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Savor the Sweetest Vietnamese Pairing

By Yu Shing Ting Photos By Lawrence Tabudlo
May 12, 2013

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Hong Kong is one of my favorite places on earth, and one of my favorite things about it is Hong Kong-style milk tea.

Consisting of black tea and evaporated milk or condensed milk, it’s a drink that just brings instant joy to me.

Recently, a co-worker told me she tasted the best milk tea bubble tea at HI Sandwich & Drink in Aiea, so, of course, I had to try it, and I’m happy I did.

But the Vietnamese fast-food restaurant has a lot more to offer than just milk tea. There’s a long menu of smoothies in 27 different flavors served with black pearl, color or grass jelly; 10 different types of Bubble Tea; various desserts; and other drinks. There also are sandwiches served with French bread or croissant, and vegetarian options.

Among the popular items are Papaya Smoothie with Black Pearl ($4.95, 24 ounces) made with fresh papaya, vanilla ice cream, cream, sugar and blended with ice; Shredded Pork on French Bread Sandwich ($6) with carrots, white onion, parsley and cucumber; and HI Special dessert ($4.50, 16 ounces) featuring color tapioca, color jelly, jackfruit, coconut jelly, longan, red bean, mung bean, coconut milk, sugar and half & half.

Each menu item is made-to-order, so customers can always ask for more of one ingredient, less of another or substitutions. Owner and chef Kim Nguyen along with her husband Nhut Thai opened the restaurant last December, in addition to neighboring Pho Five-O, which they opened in 2008.

“I always liked to cook at home for my family,” says Nguyen on her reason for opening a restaurant. “And I like to make things that are healthy. Even my smoothies, I like to make fresh.”

Hi Sandwich & Drink

Waimalu Shopping Center
98-042 Kamehameha Hwy.
487-7372
10 a.m.-9 p.m. daily