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Friday, June 17, 2016


Vichai Sae Tung, now Chai Caowasaree, grew up as the seventh and last child of a Bangkok family ten minutes from the Oriental Hotel with a successful restaurant.  Thirty years ago he came to Hawaii on a temporary visa and married Victoria Dubray, a waitress.  Turns out this was a sham and he fought deportation for 15 years.  

A Star-Bulletin article of 21 February 2001 reported on his last ditch effort to remain in Hawaii, indicating that immigration attorneys thought his appeal was unlikely to succeed.  U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka then introduced personal legislation to the Judiciary Committee, allowing Chai to stay until 2003.  I'm searching for the pivotal legal decision, but all appears now to be well for him.

In 1990, at the time Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong opened theirs, Chef Chai founded Singha Thai.  He got his own chef show, wrote cooking books and won Hale 'Aina awards.  In 1999 he opened Chai's Island Bistro at the Aloha Tower, then moved on to Chef Chai's in the Pacifica Building on Kapiolani across from the Neal Blaisdell Arena in 2013.  More recently he also added Chai's Waikiki Hawaiian Fusion at Canterbury Place on Ala Moana Boulevard.  He works every day.

Last night a group from 15 Craigside went to Chef Chai's, led by Cookie:

I won't mention names, but here is what we ate, starting with barbecue chicken and peanut sauce (free):

The highlight dish was the deep fried snapper:

They say the cheeks are the best part.

I ordered the complete dinner with accompanying wines:

First, an assortment of appetizers with a Prosecco, a duck salad, steak and coconut cheesecake with a cappuccino.  An excellent meal.  The whole group enjoyed our evening.

Goodbye Chef Chai:

I should add that 15 Craigside is currently displaying at the Dining Room entrance the exploits of the Monday Night Table, led by mixmaster and photographer Dexter:

Sunday is Father's Day, and the Dining Room always prepares a special meal here.  Then, the next night the Monday Night Table will feature something called Masturbating Butterfly, a beautiful green drink.  

In the meantime, today I will be undergoing cataract surgery on my left eye.


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