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Paul Cuenco

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Member Since: Jun, 2010

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Blogs by Paul Cuenco

Predicament: Hasan Baharin
3/18/2012 8:47:45 PM    [ Flag as Spam or Inappropriate ]

He was one of those who invented fusion or east/west cuisine, Hasan Baharin.

Hasan was PDX Mike’s best friends. He was Mike’s mentor and Mike talked to me a lot about him. He was a very interesting guy, born in Singapore but his parents were Malaysian. Of course there were times when either party would upset the other, but generally they remained friends. Hasan treated Mike fairly well up until he died.

He hired Mike at Temasek, a restaurant specializing in French preparation using Asian ingredients. He was an interesting guy. He was a cool guy who taught Mike a great many cuisines especially rice. Hasan taught Mike a lot about rice. Hasan’s rice dishes were dynamic. Rice, for example, that was denuded of its starch turns out to have great flavor because of its ingredient such as saffron. He also showed Mike that there were different types of rice.

He taught Mike how to make red curry and whole lot about cooking – galangal lemon grass, red curry, shrimp paste – he opened up for Mike a whole breathe of Asian ingredients. Mike learned about galantine and balantine. Both were prepared more or less the same. You take the skin of an animal and force the meat using the skin as a sausage casing tied with britches and then served slice with sauce. The difference was that galantine because it was served cold should be seasoned with much more in a robust manner. Balantine was served hot and was not seasoned as robustly than cold food. So, you season the cold food more. Sauce was applied to the both of them.
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Website: www.paulcuenco.com

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One time, Hasan challenged him to tunnel bone a duck without a knife, meaning the only cutting implement was his fingers. You remove the bone of the duck but not break its skin and then force the meat into the “tunnel.” Mike did the wings but he can’t “tunnel” the rest. The leg could also be done. Hasan didn’t think he could but Mike did it.

When it came to reviews, he got a two out of four from San Francisco Chronicle’s Patty Unterman. He was satisfied with this rating. But with Michael Bower of American Bistro, inspite of getting a two star rating, Mike became angry. He understood about the service but Michael Bauer misidentified thyme for rosemary. He instructed his staff to call on him whenever there was a complain. Indeed, seven guest made complains and he pointed out that they had identified thyme for rosemary, too just like Michael Bauer.

Patty Unterman, Mike thinks, invented the word fusion. Although another restaurant was doing the same thing that Temasek was doing, both restaurants had hit the idea on the spot. Hasan Baharin was three years before his time. Temasek was like what Pokpok (a famous Thai restaurant in Portland, Oregon) is now, at the forefront of a revolution in cuisine. And aside from Hasan, Roy was his partner.

When the restaurant was booming, the partners Hasan and Roy decided to open up another restaurant. But the second restaurant‘s store front was too small while the restaurant itself was too large. It did not make money like Temasek did and it sucked out all the money from Temasek. The second restaurant was an absolute money pit. It was a textbook version of a restaurant company that wants to expand too fast. Hasan fired Mike and Roy installed his girlfriend in Mike’s position. She doesn’t even know how to cook which made Mike mad. It did not take long for the rest of the staff to quit and soon Temasek met its demise.

After some blood letting, Hasan and Mike became friends once again. Hasan died at 37 and Mike was just 21 or 22. This was before Mike even met his wife. He told me to be careful in telling this story, for Hasan’s memory was truly special. Hasan was a true friend, a mentor and a grand chef.






