A Breath of Fresh Fare
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Crabs, lobsters and clams can be found at many types of dining establishments. That’s a given. What makes Panda Cuisine on Keeaumoku Street different is that all of these options are live and flown in weekly. Fresh is better. Live is best.
Two examples of this fact is the Baked Maine Lobster with Ginger and Onion, and the Live Dungeness Crab Hong Kong Style. Both are available at seasonally low prices: $10.99 for the lobster and $14.99 for the crab. You can’t go wrong with either.
The lobster is first baked and then stir-fried with ginger, green onion and a dab of oyster sauce. Best yet is that there is no MSG. In fact, the entire regular menu is MSG-free. Simple preparations work best with fresh food and the lobster is no exception. The light handling of ingredients allows the naturally sweet flavors to come through and it pairs well with any number of other dishes.
Whereas the lobster is delicious in its simplicity, the crab is flavorful because of its aromatic ingredients. Don’t worry, the flavor of the live crab still comes through. Chopped, deep fried and then stir-fried, the crab is mixed with green onion, and red and green chili peppers to create what may be the best finger-licking-good dish on the menu. The crab is sweet, slightly spicy and very juicy, and even the shells are worth tasting, as they’re covered in all the tasty flavors.
One cannot dine on crab and lobster alone, though. Well, actually you can, but there are so many more ways to complete your meal.
Some of the most popular options are Almond and Shrimp with Mayonnaise Sauce ($14.99), Clams with Black Bean Sauce ($13.99), Steamed Tofu with Dried Scallops ($11.99), Fresh Mushrooms and Bok Choi with Abalone Sauce served in a clay pot ($11.99), or the excellent Chinese Broccoli ($10.99). While all are sure to please, the broccoli was particularly interesting.
Similar to choi sum, the brilliant green veggies are crispier and slightly sweeter than its common look alike. While perfectly flavorful by themselves, the included oyster sauce adds an additional flavor profile that must be sampled.
Of course, dim sum is a must try and comes 15 percent off from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the coupon found on page 24.
Want more flavor and savings? Manager Cindy Lee has a surprise coming soon, so stay tuned.
641 Keeaumoku St., Honolulu
Daily, 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.