotel Hana-Maui there would be no Gourmet Plunder.
The story of the hotel, itself, is rather fascinating and fans of Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo will certainly be feeling a sense of deja vu. In the 1940s, wealthy entrepreneur and baseball team owner, Paul Fagan fell in love with the remote district of Hana on Maui island, Hawaii and built himself a ranch there in order to retire. However, the once bustling community that thrived in Hana was in peril due to the failing sugar plantation. In an attempt to re-energize the community, Fagan bought the plantation and turned it into the Ka-’uiki Inn, later renamed the Hotel Hana-Maui. The problem he faced, was how to entice tourists to this remote part of the island away from the magnetic draw of Waikiki and Elvis’ sardonic crooning. His solution? To have his baseball team do their spring training there, drawing in sports journalists who dubbed it “Heavenly Hana” and the rest, my friends, is history. With its tucked away location, exclusive 6 cabin accommodations and press buzz, it is not surprising that the Hotel Hana-Maui attracted celebrities to vacation there, including the Prices.
So, the real question is: how does the Hotel Hana-Maui stack up as gourmet plunder? Pretty well, actually. Aside from some alluring and yet catastrophic landmines like the “Polynesian Coconut Duckling,” most of the recipes featured in this section are incredibly rewarding and worthy of revisiting more than once.
And so, without further ado, I give you my tried and true Hotel Hana-Maui Hawaiian Luau
- Fried Won-Tons Stuffed Cream Cheese and Crab
- Sesame-Soy Chicken Brochettes with Pineapple
- Baked Coconut Red Snapper with Fresh Fruit
- Hawaiian Style Pulled Pork with Baked Bananas
- Passion Fruit Chiffon Pie
- Pineapple and Macadamia Coffee Cake
- Hanaho ‘Come Again’ Rum Punch