Wings Within Reach
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Swoop up these golden wings. Voted “best poultry” at the 2005 Taste of Honolulu, where they made their debut, The Mandalay’s Deep Fried Harm Ha Chicken Wings ($9.95) are still winners. Locals were so taken by the lightly battered and golden-fried wings served at Taste of Honolulu that they flocked to The Mandalay, prompting the restaurant to permanently add the wings to the menu.
While they may look ordinary, these aren’t your typical wings. What’s special about them is the traditional Chinese shrimp paste, harm ha. Combined with and marinated in Chinese wine, salt and pepper, it’s what provides the flavor for the succulent wings and makes sauce unnecessary. “Americans created the Buffalo chicken wing; What’s special there is the sauce, but ours is marinated — the sauce is in the chicken,” Linda Chan, owner and manager of The Mandalay, explains.
The wings, not traditionally Chinese but a unique creation of The Mandalay’s chef, appeal to all. “Because it’s a deep-fried chicken wing, American people recognize them, but also Chinese people like them because we add the harm ha sauce to them,” says Chan. This appetizer is easy to enjoy with the beverage of your choice, but Chan says, most pair it with a bottle of “The Chinese Hein-eken,” Tsingtao.
Another finger-food option, dim sum are made daily and cooked to order, ensuring top freshness. Stuffed with mixed vegetables, minced pork and dried shrimp, the Deep Fried Taro Puff’s ($3.50 for three pieces) mix of taro and flour feathers when fried, indicating the “mixture is right,” says Chan. Vegetarian Spring Rolls ($3.50 for 3 pieces) consist of shredded cabbage, celery, carrots, black mushrooms and fried taro wrapped in rice paper then deep fried. These handmade morsels will provide a much-needed “touch of heart” to anyone’s lunch break. Dim sum are available from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
1055 Alakea St.
10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. daily