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Cover Story

Anytime, Anywhere, a Cutting-Edge Cafe That Suits You

Story By Alana Folen Photos By Leah Friel
May 13 - 19, 2012

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Husband-and-wife duo Ken and Cindy Wong have brought the exotic flavors and vast culinary atmosphere from the thriving metropolis of Hong Kong to our majestic paradise here in the Islands. In 2010, the Wongs opened the doors to Anytime Cafe, an eclectic dining establishment that has it all. Conveniently located in Market City Shopping Center, Anytime Cafe caters to a diverse array of palates, presenting diners with a menu filled with more than 100 remarkable items to choose from, ranging from traditional Hong Kong favorites such as milk tea to some of the best pasta you’ve ever tasted.

Dining Out took the time to catch up with Ken and Cindy, who recently returned from an annual trip to their homeland of Hong Kong. They eagerly shared about their elaborate food journeys and gave us an inside scoop as to what will be hitting Anytime Cafe’s menu starting today, in addition to a special treat in store for Mom this Mother’s Day.

DO: You recently traveled to Hong Kong in hope of returning with new culinary concepts for Anytime Cafe? Any luck?

Cindy: Yes, we were in Hong Kong for two weeks in March and we were inspired by so many dishes. We visited many different restaurants and cafes while we were in Hong Kong, and I wanted to bring much of what I tasted and experienced back home to Hawaii.

DO: What’s on trend in Hong Kong’s dining scene?

Cindy: I noticed that truffle paste (black and white truffle paste) is utilized a lot in Hong Kong, so I brought that back home with me to incorporate into our cuisine here at Anytime Cafe.

You’ll find that in Hong Kong they can put it (truffle paste) on almost every dish. I wanted to create specials that showcase this paste, including Trio Shrimp Spaghettini and Cheese Ravioli. I think here in Hawaii there are not many restaurants that feature many dishes with truffle paste.

Street food also is extremely popular (in Hong Kong). You’ll find street vendors selling sweet snacks such as Hong Kong-style waffles and mini egg pops, and we hope to have that available in our restaurant this June.

DO: Can you explain how Anytime Cafe is reflective of cafes found in Hong Kong?

Ken: Hong Kong’s cafe-style of dining is similar to Anytime Cafe because there’s a wide spread of choices no matter what you’re craving. And just like Hong Kong cafes, our restaurant is open very long hours. The Hong Kong-style is East meets West, and we do offer Hong Kong-style cuisine, such as wonton noodles, which is very traditional, but we serve authentic pastas as well.

DO: With many celebrating Mother’s Day today, what can people expect from Anytime Cafe?

Cindy: We’re featuring a special Mother’s Day menu today. It’s priced at $23.95 per person and includes an appetizer of Shrimp Risotto Croquette, Clam Chowder Soup, an entree choice of Osso Buco (braised veal shank Lombardy style simmered in red wine tomato sauce served over pasta) or Trio Shrimp Spaghettini (tiger shrimp and bay shrimp in a white truffle cream sauce topped with stuffed shrimp), and last but not least, Chocolate Mousse for dessert.

DO: Delicious! Anytime Cafe is a great place to bring the family, correct?

Ken: Yes, we definitely have something on our menu that everyone will enjoy. We always aim to please, and our customers appreciate that they can find something that they love to eat, and don’t have to worry about their kids not enjoying the meal. For example, a mother might enjoy Wonton Noodle Soup and a child will be happy with pizza.

DO: Anytime Cafe has been open for more than two years, and over time you’ve gained quite a loyal following. What is the secret to your success?

Cindy: Yes, we have quite a lot of loyal patrons, so we want to add more items to our menu so that they don’t get bored. Currently, we have more than 100 items on our menu.

DO: Very impressive. What have been the best-selling items here?

Cindy: Most definitely our Baked Pork Chop with Fried Rice ($12.95) is our No. 1 entree, consisting of pork chop and onions with our own homemade tomato sauce over fried rice. Locals also really rave about Wonton Noodle ($7.95) featuring six pieces of shrimp wonton in a special broth. The broth is very delicious and the noodles really absorb the flavor. When it comes to appetizers, our Thai Style Pork Cheek ($6.95) is a hit.

Ken: Our pastas are popular, too. Credit goes to our chef Sonny Laforteza.

DO: There’s much for diners to look forward to. In fact, Anytime Cafe is releasing a couple of new dishes today! What can people expect?

Cindy: We’re unveiling Cheese Ravioli ($12.95) in a creamy black truffle sauce, and Shrimp Spaghettini with Thai Curry Sauce ($12.95), which features tiger shrimp and fresh vegetables in a Thai red curry sauce served over spaghettini. It’s not too spicy. We have quite a lot of regular customers who give us ideas for new menu items.

DO: Lastly, Anytime Cafe offers a fusion of flavors, from Chinese, Italian, local to everything in between. What makes your restaurant stand out above the rest?

Ken: We put emphasis on the highest-quality cuisine for an affordable price — we even import the pasta from Italy. I’ve owned so many different restaurants over the years, and I try to put all my experiences into one cafe. If you like to eat local food, Italian food, Asian food, we have it all here. We’re open till late, so you can always come and have your fill. Everything on the menu can be ordered at any time of the day or night.

Anytime Cafe

  • Where
    • Market City Shopping Center
    • 2919 Kapiolani Boulevard #218
    • Honolulu, HI 96826
  • Call
    • (808) 735-3888
  • Hours
    • Monday – Friday
    • 10 a.m. – midnight
    • Saturdays
    • 8 a.m. – midnight
    • Sundays
    • 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.