Lori Wong

grew up surrounded by food. Her family owned the popular local eateries Orson’s, The Chowder House and Byron’s Drive In, among others. She currently runs her own culinary consultancy, Moments LLC, and is a culinary instructor. She is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, Hawai‘i.

Lori originally created her Tūtū’s Kitchen dish, Tempura Deep-Fried Twinkies, as a Valentine’s Day special for The Chowder House and then reinvented it for Byron’s Drive In, where it was one of their most popular items. “It was a huge success until Hostess went out of business and Twinkies weren’t available anymore!”

Why is cooking for your family so important to you?

I was born into the restaurant business. It started with my grandfather, Man Sung Wong—he had a restaurant in Chinatown called Fair Price Grill. My father, Andrew Wong, built the Coral Reef Restaurant for him. Both my parents were great cooks. My mother created the desserts and my father created everything else. It was important to me to carry on the legacy of bringing unique and good food to our customers. Growing up in the business, our customers were our family.

What is your earliest memory of food?

I remember being two years old, going from uncle to uncle at a party, sipping Primo Beer! I have so many foodie memories from growing up. Perhaps one of the strongest is my kung kung’s Chinese breakfast—lup cheong, a crisp fried egg with runny yolk, all in a bowl on top of white rice with oyster sauce. It’s still my comfort food.

Tempura Deep-Fried Twinkies is our April 2019 Tūtū’s Kitchen dish

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