Fairmont Kea Lani Kō Restaurant on Maui snags culinary award
Besides the golf, one of the things I enjoy the most about going to Hawaii is the cuisine. It’s some of the most unique – and often healthiest – I come across on my travels and my recent trip to Maui was no exception.
On this trip, we tried to mix in the local restaurants with the resorts. And as you might expect – although it can be a bit pricey – most of the resort restaurants were fantastic, including Kō, the signature restaurant at The Fairmont Kea Lani.
Ko was recently honored with Maui’s most prestigious dining accolade, The 2013 Restaurant of The Year ‘Aipono Award. The recently-renovated restaurant also earned the gold award for Best Hawaiian Regional Cuisine. Kō, which translates to “sugarcane” in Hawaiian, showcases the diverse culinary history of the sugarcane plantation era, serving innovative Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipino, Portuguese, Korean, and Japanese dishes. The expansive menu utilizes nearly 90 percent local ingredients and features family recipes that have been passed down for generations.
When I was there recently, we had the local catch as well as the lamb chops. Both were fantastic as were the appetizers of spicy tuna poke bowl and tangled tiger prawns. And you can get your local fish prepared in a number of different ways, which is unique to the restaurant and region.
“We’re honored to accept the award for Restaurant of the Year,” said executive chef Tylun Pang. “Our team takes tremendous pride in showcasing cuisine that represents Maui’s many cultures. We couldn’t have been successful this year without the support of our island community. We’re very grateful.”
Kō restaurant received four ‘Aipono awards in April 2012, including the gold award for Best Menu for a Small Planet and the silver award for both Best Epicurean Twist on a Local Favorite and Best Hawaii Regional Cuisine. At that time, the Maui County Farm Bureau also awarded Executive Chef Tylun Pang its Friend of Agriculture award for his support of local purveyors and agriculture programs.
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