Happy Hour Chinese Flair at Jade Dynasty
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It’s not often people combine the ideas of Chinese food and happy hour, which is a shame. The very nature of many Chinese specialities make the cuisine a natural match for beer, wine and cocktails. If there is a traditional downside to the idea, it’s that many Chinese restaurants lack the full bars necessary to create such an option, at least that used to be the case.
Jade Dynasty in Ala Moana Center is trying to change that notion with the creation of new signature drinks created by the staff at Southern Wine & Spirits. The cocktails match a menu that features items both new and familiar at reduced happy hour prices.
The drinks — Jade Martini, Lotus Blossom, Golden Dragon Martini and Lucky Mango Mojito — are all priced at $5, and were created to add some Chinese culture to standard cocktails. The restaurant also has recently brought in plum wine and sake to round out its collection of beer and wine. Also, ask about the pupu and drink combo specials.
Which appetizer to savor with what drink is a matter of personal choice, though it would be difficult to find a better match with a cold after-work beer than Beef Tendon ($4.95). This new menu item features cuts of beef tendon that is braised for three hours, mixed in a sauce of vinegar, sesame oil, chili sauce and shoyu, and chilled before serving. The result is a spicy, chewy, mild beef-flavored appetizer that is tasty, but not too filling, leaving room for more beer.
Another good, and new, cocktail match is Lobster Crackers ($2.75). If you are thinking of pink, green and yellow shrimp chips — don’t. These actually have texture and flavor. The large, crunchy crackers are made with tapioca starch and mixed with eggs and lobster flavoring to produce a clean and simple flavor that won’t overpower any choice of beverage.
If you’re not in the mood for the new menu items, the old standards still get the job done. Steamed Pork Dumplings ($2.75) are still moist and tasty, Salt and Pepper Fried Tofu ($2.75) is light and mild making it a good match for any of the new cocktails.
If there is one favorite among the reduced priced appetizers it is Snow Mountain Char Siu Buns ($2.75). Sweet and savory, the mini baked manapua is soft and flaky with a tender dome supported by a firm crispy base. They come three to an order and if that’s not enough, you know what to do.
1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 4220
10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily; Happy Hour is from 2 to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday