The annual “Oktoberfest” in Germany is recognized as the biggest beer festival in the world— a time for German families and friends to come together to share unlimited kegs of ice-cold beer and the delicious food that pairs well with that. Oktoberfest has been running for over 200 years. To date, over 6 million people from around the world go to Germany to join the bacchanalia, making this tradition hard to miss.
This year, you won’t need to go to Munich to take part in this unique celebration. Hyatt Regency Saipan is bringing this German tradition to the island on Oct. 4 and 5 at Kili Café & Terrace, from 6pm to 9pm.
Hyatt executive chef Hartmut Kehm, who hails from Frankfurt, Germany, will showcase the heart and soul of Oktoberfest for two nights at the Kili Café with traditional German food paired with locally crafted Munich-style Marzen beer from Saipan Brewing Co.
According to Kehm, “people from north to south of Germany celebrate as early as mid-September up to October. The tradition started in the 1800s because of a royal wedding where the whole village was invited and a horse race was held to add to the fun,” he said
The celebration was repeated the following year and became bigger and bigger into what is known as Oktoberfest today, he added.
Preparation is key to a successful observance of Oktoberfest. Germans typically begin the celebration with cheese, sausages, and cold cuts. Khem will be replicating that at the Hyatt, starting with appetizers that include a good selection of cheese and smoked cheese salami, smoked ham, air dried beer beef, German sausage “braunschweiger.”
“We have salmon and mackerel as parts of the appetizers because seafood is also a part of the traditional Oktoberfest menu as many villages are located in the coastal towns in Germany.” Kehm said.
Laugen bretzel or soft pretzels, brotchen or bread rolls, and roggenmischbrot or sourdough rye will also be present.
The traditional kartoffelsalat bacon or creamy mustard mayonnaise potato salad, as well as tasty lentil soup with sausage and ham will also be part of the menu.
“This is so because October in Germany is autumn season, where the weather is starting to get chilly. That is why we have food that makes one [feel] warm inside,” Kehm added.
Chicken and pork are staples in the traditional Oktoberfest meal spread. “During this time, Germans are not really big on beef as we rely on cows for milk. …For the meat, Germans are not big on frying but on baking the meat, making sure that it will come out tender and juicy,” said Kehm.
For hot entrees, guests will surely be dazzled by the schweinshaxe or Bavarian roasted pork knuckles, glasierter schinken or honey-glazed ham with apple sauce and roasted chicken sitting on a full can of Heineken beer.
Khem promises that the pork knuckle will be a “fork tender” experience and the crispy skin will have great flavor with every bite. The honey-glazed ham will be juicy, full of flavor and with a caramelized sugar coating. The roasted chicken is a feast itself because it will be succulent. These dishes promise to be perfect with beer.
Other meats include bratwurst or grilled sausages and Frikadellen or hamburger steak.
For desserts, a traditional Oktoberfest meal is not complete without chocolate and pudding. Pastry chef Angelo Ricadio will make German-inspired desserts like schwarzalder kirsch roulade or black forest roll cake, gebackener kasekuchen or baked cheesecake with berries, and reisbrei or rice pudding with strawberry sauce.
“For the black forest cake, we used special cherries as they were reduced in grand marneir de cort, garnished with thick chocolate shavings and the cake itself is a chocolate sponge,” Ricadio said.
From authentic German appetizers to the main course and desserts, Khem promises to make Oktoberfest come alive on Saipan.
The dinner buffet is priced at $65 per person and $45 for Club at the Hyatt members. Reservations are highly recommended. For more inquiries, call (670) 234-1234 ext. 26.