The Story of Our Sustainable Salmon

by Carolyn on September 22, 2013

Most people are aware that salmon is good for you, with it’s low fat, heart and brain supportive, high omega 3′s.  Salmon also contains important vitamins such as vitamins A, B and D.  I’ve heard tales about salmon, once so abundant, you could walk to the other side of a river, on the backs of spawning salmon. The decline in wild salmon, due to damming, development and other environmental factors, wild salmon has become a scarce commodity.  Anyone who has shopped for wild salmon at the grocery store has witnessed the high cost, which can be from $17-$19 and more.  There are lots of hungry people, and growing, to feed and everyone deserves the option to eat healthy food. Salmon is one of the most popular toppings at Charlie Hong Kong.  Our mission is to offer HEALTHY, AFFORDABLE, SUSTAINABLE food and of course FAST.

Stagnoro Brother’s Seafood, on our Santa Cruz wharf, have been our longtime partners and suppliers of our salmon.  Stagnoro’s,  are aware of our mission to serve affordable food.  With the fluctuating, rising price of salmon, they came to us with a sustainably farmed, salmon that impressed them.  It is a Chinook, also known as King, salmon from Canada.  Like many of you, I had a knee jerk reaction, Farmed!!!???  Immediately, negative images rushed through my mind but because of my respect for Stagnoro’s, I listened.  They assured us, my husband and I, with all their years of experience, cutting fish, this was a beautiful salmon, plus informing us, not all farmed fish is the same.  The quality and price remains consistent something which is important for all restaurants, but especially for Charlie Hong Kong.  Stagnaro got my attention and I began to dig deeper into who this Canadian supplier was.  When I called Creative Salmon, I was very impressed with the integrity and commitment, as they spoke about their salmon.  This person had the same passion about his salmon, as the organic farmers I talk with in Santa Cruz.  He IS a farmer. Aquaculture, means growing animals or plants in the water, while agriculture means growing them on land.  These are committed farmers. Along with their next shipment of salmon, arrives brochures and literature so I could gather more information. The first batch of fliers, somehow came salmon soaked and our office smelled like a fish market until I discovered the source of the slightly fishy aroma.

I’m delighted to report what I discovered.  Creative Salmon is North America’s only major producer of naturally raised indigenous Pacific Chinook (King) salmon.  Since the fish are indigenous, they are naturally tolerant to sea lice and require no sea lice treatments.  They’re fed an organic, GMO-free diet, as close to their natural diet as possible.  This is a small company, their focus is on quality, not quantity.  They carefully follow sustainable farming practices and are in the process of becoming the first certified organic salmon farm.  We decide the next step to reassure us was, to visit Tofino, BC, and check out first hand Creative Salmon.  800 miles of driving, from Seattle and back, including 4 hours on ferries, I can report, we are more then impressed with the high quality of this salmon.  Tofino, the home of Creative Salmon, is a magnificent  surfing town, located on the pristine waters of Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island.  Tofino is in a UNESCO, declared biosphere, demanding that the waters are protected and all businesses are carefully monitored to reassure this happens. The folks at Creative Salmon were welcoming, down-to-earth and well informed.  Creative Salmon is actually run by a marine biologist.  They are totally committed to the health and quality of their fish.  The fish are carefully monitored by underwater cameras and farmers live in floating houses at the farms to constantly care for the fish.  My husband and I visited every aspect of their farms and processing; asked the same questions you might have about their farming practices.  Everything came up with a big yes!  If you would like more information, there are brochures at the restaurant and you can check out their excellent web-site,


Earth Day Celebration!

by Carolyn on April 17, 2013

Earth Day is coming and I always like to honor it with a celebration that directly honors the earth herself. Everyday, at the restaurant, we work with foods harvested directly from the earth: organic greens, broccoli, lettuces, green onion, garlic, carrots, daikon, avocado, tomatoes, yams, peanuts, limes, rice as well as, other food products like both wheat and rice noodles, plain and baked tofu, which are prepared  from what grows in the earth. The chicken, pork and beef toppings we serve are roam on the earth.  The Jasmine and Oolong tea leafs, the herbs and spices harvested from the earth.  To work in the kitchen in the early morning, when the cases of produce arrive, to listen to the chopping, to smell the rising aromas, to see the vibrant colors of greens and orange is a feast for all the senses.  This happens beginning early every morning, like playing among the fields, in our kitchen.  To take this wild abundance, and with alchemical magic, create: Spicy Dan, Pad Thai, Chow Mien, Laughing Phoenix, Chicken noodle soup (Pho) and so much more.

