Jaws Drop for Seafood Village
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BY RACHEL BREIT
“It’s got a little crunchiness, but this thick, sweetened sauce …” Steven Matsuno, executive general manager of Seafood Village, couldn’t even finish his sentence. He was overtaken by a bite of the Kalua Short Ribs ($18.95) he was describing. “The sauce is sweet and tangy,” he continues. “The short ribs are fried crunchy and then sauteed in this special sauce. Basically it’s a sweet and sour sauce with honey added.” That’s the winning formula for bite-sized morsels that beg to be eaten with your fingers and salivated over.
“They are very popular.” Matsuno’s declaration seems to state the obvious. Martin Yan is to be thanked partially for the success of the dish.
“Our chefs go back to Hong Kong every once and a while, and we have relationships with some celebrity chefs that we collaborate with.” Yan, most notably famous for his award-winning cooking show, Yan Can Cook, is one of those chefs.
“Chinese food automatically lends itself to eating with family and friends,” says Matsuno.
Seafood Village is the perfect place to gather friends and family for a special occasion, but you don’t always need one. Right now, Seafood Village is offering a Kamaaina Lunch Party Menu from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for parties of 10 or more. And at $10.95 per person, you can’t go wrong, especially since Kalua Short Ribs are included on the menu.
Another dish that’s a catch is Tea Leaves Smoked Jumbo “Kahuku” Prawns ($23.95). Fresh from the North Shore and presented in a thatched bamboo basket that harkens back to old-style fishing, the prawns are cooked in their skins to lock in the flavor. Slices of garlic cloves and what looks like nori accompany the prawns.
“That’s a tea leaf!” Matsuno explains. Fresh oolong tea leaves are deep-fried to release their aromas; the prawns are sauteed into them. The leaves are crispy and salty (like green potato chips) and the prawns burst with local flavor. “This isn’t your grandma’s Waikiki anymore,” says Matsuno, referring to all of Waikiki’s new attractions. “It’s a great opportunity to come check out Waikiki again.” And Seafood Village is the right place to stop for a bite (or two) to eat.
Seafood Village Chinese Cuisine
Hyatt Regency Waikiki
2420 Kalakaua Ave.
Daily, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (lunch); 5-10 p.m. (dinner)