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More Blogs by Paul Cuenco
• Predicament: Dave and Annette's Housewarming 2012 - Sunday, September 16, 2012
• Predicament: Portland Sands and its vicinity - Sunday, September 02, 2012
• Predicament: Mississippi Street Fair, Portland, Oregon - Saturday, August 25, 2012
• Predicament: Astoria, Oregon - Friday, August 17, 2012
• New Book for Father's Day! - Saturday, June 23, 2012
• Predicament: Saving Money - Wednesday, May 23, 2012
• Predicament: Old Haunts - Sunday, May 13, 2012
• Predicament: Courteous Portland Traffic - Wednesday, May 02, 2012
• Sorry - Wednesday, April 11, 2012
• Predicament: A Day at the Beach - Thursday, April 05, 2012
• Predicament: Dinner at a Deserted Restaurant - Tuesday, April 03, 2012
• Predicament: My Stroke and Writing - Monday, April 02, 2012
• Predicament: The World of the Bay Area - Sunday, April 01, 2012
• Predicament: A Competitor Indeed - Saturday, March 31, 2012
• Predicament: Democracy! - Friday, March 30, 2012
• Predicament: The Garden Party - Thursday, March 29, 2012
• Predicament: Gift-Giving - Wednesday, March 28, 2012
• Predicament: Suicide - Tuesday, March 27, 2012
• Predicament: Water, Water Everywhere - Monday, March 26, 2012
• Predicament: The Floods Of Manila - Sunday, March 25, 2012
• Predicament: Tita Dimple's recollection of Papa Trining - Saturday, March 24, 2012
• Predicament: The Future Should Be Brighter - Friday, March 23, 2012
• Predicament: Death of a Writer - Thursday, March 22, 2012
• Predicament: The Season Re-liveth - Wednesday, March 21, 2012
• Predicament: Time Had Forgotten About - Tuesday, March 20, 2012
• Predicament: Closing Time - Monday, March 19, 2012
•  Predicament: Hasan Baharin - Sunday, March 18, 2012  
• Predicament: A Pimple of my Nose - Saturday, March 17, 2012
• Predicament: What is Mike Cooking? - Friday, March 16, 2012
• Predicament: Papa Eriong - Thursday, March 15, 2012
• Predicament: Kind Words - Wednesday, March 14, 2012
• Predicament: Music and Whit 2 - Tuesday, March 13, 2012
• Predicament: Music and Whit 1 - Monday, March 12, 2012
• Predicament: What You Want to Be - Sunday, March 11, 2012
• Predicament: Father and Son - Saturday, March 10, 2012
• Liza's Life Plan - Friday, March 09, 2012
• The Colleague - Thursday, March 08, 2012
• Oh Taylor! - Wednesday, March 07, 2012
• Dena - Tuesday, March 06, 2012
• Losing My Job, Again - Monday, March 05, 2012
• A Plane to Nowhere - Sunday, March 04, 2012
• A Slave No More - Saturday, March 03, 2012
• Cirque du Soleil - Friday, March 02, 2012
• Mendocino - Thursday, March 01, 2012
• Th Coming Storm - Wednesday, February 29, 2012
• Becoming Old - Tuesday, February 28, 2012
• Ordinary Lives - Monday, February 27, 2012
• Books I Read - Sunday, February 26, 2012
• Discrimination - Saturday, February 25, 2012
• Quintessential Jokes - Friday, February 24, 2012
• The Catholic Experience - Thursday, February 23, 2012
• Promises, promises - Wednesday, February 22, 2012
• Sleepy - Tuesday, February 21, 2012
• Art for Art's Sake - Monday, February 20, 2012
• Mike's Ash Wednesday - Sunday, February 19, 2012
• Holy - Saturday, February 18, 2012
• Summer Home - Friday, February 17, 2012
• Pickpocketed - Thursday, February 16, 2012
• A Penny for a Drink - Wednesday, February 15, 2012
• My Roman Holiday - Tuesday, February 14, 2012
• Luck and Popularity - Monday, February 13, 2012
• It's Valentine's - Sunday, February 12, 2012
• Bosses - Saturday, February 11, 2012
• Education and Options - Saturday, February 11, 2012
• Windy Portland - Thursday, February 09, 2012
• My Job at Costco - Wednesday, February 08, 2012
• Compassion - Tuesday, February 07, 2012
• The Day Paul had Two Parties and other things - Monday, February 06, 2012
• When I Die - Sunday, February 05, 2012
• Sleeping and Dreaming - Saturday, February 04, 2012
• The Loneliness of a Country Road - Friday, February 03, 2012
• Jordan - Thursday, February 02, 2012
• Taxes Galore - Wednesday, February 01, 2012
•  It's almost Valentines - Monday, January 30, 2012
• Habits We Indulge Ourselves In - Sunday, January 29, 2012
• To Cruise or not to Cruise - Saturday, January 28, 2012
• Blah, Blah, Blah - Friday, January 27, 2012
• Rain - Thursday, January 26, 2012
• Charlie* and Dad - Wednesday, January 25, 2012
• Writing and Being A Writer - Tuesday, January 24, 2012
• True Snow - Monday, January 23, 2012
• Reinvention - Sunday, January 22, 2012
• What I Miss - Saturday, January 21, 2012
• A Gift for Valentine - Thursday, January 19, 2012
• Venerable Mr. Wu - Wednesday, January 18, 2012
• The Snow Storm That Wasn't - Tuesday, January 17, 2012
• The Russians - Monday, January 16, 2012
• The Older Generation - Sunday, January 15, 2012
• What is the other half doing today? - Saturday, January 14, 2012
• Mike's Bird dog Stories - Friday, January 13, 2012
• Dying - Thursday, January 12, 2012
• This Modern Life - Wednesday, January 11, 2012
• Jabberwocky - Tuesday, January 10, 2012
• Marriages and Such - Monday, January 09, 2012
• Poetry in America - Sunday, January 08, 2012
• Old Friendships - Saturday, January 07, 2012
• Clark and a whole of other things - Friday, January 06, 2012
• Being (almost) Late - Thursday, January 05, 2012
• At my Starbucks - Wednesday, January 04, 2012
• The Sandusky Affair - Tuesday, January 03, 2012
• Happy Reading 1 - Monday, January 02, 2012
• New Year 2012 - Monday, January 02, 2012
• A Day with my Nieces - Sunday, January 01, 2012
• To Live and Enjoy Life - Thursday, December 29, 2011
• Goodbye Uncle Paul - Wednesday, December 28, 2011
• It's Hector - Tuesday, December 27, 2011
• Going Home - Thursday, December 22, 2011
• A Night in Copenhagen - Wednesday, December 21, 2011
• Trivia Night - Tuesday, December 20, 2011
• Paul's Novels - Monday, December 19, 2011
• Europe - Sunday, December 18, 2011
• Kimmy, my good friend - Friday, December 16, 2011
• The Sad State of my Affairs - Thursday, December 15, 2011
• Once There was a Mansion - Wednesday, December 14, 2011
• Lauren's Happy Uncle's Day - Tuesday, December 13, 2011
• Santa Claus - Monday, December 12, 2011
• Mike, the Francophile - Sunday, December 11, 2011
• The car that never died, I hope - Saturday, December 10, 2011
• My Christmas Lights - Friday, December 09, 2011
• Small Memories - Wednesday, December 07, 2011
• Owning a Business, Bar - Tuesday, December 06, 2011
• What A Wonderful Day - Monday, December 05, 2011
• My Typical Sunday - Sunday, December 04, 2011
• Steve Jobs book - Saturday, December 03, 2011
• Moving on to Spirit Mountain - Friday, December 02, 2011


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