The changing face of Chinese dining In Hawaii
Friday - February 02, 2007
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Hong Kong Harbor View owner Li
May Tang and chef Chih Chieh
Ask Chef Chih Chieh Chang, the talented executive chef at Shanghai Bistro and Hong Kong Harbor View, the dishes of which he’s most proud, and he might just answer “the panda.”
Not that there’s panda on the menu at either of these top class Chinese restaurants - he’s referring to the tiny hand sculptures that he makes out of marzipan for special occasions.
On the morning we’re chatting, he’s just modeled a boar (for Chinese New Year), a family of pandas and a multicolored fish. After all, if you can’t play with your food from time to time, where’s the fun?
But while Chang might have fun when it comes to letting his artistic talent run riot, he’s serious about his role in creating some of the best Chinese fusion cuisine in Honolulu.
Shanghai Bistro and Hong Kong Harbor View owner Li May Tang is just as serious. She travels constantly, and often comes back from trips overseas with recipes and changing trends for the chefs to study.
For Chang, changing the face of Chinese dining in Hawaii is all about changing the presentation, the flavor and the look of Chinese food.
“We keep the more traditional Chinese food at Hong Kong Harbor View,” he says, “but at Shanghai Bistro we like to look at things in a different way, and always come up with something new and unusual.”
‘We keep the more traditional
Chinese food at Hong Kong
Harbor View,’ says Chef Chih
Chieh Chang, ‘but at Shanghai
Bistro we like to look at things
in a different way.’
New and unusual dishes include a sizzling hot and spicy tenderloin steak, fried bacon with prawn scallop rolls, and a coconut crusted live Dungeness crab.
This month there’s an opportunity to sample some of chef ‘s best dishes in the New Year’s menu, which is just $228.99 for 10 people. Included in the Kung Hee Fat Choy celebration menu will be jai and gau, and on Feb. 18 there will be lion dancing and firecrackers too. Jai, the simple monk’s food, takes on gourmet proportions when it’s prepared at Hong Kong Harbor View, and many who’ve tried it swear that it’s the best-tasting jai they’ve had.
“It takes a long time for chef to prepare the jai,” says Tang,“but our customers know that and appreciate the difference.”
That other good luck staple of Chinese New Year, gau, is also on the menu this month at both Hong Kong Harbor View and Shanghai Bistro, and the chef assures me that his gau bears little resemblance to the overly sticky, sometimes tasteless offerings that can be found around town.
“Mine is very moist, very tasty,” he says with a smile.
“The chefs here are very proud of what they do,” says Tang, who runs a tight ship and an even tighter kitchen. “There’s a compromise, sometimes between what the chefs want to create and the taste of what customers want,” she says,“but for the most part, the dishes reflect both the creativity of the culinary team - and the taste that local customers want.”
The Hong Kong Harbor View Kung Hee Fat Choy menu for eight-10 people features Alaskan King Crab Leg, Shark’s Fin with Seafood Soup, Live Dungeness Crab Sautéed with Fresh Coconut and Dried Garlic, Live Maine Lobster sautéed with Black Pepper and Butter Sauce, Peking Duck, Flaming Tenderloin Steak, Steamed Whole Fish, Golden Mushroom with Cabbage, Smoked Salmon Fried Rice, Mango Pudding, Jai and Gau. All dishes are made without the use of MSG.
Hong Kong Harbor View Seafood Restaurant
1 Aloha Tower Drive Honolulu 566-9989
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