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Bursting With Lemon Zing!

Columns Ono, You Know

April 28, 2013

Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Leah Friel

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade — and while you’re at it, how about some Honey Glazed Lemon Chicken, Lemon Crepes and Lemonade Crabcake? They will all put a little zing in your step!

This week, Ono readers, it’s time to explore the culinary uses of lemon, a fruit from the evergreen tree. Best known for its sour taste (this can be attributed to the fact that lemon juice is about 5 to 6 percent citric acid), it’s only right that I pay homage to my most beloved fruit as a toddler. Don’t ask me why, but all my parents had to do was give me a slice of lemon and I was a happy camper, content for hours on end — in fact, the more sour, the better. I was a strange kid, I know.

Here at the following Ono, You Know locations, you’ll find lemon-inspired dishes bursting with flavor. It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that zing!

Hee Hing Restaurant

First impressions are golden, and with the initial bite of Hee Hing Restaurant’s Honey Glazed Lemon Chicken, you’ll know you’re in for a treat. But, really, what more can you expect from this award-winning restaurant on Kapahulu Avenue other than premier Chinese cuisine with a local twist?

Priced at $8.95 per order, Honey Glazed Lemon Chicken consists of morsels of chicken breast battered and deep-fried to perfection, and topped off with an utterly irresistible lemon sauce along with thin slices of fresh lemon. The meat and savory batter combined with the decadent sauce make for a pristine pairing, to say the least. The sweet and tangy flavors of the sauce have my taste buds dancing on the tip of my tongue.

“This is a very popular dish,” says restaurant director Michael Lee. “A lot of locals like it and it’s a banquet favorite, as well.”

Also, note that the lemon slices aren’t just for decoration — squeeze a bit of lemon juice on the chicken for additional zest.

Want more? Visit heehinghawaii.com for coupons and daily specials.

Hee Hing Restaurant
449 Kapahulu Ave. Ste. 101
735-5544

Eggs ‘n Things

Get a sweet start to your day with a dessert-like breakfast option. Enter Eggs ‘n Things’ Sour Cream Lemon Crepe ($12.75) and Fresh Lemon Crepe ($11.25). I’ve been on a crepe kick for the past week, so when Robby Takahashi, manager of the restaurant’s Piikoi location, presented me with these outstanding creations, it felt like Christmas morning in April! Amen to that!

“Our crepes are made from a secret recipe, but I can tell you that the flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg are rather prominent. When the kitchen staff makes crepes, the entire kitchen smells like Christmas,” Takahashi explains.

As for the Sour Cream Lemon Crepe (my personal favorite), here you have three wonderful crepes, as the foundation of this dish, filled with sour cream and topped with more drizzles of sour cream, fresh lemon and a dash of powdered sugar. Unique? Yes. Big enough for sharing? Definitely. Can you have some of mine? I think not. It’s way too good to share. You’ll have to get your own.

Yet, if sour cream isn’t your cup of tea, opt for Fresh Lemon Crepe, which features three original crepes garnished with fresh lemon for squeezing. And you’ll have to adorn both crepe creations with citrus syrup comprised of orange rind, sugar, pineapple and lemon juice. Spread a hint of this good stuff on your crepes, and you’ll be praising the breakfast gods.

“These crepes are available all day,” Takahashi says. “They’re perfect if you’re craving a lighter dish.”

On another note, Eggs ‘n Things’ Piikoi establishment recently began to offer a few alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine and champagne.

Eggs ‘n Things
451 Piikoi St. (and various locations)
538-3447

53 By The Sea

A palace of elegance and luxury is 53 By The Sea. Enter through ceiling-high double doors, where a grand staircase and an equally impressive dining experience awaits you, not to mention picturesque views of the South Shore and Diamond Head seen through the floor-to-ceiling windows.

The cuisine here offers flavors of Southern Italy, Hawaii and Japan, and fresh, locally grown produce is a priority.

Upon my most recent visit to the establishment, executive chef Thomas Ho presented an alluring appetizer of Lemonade Crab Cake ($19), featuring five pieces of breaded crabcake with a sumptuous lemon puree garnished with radish and frisee.

Trust me when I say that the puree has a strong resemblance to lemonade.

“The lemon puree is a blending of lemon juice, sugar and salt. We blanch the lemon peel at least four times to get rid of the bitterness,” Ho says. “The puree is then finished off with mascarpone cheese.”

“Lemonade” never tasted this good!

53 By The Sea
53 Ahui St.
536-5353