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Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at your favorite restaurant? Well, much credit goes to the many chefs, owners and managers who work diligently day in and day out to make sure Hawaii’s diners have a top-notch dining experience.
This week, Dining Out got the inside scoops from Asian Mix owner Daniel Leung, who gave us a little taste of Asian Mix and shared just what fuels his culinary drive.
Name: Daniel Leung
Title: Owner of Asian Mix
Training/Education: Worked in restaurants throughout high school and college, and opened my first restaurant at age 23
Who or what inspires you as a chef/manager/owner?
In the beginning, it was more like I needed a job to support myself through high school and college. My brother asked me to help out with a project on Kauai, so that was how I opened my first restaurant. We were so busy we barely had time to take a day off for a year-and-a-half! I knew I wanted to work with food and be in the restaurant industry, and I always knew I wanted to come back to Oahu, but first I went to California to experience more types of cuisine, especially Northern Chinese cooking. With Asian Mix, I thought it would be nice to open a place that was fast and affordable, but offered quality cooking. I like seeing my regular customers who come in a few times a week. It’s important to me to be able to provide them with a nice dinner that is convenient and quick with the best prices in town.
If you could serve food to a celebrity, who would it be and why? What dish would you serve?
Clint Eastwood. He is one of my favorite actors. I would serve him tofu and vegetables with bok choy, choi sum, and carrots, cooked in a light oyster sauce, plus a little steamed rice. It’s very healthy.
What is your favorite dish on the menu? Why?
My favorites are House Fried Rice and Shrimp with Walnuts. We don’t put soy sauce in the fried rice — its flavor comes from shrimp and chopped up Virginia ham, a salty ham that gives it a lot of taste. Shrimp with Walnuts has a sauce made from mayonnaise, balanced with some lemon and a little sweetness. The walnuts are deep-fried and honey glazed, so they’re really crunchy and sweet.
Is there a dish that you create that’s not on your menu, but available upon request?
We like to be flexible and make our customers happy by taking special requests. Since we can make dishes to order, if we have the ingredients and the customer can describe what they want, we’ll make it. It’s all about building relationships with new and regular customers, and we’re happy when they keep visiting us!
1234 S. Beretania St., A-1, Honolulu
Open daily, 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.