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Tommy Bahama Island Slaw copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur
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Tommy Bahama Island Slaw


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A relaxed island look that feels like you’re always at the beach is the vibe that helped grow the Tommy Bahama clothing brand into a worldwide 160-store retail chain. But Tommy Bahama is more than just a kick-back clothes boutique. Eighteen of those stores also feature a Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar, which serves a great menu of island-inspired grub including killer Mai Tais and da bomb coconut shrimp (which they claim is “world-famous,” here’s the recipe and it’s legit).

Alongside many of the chain’s dishes, including the World-Famous Coconut Shrimp, is Tommy Bahama’s famous island slaw. But unlike the coconut shrimp, the restaurant doesn’t share the coleslaw recipe, and I found no other recipe that worked. I did find a helpful tip or two (soaking the red onions in water for 20 minutes to mellow them), but the finished products were disappointing. So I headed to the kitchen lab for some experimenting, and eventually I came up with a dressing that worked well when tossed with nearly a whole head of cabbage, plus onions and cilantro, and then allowed to sit in the fridge for a bit.

The addition of the crunchy wonton strips at the end is a big part of what makes the slaw so good. But don’t mix them in too early or they get soggy. I prefer to leave them out of the slaw and mix in a fresh handful just before serving. You can make the crunchy wonton strips yourself with some wonton wrappers, oil, and the directions in the Tidbits below.    

I'll bet you're craving a Mai Tai right about now. Try my version of Trader Vic's here

 

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  • 8 ounces (3 cups) thinly sliced red onion
  • 3 cups cold water
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I'm Todd Wilbur,
Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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