Tag Archives: Cook Real Hawaii

Sheldon Simeon’s Huli Huli Chicken

Bring Hawaii's iconic huli huli chicken to your own backyard grill.
Bring Hawaii’s iconic huli huli chicken to your own backyard grill.

If ever there was a dish to help prolong summer, it’s huli huli chicken.

Ubiquitous in Hawaii, where it’s a staple of food trucks and roadside stands, this flavorful grilled chicken can’t help but transport you to sun, surf, and sand.

There’s no better version to try making at home than the one by favorite Hawaiian son and “Top Chef” Fan Favorite not once, but twice, none other than Chef Sheldon Simeon, owner of Tin Roof and Tiffany’s, both in Maui.

His “Huli Huli Chicken” recipe is from his cookbook, “Cook Real Hawaii” (Clarkson Potter, 2021), written with Los Angeles food writer Garrett Snyder.

“Huli” means turn in Hawaiian, and that’s what you do with this chicken as it cooks on the grill. Just be sure to keep a close eye on the heat of your grill, as the sugar in the glaze will mean your chicken will char easily, as, ahem, my husband found out. Even if the skin gets rather ebony in parts, it will still taste fantastic.

That’s because the glaze is made up of butter, chicken stock, oyster sauce, brown sugar, pineapple juice, ginger, garlic, scallions, and sesame oil that all gets simmered first to thicken and concentrate its flavors.

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Chef Sheldon Simeon’s Hack For Homemade Chow Fun Noodles With A Microwave

A soul-satisfying plate of chow fun — with fresh, chewy noodles made in the microwave.

Maui’s Chef Sheldon Simeon is many things:

The owner of the lovable, guava-sized Tin Roof Hawaiian eatery. A devoted husband and dad. A “Top Chef” finalist and two-time “Fan Favorite.” And what I like to call, the MacGyver of chefs.

There was the time when I dined at one of his previous restaurants, when he talked about how he and a line cook came up with a way to cook perfect pork belly — in Hot Pockets sleeves, of all things.

Then, there was the time when a table of chefs fell silent and began madly typing notes into their phone, when Simeon let slip that he makes his own chow fun noodles and generously began sharing the recipe just like that.

So when I spied that chow fun recipe in his debut cookbook, “Cook Real Hawai’i” (Clarkson Potter), I knew I had to make it. The book was written with Garret Snyder, a former Los Angeles Times food writer.

Through 100 recipes, Simeon gives you a taste of today’s Hawaii, mixing tradition with fun spins that amplify the unique cross-cultural blend of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Filipino and native Hawaiian flavors that makes this cuisine so mouthwatering. Along the way, you get to know him, too, from how his grandpa left the Philippines at age 18 to work on a sugar plantation in Hawaii to how Simeon slyly fed the tired and hungry camera crew of “Top Chef” with his Spam musubi.

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