Hawaii’s Chinese Cuisine Is Making Waves
Wednesday - March 17, 2010
I’ll bet you didn’t realize that among the award-winning food in Hawaii, Chinese cuisine is starting to attract national attention.
Seafood Village, the independently owned restaurant located at the Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa in Waikiki, recently joined the ranks of the nation’s “top 10.” In a poll conducted by Chinese Restaurant News, the restaurant was voted sixth best in the U.S.
Steven Matsuno, Seafood Village executive general manager, says the restaurant staff had no idea they were under observation.
“The survey is conducted independently,” he says. “We were not aware when the inspectors were at the restaurant.”
Matsuno says the award was a pleasant surprise, and reflects hard work and attention to detail at the restaurant. ...
It was also an award-winning month for the Hyatt’s own signature restaurant, Ciao Mein. The fusion Chinese restaurant was awarded AAA’s prestigious 4 Diamonds for excellence in both food and service.
To qualify for the AAA award, a restaurant must provide a unique fine-dining experience, and points are awarded for creativity on the menu and for the performance of staff. Like the National Restaurant News surveys, the awards are conducted anonymously and without notice.
Ciao Mein is currently offering a fixed-price, three-course menu for $49, so it might be a good time to try it out if you’ve something to celebrate. ...
If there is ever an award given for innovation in Chinese cuisine, then it should most likely go Pah Ke Chinese Restaurant owner Raymond Siu, who has created a cuisine that’s all his own. He calls it Chinese Hawaiian Cuisine, and it’s a marvelous mixture of contemporary and locally inspired dishes made using local ingredients. There are dozens of traditional and recognizable dishes on the menu, but it’s the first page or so that will
intrigue any foodie, with dishes like Manoa lettuce, Maui onions and Kamuela tomato salad, fresh spinach and Waimanalo greens salad with Ka’u orange ginger vinaigrette and fresh tuna ahi sashimi.
You know immediately that Pah Ke is not your average Chinese restaurant. The desserts are fabulous too. Siu’s fine-dining training (he’s worked with Chef Mavro, Roy Yamaguchi and at Michel’s) shines through in everything he does, and the menu is a delight. “People don’t really expect this standard of dessert - or this kind of food - from a Chinese restaurant,” says Siu.
You’ll find the humble Pah Ke on Kamehameha Highway in Kaneohe. Don’t be surprised to see some well-known chefs eating there when you go. ...
If you live in Hawaii Kai, then it’s no news that there’s an excellent Chinese restaurant, Harbor Village. I am so impressed with the freshness and creativity on the menu and with the high standards that chef/owner Kevin Lee and wife Flora set. Seafood dishes are the specialty here, alongside excellent dim sum. The restaurant is well worth the drive if you live far from Koko Marina Center. Local people trust Kevin with their graduation parties and celebratory events so completely that many don’t even ask for a menu. “They know Kevin will always do something good, so they leave everything up to him,” says Flora. ...
And I couldn’t write about favorite Chinese restaurants without mentioning the new location of Mei Sum. The excellent Chinatown restaurant, home to arguably the best dim sum in the state, is in a larger, brighter space on Nuuanu Avenue but still offers the same wonderful dim sum (available until 7:30 p.m. daily). Purists, please note that the curt and slightly grumpy service that has become part of the restaurant’s charm also has transferred from Pauahi Street to Nuuanu.
And, yes, go ahead and send me an e-mail. I’m happy to be admonished for forgetting your favorite spot.
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