Mastering the Perfect Roast Duck
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Complete with a festive lion dance, elaborate fireworks and plenty of appetizing Cantonese-style dishes to go around, last Sunday’s grand opening of Hung Won Seafood Restaurant created quite the scene in an otherwise quiet Kaimuki neighborhood.
Hung Won’s recent relaunch comes as part of a new culinary venture between brothers Ju Wei Ruan and Quan Qiang Ruan, two of the community’s most celebrated chefs with more than 20 years of experience in traditional Chinese cuisine.
Those looking to experience true Cantonese fare would appreciate the restaurant’s Hong Kong-Style Roast Duck ($12 for half, $24 for whole), slow-cooked and roasted for 72 hours to ensure maximum flavor.
“Before the duck goes in the oven, we use a stuffing made from garlic cloves, Chinese herbs and spices, and baste the meat with its natural juices,” says co-owner Kevin Li. “As a result, you get a duck with incredibly crispy skin on the outside but tender, juicy meat on the inside.”
In addition to classic duck, diners will also enjoy the restaurant’s Roast Pork Belly ($12.95), prepared in a similar cooking process as the roast duck, and served in sliced strips. “Most places here do not have this dish on the menu, even though it is very popular in Canton and Hong Kong,” says Li.
Paying homage to its close proximity to the ocean, Hung Won also features a wide array of seafood dishes. Customer favorites include Prawn with Honey Walnuts ($11.95), a savory dish of sauteed prawns in a house mayonnaise sauce with crunchy caramelized walnuts. “Before we cook the prawns, we take off the shells and do a bit of blanching to firm up the meat,” explains Li. “All the seafood we use is obtained through local suppliers who follow a very high standard when it comes to meat and produce.”
In a market over-saturated with Chinese cuisine that is at times too oily or aggressively seasoned, many will find solace in Hung Won’s well-rounded menu of dishes reminiscent of a true Cantonese meal.
“Authentic Chinese food is hard to come by these days. We maintain our culinary integrity by using high-quality ingredients and staying away from preservatives,” confirms Lee.
Equipped with abundant free parking, Hung Won is the ideal location for a sit-down meal or takeout. The restaurant, which seats more than 100 diners, is also available to host special events upon reservation.
Hung Won Seafood Restaurant
3434 Waialae Ave., Honolulu
Open daily, 10 a.m – 9 p.m.