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It Takes a Village to Keep It Authentic
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It Takes a Village to Keep It Authentic

Story By Kyle Galdeira Photos By Lawrence Tabudlo
June 26 - July 2, 2011

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For nearly 20 years, Seafood Village has called the lower level of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort & Spa home. The location, which used to house a night club, offers a unique atmosphere and shape that features three private dining rooms, and remains a favorite with visitors from around the world and kamaaina alike.

  • A decadent spread of dishes from the dinner party menu ($24.95 per person)
  • Manager Johnson Ma with the Honey and Walnut Shrimp
  • Country Style Crab
  • Executive chef Sonny So turning up the heat.
  • General Tso's Favorite Chicken
  • Bacon Wrapped Shrimp and Scallops
  • Tea-Smoked Jumbo Kahuku Shrimp ($23.95)
  • Kalua Short Ribs ($18.95)
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Even the late Michael Jackson left a note of gratitude near the entrance during one of his visits to Hawaii. If the King of Pop’s taste in food was as impressive as his musical talent, Seafood Village will no doubt have customers moon walking with delight.

The eatery has found a way to ride the wave of change in Waikiki. As new buildings spring up and an Americanized form of Chinese cuisine proliferates the dining market, Seafood Village continues to prepare dishes in the “Hong Kong” style. The majority of the staff hails from Hong Kong, and according to executive general manager Steven Matsuno, customers appreciate the authenticity of the experience as a whole.

Its recipe for success includes using the freshest seafood selections available and offering traditional Chinese recipes presented in a simple yet elegant fashion. Executive chef Sonny So brings decades of experience to the kitchen, and is the driving force behind the authentic recipes and their presentations.

Dining Out stopped by Seafood Village recently to get the scoop from Matsuno and manager Johnson Ma.

DO: With the emergence of so many “Americanized” Chinese restaurants, how does Seafood Village remain true to its roots?

Matsuno: We feature Hong Kong-style cuisine, and we’ve been here close to 20 years. I like to say it’s a taste of Hong Kong within the heart of Waikiki in the Hyatt Regency. We have live fish, live prawns, live lobster and live Dungeness crab. It’s a great place to celebrate anything, whether it’s two people or 200. Chinese food lends itself to a party atmosphere; everyone shares and has fun.

DO: When groups dine in at Seafood Village, what sorts of party menu options are available?

Matsuno: We offer multiple menu options to satisfy any party’s need, we have had a lot of graduation parties lately, it’s been graduations galore! We can help with everything from anniversaries to birthdays and retirement parties. For $24.95 per person, groups with a minimum of four people can indulge in one of our dinner party menu sets that includes Chicken Salad with Oriental Dressing, Bacon Wrapped Shrimp and Scallops, Country Style Crab, Honey and Walnut Shrimp, General Tso’s Favorite Chicken, Sauteed Seasonal Vegetables, Steamed Rice and Mango Pudding for dessert. We also feature lunch menu sets starting at $10.95 per person for groups with a minimum of 10 people.

Ma: We offer a good deal for parties, especially at lunch. We have a lot of return customers.

Matsuno: It’s nice to come into Waikiki and experience what we have to offer.

DO: In addition to the party meal options, which a la carte items are customer favorites?

Ma: The Peking Duck ($28) is very popular. Every time we prepare it for the customer, they always exclaim “wow!” Also, they love the walnut shrimp — it’s very popular. This location is very convenient for when people need a break from the world class shopping that surrounds us. It’s a great destination.

DO: Are there any menu specials customers should take advantage of?

Matsuno: We are offering a Tea-Smoked Jumbo Kahuku Shrimp ($23.95) that uses oolong tea leaves, which are deep-fried to bring out all the flavor. The shrimp are cooked and tossed in with the tea leaves, and the result is a unique combination of taste and texture. Another special item is the Kalua Short Ribs ($18.95) that come bathed in a Chinese vinegar and chili sauce. It’s so good!

DO: Is it true that Seafood Village is home to some great dim sum?

Ma: I believe we have one of Waikiki’s best dim sum selections available. In Mandarin, dim sum means “touch the heart,” and our selections do just that. A lot of our Mainland guests know about it and keep coming back every time they visit. It’s made to order and extremely fresh.

DO: How is the parking situation at Seafood Village?

Matsuno: Parking is $3 with validation in the Hyatt, and even if you choose to valet, it’s just $4 and we’ll do the rest!

Seafood Village Chinese Cuisine

  • Where
    • Hyatt Regency
    • Waikiki Resort and Spa
    • 2424 Kalakaua Avenue #103
    • Honolulu, HI 96815
  • Call
    • (808) 971-1818
  • Hours
    • Open daily
    • 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Lunch)
    • 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. (Dinner)
  • Notes
    • $3 validated self-parking and $4 valet parking at the Hyatt.