A World Of Food Choices
Wednesday - March 22, 2006
Here’s a fun foodie game for you. Where would you go if you had a limited budget for breakfast, lunch and dinner (say $40), had to eat a variety of ethnic foods, and couldn’t walk more than 100 yards or so between restaurants?
Me? I’d go to McCully Shopping Center. In a very small space - the two level shopping mall houses about 21 businesses - there are more than 13 restaurants of varying ethnicities.
I spent some time there the other morning, walking from one place to the other, choosing some of the most popular dishes from some excellent menus.
Start at the bottom left corner (facing away from Taco Bell) and you’ll find Regal Diner. Regal has been open for 13 years and serves huge portions. Specializing in local-style plate lunches, their prices are terrific and they have a hugely diverse menu. Rib Eye or N.Y. Steak plates ($7.50) come with two scoops rice and one scoop mac salad, and you can add a green salad for just 29 cents extra. Regal has everything you’d expect to find in a plate lunch place. Meat Jun, ($6.95) Beef Stew ($3.95), Garlic Shrimp ($7.50), Mixed BBQ Plates ($7.50), Chinese Chicken Salad ($4.50), Saimin ($4.95) and naturally, a Loco Moco plate ($6.25). There’s a vast catering menu too.
And while you might be able to find a great cross-section of our food culture at Regal Diner, walk just a few steps along the mall and you’ll be in Thai food heaven. Phuket Thai has a well-deserved reputation for excellent Thai food.
Japanese more to your liking? Then try Kyoto Ramen or the Curry House.
Or how about Vietnamese? Fresh healthy plates of delightful Vietnamese dishes are available from late morning to night at the Viet Café, where a helpful menu of photographed dishes is posted on the door.
Then there’s the fabulously eclectic Bistro a Un, with its heavy drapes (are they shower curtains?) hemmed with safety pins. This fascinating little restaurant offers a surprisingly diverse Japanese fusion menu. The dark doors may seem imposing, but step on in, you’ll really enjoy the food.
Upstairs, Brazilian fare is on the menu at Tudo De Bom. If you haven’t yet dined here, you have to go at least once for the unique experience. The all-youcan-eat restaurant specializes in grilled meats (rodizio) served at table on long skewers, carved by waiters who continue serving you until you say stop or beg for mercy, depending on how much you can eat. Salad bar and side dishes are included in the price (about $21.95 for dinner), and while most of the grilled meats are delicious, some are outstanding like the top sirloin.
They’ve even got home-style Korean food at McCully in the newly opened Sogongdong, where bi bim bab is served in a stone pot, and pot stews include beef intestine and soup of pol-lack roe.
Drinks? Head downstairs to Coffee or Tea?, where they serve a selection of some of the best bubble drinks in Honolulu - and a variety of hot and cold drinks.
And you can’t mention McCully Shopping Center without its most famous resident restaurant. Fook Yuen has the best lobster deal in town - and some of the most popular Chinese food. They’ve been serving their $9.99 Maine lobster special for years, and it shows no sign of losing any of its popularity. I know chefs and their families who make Fook Yuen a weekly stop.
The tiny shopping mall seems to encapsulate all of what’s best about eating in Hawaii. Chinese, Korean, Japanese, mixed plates and Brazilian cultures and all live harmoniously on one small corner.
And the final touch that makes the center a perfect stop for food? The wonderfully decadent Cold Stone Creamery. Choose your restaurants carefully - you have to leave room for dessert.
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