The Maila Ta Fan Boka (Come, Let's Eat) started on a high note, as in the top floor of Hotel Nikko Guam. It was nothing overly formal, a brief introduction by the organizer and a breakfast session overlooking Guam's Tumon Bay. To my surprise, there were over 50 bloggers and representatives from various Asian countries attending this event, namely, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan and Philippines. For once, I feel very comfortable tweeting on the go because most people here are doing the same! We were encouraged to tweet, post or even blog on the go with the mobile devices provided. I think Hong Kong should try something like that both for the tourism and the promotion of digital media for what it is worth. I know it is kind of risky to bring out the topic of social / digital media but however you like to define it, it remains an area of growth and one that more people and businesses are trying to understand for its full potential. Anyhow, after breakfast, our first stop was a mango farm!
I was very excited initial for the mango farm visits but it turned out to be a 10 mins walk around a few mango trees.
Disappointed is not the right word to be honest, perhaps unexpected or my expectation was a bit too high to begin with. The fact that countless mosquito were sucking my blood of my pair of legs like a dessert buffet did not help my feeling at all!
I have to admit though, the mangoes were very sweet and some were huge in size as well! I am not going to spend too much time talking about this mango farm because it is not opened for public anyhow. One thing to note is how Guam produces some very good mangoes as well as a huge selection of tropical fruits which we were lucky enough to try at our next destination.
Hamamoto Tropical Fruit World, founded and operated by Hamamoto-san from Japan, he spent over 2 decades in Guam cultivating various fruits, taking advantage of the soil and climate on this island.
Before the tour of the whole estate, we were taken uphill to its so-called cafeteria overlooking the mountains.
The view was truly stunning! The fact that were having lunch here made the whole situation even more amazing! No air conditioning of course but the view made it all up!
In addition to BBQ ribs, BBQ Chicken and Chamorro Red Rice, another very common item was the Kelaguen. It is a citrus dish / mixture with plenty of lime juice often served as cold starters or even main. Various ingredients can be used and during my stay, I tried shrimp and chicken which I found to be quite refreshing especially under such hot climate!
Soon after our lunch overlooking such pretty scenery, we were taken on a tractor tour around the whole estate. Hot, humid and full of unidentified flying insects, it was a busy tour with me waving my hands all the time!
If you are a nature person, you will enjoy this ride. For me, the most interesting thing was this particular tree / plant all along the path. After further inquiries, this special plant was plotted strategically all over the estate to strengthen the soil with the plant's "tentacles" to avoid possible landslide and to minimize the damage from all too frequent tropical cyclone.
The highlight of this tour, at least for me, was the fruits buffet that followed. We were greeted with this sweet yet slightly citrus drink, Lemon-Lime I was told.
A slight squeeze into the cup full of ice and add some ice cold water then you will have an extremely refreshing fresh juice to cool your body! I had at least 5 cups!
That was just the starter of course, we got a whole table of tropical fruits waiting for us!
The Soup Sap was something new to me, subtle sweetness with a mushy texture, I like!
Mountain Apple, no complaints, not a very common fruits in North American but can be found in Hong Kong for sure.
Now as for Bilimbi, it is not for the light hearted because it carries a very sour flavor to a point you would literally yell! A pinch of salt is recommend to go with this fruits to make it less sour. So what makes it a popular? Not only a great source of Vitamin C, it is known to be a great remedy for cough, phlegm, mumps and itchy skins.
At the end of the buffet table, we found something new and interesting, well new in relatively terms of course. A few young coconuts were opened and the meat was sliced thin like sashimi. Chopsticks were offered along with soy sauce and wasabi! The locals like to call it Coconut Sashimi!
The texture of the young coconut meat together with the soy sauce and wasabi taste very much like ... real sashimi!
Some may call it raw coconut with dipping sauce but whatever it is called, they do taste like sashimi! It can be the soy sauce or wasabi that did the trick. This "dish" is a common snack that can be found off the street near popular tourist attractions, do give it a try for the fun factor!
What's best after some fruits? Meat of course! We were taken to an outdoor restaurant. It is a neighborhood joint which welcomes almost anyone that passes by. In Guam, all sort of festivals are abundant, one will find festivals every month (or every two weeks through the year to be exact) somewhere on the island, hosted by the different "regions" / "district." During the various festivals, all food and beverages are free of charge, everyone can come and join the festival celebration. (now the question is how come each district can host such festivals every now and then free of charge? well, simply put, the local government is fairly well financed to my knowledge. Guam is small island and a large part of the land is rented out to the US military for an annual fee of course. This lump sum fee is quite large based on sources and enough to support a lot of the annual expenditures of the island.) Anyhow, back to food! the moment we stepped into / onto the front lawn of this resto, we smell BBQ. This is what I call real BBQ!!!!
When it comes to BBQ, how can there be no Roasted Pig!!! Hello Piggy!
To host such a large dinner for 50+ people, buffet was the best way again. When the food was ready, all the bloggers went into action and snap away!
Aside from the Red Rice, BBQ Chicken and BBQ Ribs, one of my favorite has to be the Breadfruits (or Gollai Appan Lemmai) to be exactly. Texture is very similar to bread hence the name. It belongs to the Jackfruit family but back in the old days, this breadfruits was a main substitute for rice & bread. Exactly, it was the main source of food before the introduction of wheat, pig, chicken and cow from the Spanish 300 odd years ago. Aside from fish, the main source of meat would be from fruit bats back then according to local historians.
While many were busy eating away from the buffet table, I was anxiously waiting for my pig! I want that first cut from the roasted piggy!
Yes I was ultra smokey that it hurts my eyes but for that first piece, I had to be brave!
The chef handling the pig was a funny guy because he gave me this at first! Not funny, not funny at all!
While having my first cut crunchy skin from the roasted piggy, I spotted a little girl being surrounded by people in green polo shirts (bloggers! the green polo was our uniform for that particular day if you have not figure that out yet). Why was the girl being surrounded? Just check out her and you will see why! She is beyond cute! Such an angel, great features and soon to be Miss Guam in 10 years time I am sure!
A few other snaps of the little angel.
Stay Tuned for part 4 / 5 of Guam! :)