Jade’s Gift to Finger Foods
Diners often forget Chinese food when thinking about pupu options. That’s surprising, considering the family style of dining that is a hallmark of Chinese cuisine means any menu item can become an appetizer. From duck to dim sum, there really are no limits.
At Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant in Ala Moana Center, they’ve embraced this idea and have created dishes that are large enough to share and inexpensive enough to be enjoyed alone.
The Dynasty Stir Fry Pork Chops ($12.95) is marinated for 12 hours in lemon grass, basil, garlic and soy. It is then quick-fried to ensure a crispy skin wrapped around a moist interior.
The Chicken Wings with Ham Har Sauce ($6.95) is a nod to traditional Hong Kong-style dining that combines traditional Chinese flavors with Western influences. The wings are marinated in a white wine garlic, soy and shrimp paste sauce and then slow cooked until tender and juicy.
“We try to mix Chinese and Hong Kong styles to create our own distinct flavors,” says general manager Gary Chan.
That is never more evident than in the Baked Snow Mountain Char Siu Buns ($3.50). “It’s our version of manapua,” says Chan. The truth is that is it much better. The buns are smaller than traditional manapua but contain the same amount of filling. A light, flaky skin is wrapped around char siu pork that is both sweet and creamy. Chan says he isn’t sure of the exact process his chefs use to make the dish, but they have gone as far as Hong Kong to learn how.
Another East meets West item is the Fried Fresh Fish Balls ($4.50). The swai fish (part of the flounder family) is fried and served with a sweet and spicy chili sauce. The dish is based on a Hong Kong lunchtime favorite and has been embraced by hungry Ala Moana workers as well.
Then there is the dim sum, China’s ultimate gift to finger foods. The menu contains dozens of choices that change about once a month. “We change our menu because we want our return customers to have something new to try every time they come in,” says Chan.
Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant is located at Hookipa Terrace, on the fourth floor of Ala Moana Center. The restaurant is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. While walk-ins are always welcome, a reservation isn’t a bad idea as the restaurant has quickly made a name for itself in the 10 months it has been open. Gov. Linda Lingle held a campaign event at the restaurant, and the Chinese Consul General in Los Angeles has been a two-time visitor.
“I guess we must have done something right for him to come back a second time,” joked Chan.
Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant
- Ala Moana Shopping Center, Hookipa Terrace
- 1450 Ala Moana Boulevard #4220
- Honolulu, HI 96814
- (808) 947-8818
- Open daily
- 10:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.