A Restaurant that Means BusinessAli Carte Columns
March 23, 2014
Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: Nathalie Walker
For those who are serious about the search for high-quality Chinese food in Honolulu, it’s time to get down to business at The Mandalay. Since 2006, the restaurant has been the go-to spot for business people downtown seeking a bite of Hong Kong-style dim sum, Szechuan flavors and more during their lunch hour.
So what is it about the establishment that has coworkers chatting around the water cooler? As owner Linda Chan will tell you, it starts with a superb dim sum selection. Unlike most Chinese restaurants that make a variety of dumplings ahead of time to place on a mobile cart for diners to order from, The Mandalay prepares dim sum on the spot, ensuring that the texture, taste and freshness of each edible are top-notch.
“We concentrate on the cooking time. That’s the reason why we don’t put (dim sum) on the cart. When you order, then we cook … that’s the difference,” says Chan.
Perfectly petite in size, dim sum provides an opportunity to try a variety of delights in one sitting. Chan suggests starting with scrumptious bites of Barbecued Pork Pastry ($3.50 for three pieces) and Deep Fried Taro Puff ($3.50 for three pieces), followed by Egg Tartlett ($2.50 for two pieces) and Baked Sweet Cream Bun ($3.50 for three pieces).
In addition to hungry professionals, The Mandalay is home to a cross section of Hawaii’s community members. Families flock to the Alakea Street establishment for its ohana-friendly portions, while consulate members and politicians working at the Hawaii State Capitol nearby are able to host large parties in the spacious, two-story interior. Even visitors can grab a bite to eat at the restaurant after a tour of Iolani Palace, located just a few blocks away.
When it comes to palate-pleasing a la carte items, Honey Garlic Pork Chop ($12.95) is boss. The Hong Kong-inspired creation is coated in a thick, golden and tangy covering made from oyster sauce and sweet-and-sour seasonings.
Patrons across the board also love to devour Deep Fried Harm Ha Chicken Wings ($9.95 for eight pieces). The dish utilizes a shrimp paste called Harm Ha to marinate chicken wings before they are deep-fried with well-rounded flavors such as sesame oil, salt and pepper, Chinese wine and a little bit of sugar. According to Chan, the recipe is a winning combination. “This one we served at the ‘Taste of Honolulu’ in 2005. We won the best poultry (award).”
So whether your office buddies are looking for a new lunch spot, or you’d like to take your loved ones out to dinner, be sure to add The Mandalay to your resume.
1055 Alakea St., Honolulu
Monday-Friday, 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.