Honga's Lotus Petal by Colorado restaurateur Honga Im Hopgood features Asian recipes like Ohitashi (Spinach Appetizer—Japan), Som Tam Salad (Papaya Salad—Thailand), and Pajun with Dipping Sauce (Scallion Pancakes—Korea).
by Honga Im Hopgood
In today's global culture, it's easy to forget that fusion fare is a recent phenomenon. Only 150 years ago, green tea from China was still a privilege and a luxury, and sushi at 8,750 feet unheard of. Now world-renowned cuisine can be found in the tiniest hamlets nationwide. From the mountains of Telluride comes one of those gems, Honga's Lotus Petal: Pan-Asian Cuisine by Honga Im Hopgood.
Honga's Lotus Petal samples the delicious flavors and eclectic Asian-influenced cuisine that has made Honga's a favorite for locals, skiers, and tourists alike. Whether it's the Coconut Curry Mussels, Spicy Poke, Tom Kha Gai, Bean de Dok, or popular sushi bar, the focus at Honga's is organic, natural, and hormone-free.
Honga's Lotus Petal defines creative with a menu that honors Korea, Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and even dips down to Polynesia. From the tofu to the fish dishes to Honga's exquisite sauces, this book includes recipes for soups, salads, appetizers, main dishes, sushi, drinks, desserts, and more. The easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions guide, while the luscious full-color photographs inspire.
Honga Im Hopgood has visited the kitchens of chefs in Korea, Thailand, Japan, Ball, Bhutan, Nepal and Hawaii. Though a Korean-born native, Honga was educated primarily in the United States. After spending much of her youth in the Southwest, she graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in Fine Arts as a talented painter and sculptor. After college, her interests expanded to include the outdoors: climbing, skiing and hiking, which led her to pursue wilderness medicine and a position on the ski patrol in Telluride, Colorado.
Throughout the years, Honga traveled extensively. She returned to Korea to explore her roots, and another journey led her to Bhutan as a sponsored athlete. Whenever traveling, she enjoys learning about the food behind a culture. Her enthusiasm has been the ticket to visit five-star kitchens in Thailand and step behind food carts on the streets of Bangkok and Vietnam. From these wildly different cooks, she learned the nuances and techniques of food preparation, and her sensitive palate developed.
Back in the States, her athletic abilities and passion for adventure soon attracted the attention of outdoor photographers, and she found side work sport climbing in a television commercial, working as a ski model for Telluride's ski area and modeling for videos, commercials, books, magazines and catalogues.
It was in 1987 that Honga consciously combined her two passions: mountains and cooking. She opened a food cart on main street Telluride, where 13,000-foot peaks met her gaze while she worked. The cart, labeled Vi-Tal Foods—a pun combining vital and Ital, a Jamaican term for a natural and wholesome way of cooking and way of life—was a success. At 26, with no experience in business or restaurants, Honga expanded from the cart by opening Honga's Lotus Petal.
In the sixteen years since her restaurant's inception in Telluride, it has evolved into a popular, thriving establishment, loved by locals and glowingly touted by the New York Times, In-Style magazine, 5280, Ski and other national and Colorado publications. Though the restaurant demands much of Honga's time, she is still an active skier and biker. Traveling remains important, and Honga regularly visits Asia to gather new inspiration for the seasonally changing menu. She cherishes free moments with her daughter and husband.
This page created August 2007
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