Golden Palace Gives the Royal Treatment
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In discovering any great restaurant, one rule of thumb generally comes to mind: Eat where the locals eat. Following such a rule in Hawaii, a state known for its diversely Asian roots, usually leads to one place: Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant. A family-run business that specializes in dim sum and Cantonese-style cuisine, the eatery has been a staple part of Chinatown’s district for more than 13 years.
“People usually lump all Chinese food into one category,” says Gary Lam, manager of Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant. “However, each region of China has its own unique cooking style and flavor profile.”
At Golden Palace, the bulk of the menu focuses on fresh vegetables, meats and seafood rather than strong spices. “In the Northern parts of China, where the temperatures can get below freezing, people tend to use lots of preserved foods with a lot of spiciness,” explains Lam. “Our food comes from Southern Chinese roots, so we try to highlight the fresh, bold flavors of the ingredients themselves.”
Using only the freshest produce and meat available is of utmost importance at Golden Palace. “Every morning, my father goes to the market to handpick local vegetables and meat cuts,” says Lam. “My mother actually owns a market right next door to the restaurant, so this gives us priority access to the best of the best.”
On any given morning, Golden Palace can be heard around the block with the sounds of family chatter and dim sum orders cascading throughout the restaurant. Typically eaten for breakfast or lunch, dim sum allows diners to try a variety of dishes ranging from dumplings to chicken feet. “Despite some people’s initial hesitance to try it, our chicken feet dim sum is one of our most popular dishes,” says Lam. “The meat is simmered in our homemade sauce so it practically comes right off the bone.”
Other popular dim sum plates include Pork Hash ($2.29), Baked Char Siu Manapua ($2.29) and Baked Custard Manapua ($2.29). “We try very hard to keep our prices as competitive as possible,” says Lam. “We would rather make less profit and pass the savings onto our customers in order to sustain a long-term relationship with them.”
In addition to dim sum, Golden Palace boasts an extensive menu of traditional Hong Kong and Cantonese-style dishes. The Minute Chicken Cake Noodle ($6.95), a pan-fried noodle dish that is portioned into bite-size pieces underneath a soy sauce-based gravy, is a customer favorite. Another popular dish is the House Special Chow Mein ($6.95), a stir-fried combination meal of fresh shrimp, squid, scallops, boneless chicken and choy sum vegetables placed atop crispy noodles. The eatery’s Chinese Breadsticks ($1.50 for two pieces) are also known for being perfectly crisp additions to any meal. “All of our dishes are for family-style dining, so the portions are quite generous,” says Lam.
For meat eaters, the Salt and Pepper Pork Chops ($6.95) cannot be missed. “The seasoning we use is composed of salt, pepper, minced garlic, diced green onions and minced chili peppers,” says Lam. “The pork chops are able to retain the flavor very well and go great with noodles or rice.”
Those with a sweet tooth are advised to end their meals with a traditional dessert. In particular, Mango Pudding ($2.29) and Tapioca Soup ($2.29) carry a balanced amount of sweet and tart flavors. Sweet dim sum options such as Baked Custard Manapua ($2.29) and Custard Tart ($2.29) also are popular.
From a quick takeout order to a banquet fit for 400 people, Golden Palace can accommodate any occasion or party size. “We find joy in being able to serve our customers, whether it be for a casual lunch outing or a wedding reception,” says Lam. “Our mission is to provide the highest quality food without the high prices so we can keep our families happy.”
Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant
111 N. King St., Honolulu
Open daily, 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.