And so it is with so much gratitude for the abundant generosity of our earth, Earth Day is in deed a time for celebration.  A time to slow down and thoughtfully acknowledge the offerings from this blue green earth we live on.  All this natural medicine available for nourishing our bodies.  I see Earth Day as a thank you, as an astonishment, a wonder, a joy for the all that is given to sustain us.

This year Charlie Hong Kong’s celebration will benefit Life Lab at UCSC, which offers farm and garden based programs for children and educators.  It’s our way to honor families and their children who choose to “Eat Real”.

Family pledges to Eat Real

Party for children: Sat, April 20th, 10:30-noon, at Charlie Hong Kong, tickets:, under events tab.  Join us for the fun!


Food Day-It’s Time to Eat Real!

November 5, 2012

Food Day, was on October 24. Mission: to promote a nationwide celebration of a movement towards more healthy, affordable and sustainable food.  In 2011, Food Day, brought together hundreds of thousands of Americans in all 50 states, at more then 2,300 events.  October 24, 2012, Food Day was even bigger, creating a web that criss-cross […]

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Celebration of Plastic Bag Ban for Restaurants

October 11, 2012

Thursday, October 11, at 1 PM, Charlie Hong Kong will celebrate the action: TO BAN PLASTIC BAGS FROM RESTAURANTS. Please join us.  Several of the Board will join us and SOS will be honored for all their hard work.  Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors, passed an ordinance to ban plastic bags in restaurants.  Pleased by the […]

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New York City Girls Awed By Organic Bounty

August 15, 2012

My niece, from New York City, and her best friend, visited  Santa Cruz, this summer.  They had been dreaming about this trip since junior high.  Having just graduated high school and before heading off to college, their trip became a reality early July.  My niece has visited many times with her family, my brother is […]

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Earth Day “Supper Club”

April 17, 2012

This coming Sunday, April 22, is Earth Day.  There will be celebrations all week, including a Santa Cruz community gathering on Saturday.  How will Charlie Hong Kong honor the occasion?  Being present for the original first Earth Day, was a moving event for me.  What seems to have become a big party, though I’m not […]

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Story Of Our Wheat Noodles

March 28, 2012

Five or six years ago, we received the news, the company that made our noodles was going out of business.  This noodle is called a Hong Kong style noodle or chow mein (which means noodle) noodle.  It’s eggless and made from wheat.  So here was the opportunity: find a new noodle for the favorite Spicy […]

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Take a Stand: No Plastic To-Go Bags

January 12, 2012

I know it’s not easy to change.  I know to change a habit can be inconvenient but sometime the effects the habit causes can be enough to propel a change.  When it came to protecting our precious environment, saying no to plastic bags became a habit I chose to break and in the process took […]

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Does Seasonal Organic Produce Matter?

December 13, 2011

I’m having this inner debate about my commitment to serving locally grown-in season-organic produce.  Recently we offered a special, Spicy Green Beans, made from locally grown organic BlueLake green beans.  The beans retained their snap and the sauce was just the right amount of spice and savory.  The season has ended and so has the […]

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Charlie Hong Kong Featured In The Good Times

November 3, 2011

Charlie Hong Kong is a neighborhood eatery, offering noodle and rice bowls inspired by a fusion of Southeast Asian flavors with California organic sensibilities.  The vision: to offer healthy, affordable, “fast” food.  We call it Street Food because this food is intended to be eaten in community for people on the go.  Charlie Hong Kong […]

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