A Breath of Fresh Chinese Cuisine
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Owning a restaurant with a name as unique as Lung Fung Chinese Restaurant, one is bound to receive questions about the name’s meaning. Such questions are typical, according to restaurant manager Eddie Ma.
“People are always asking me about (the restaurant’s name, Lung Fung),” Ma says. “From the old times, lots of people use that name for ‘good luck’ and ‘good fortune.’ ‘Lung’ is ‘dragon’ and ‘fung’ is ‘phoenix’ in Chinese. If you come in the restaurant, you can see the pictures in the back, the gate and the ceiling panels … it’s all dragon and phoenix.”
The restaurant’s decor is just one of many changes Ma made ever since he became the restaurant’s manager in 2002.
“I did a lot of renovation and updated all the cooking styles,” Ma says. “Lung Fung not only has a chop suey restaurant style; we also have a lot of seafood items.”
Lung Fung first opened in Kalihi 30 years ago and has since moved to its current location in Niu Valley Shopping Center. Due to its location, Ma acknowledges that many of the restaurant’s customers are locals from neighboring communities.
“More people from the East Oahu side come (here),” he says. “I would say ‘thank you’ for all their support, but I’d like to welcome people not only from East Oahu to taste the food at Lung Fung.”
Lung Fung offers an expansive menu filled with many options for customers. Popular favorites include the Crispy Garlic Shrimp ($13.95) — consisting of big shrimp mixed with fried, crispy garlic — and the Spicy Won Ton ($8.95). Other menu favorites are dishes such as crab and pork chop that include the restaurant’s garlic and chili, according to Ma.
The restaurant not only prides itself on its food’s flavor, but on its reasonable prices and product presentation as well, Ma says.
“I have 22 years of experience in Chinese restaurants in Oahu and fine dining experience,” he explains. “People are interested in the look (of our food), so I want to make sure it’s decorated. I want people to feel like they are getting quality food at a low price. The average price range (per customer) is about $10.”
While he has already made many changes to the menu, Ma says he constantly looks for inspiration for new entrees when he visits Hong Kong and China.
“Every month, we put some new items (on our menu),” he says. “Anytime I travel around China and Hong Kong, I see what’s the most popular dish and try to bring it back to Hawaii. I put new dishes on a board, and if people order and they like it, then I add it to the menu.”
To create an affordable dining experience for its customers, Lung Fung offers numerous specials. For example, on the restaurant’s take-out menu, if customers purchase an entree, they also can order Honey Walnut Shrimp (regular price $13.95) for just $6.99. Lunch specials, offered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., are $7.95 and include entrees such as the Minute Chicken Fried Noodle and Beef Brisket Noodle.
“We also recently started a kids’ menu,” Ma says. “For $3.99, you can get orange chicken/beef broccoli, a scoop of rice and two pieces of gau gee; or a bowl of saimin.”
In addition to these promotions, Lung Fung also offers a banquet menu, which is popular among locals for planning parties or events.
“We put a lot of seafood items in the banquet menu and make it very reasonable,” Ma says. “It’s (Lung Fung) good for holding a party because there’s a lot of parking and it’s very private. They (customers) don’t have to share the area and spend a lot of money.”
Lung Fung Chinese Restaurant
- 5724 Kalanianaole Highway
- Honolulu, HI 96821
- (808) 377-5555
- (808) 377-5566
- Open daily
- 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.