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With most of the culinary attention in the Hawaiian islands drawn to "Hawaii Regional Cuisine," we were fascinated to learn that Kō, the newly renovated signature restaurant at The Fairmont Kea Lani derives its flavorful dishes from humble beginnings--the food of the various ethnic groups that came to work Maui's sugar cane plantations.
The Hawaiian word Kō means sugar cane, a large un-branched grass brought to the islands by the early Polynesian settlers, later hybridized to increase variety and yield and forming at one time Hawaii's largest industry. Native Hawaiians for the most part did not work the cane fields. So the Portuguese were sent from the Azores, the Chinese, Japanese and later Filipinos, Puerto Ricans and Koreans came.
Everyday in the midday sun they'd break for lunch, sometimes sharing a dish and teaching the other nationality about a new vegetable or method of preparation.