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Veg'n Out

It’s Off the Hook!

By Andy Beth Miller Photos By Nathalie Walker
April 6, 2014

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When I hear “seafood,” my mind immediately slides to slow summers on the lake with Granddaddy — buyin’ bait at the corner market, castin’ out lines and reelin’ ’em in — catfish that is. Always catfish. We’d take them to the local seafood restaurant (dubbed “fish camps” in the South) and hawk ’em to the highest bidder.

What I remember most about those fish camps is the smell — fried everything, tingeing the air with an acrid aroma of (breathe in deep with me and imagine it real good now, ya’ll) straight-up, pure lard. Besieged by batter-fried fare and knee-deep in hushpup-pies, my eyes would sting and water as the smoke wafted across the restaurant, permeating my nostrils and clinging to my clothes. Yep, needless to say this gal was not such a fan of seafood restaurants — until now.

Glancing at the menu of Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant — its pages filled with fresh ingredients such as eggplant, tofu, broccoli, bean sprouts and multiple types of mushroom — there’s not a heart-clogging hushpuppy in sight.

And while Jade Dynasty — better described as an eclectic Chinese restaurant that offers seafood — does make available fried items for those who prefer them, patrons desiring lighter fare always have the option of ordering dishes steamed. “We try to stay on the healthier side,” says general manager Gary Chang. “We can accommodate special requests, especially vegetarians and even vegans.”

Speaking of health, vegetarians rejoice because Jade Dynasty more than caters to the anti-catfish club (of which I am not just a member, but proud club president!). Here is just a sampling of what Jade Dynasty is dishing out:

• Shanghai Pak Choy with Carrot & Egg White Sauce ($13.95) — Traditionally made with crabmeat and egg, this colorful Chinese cabbage dish can be modified and made with tofu for vegetarians and vegans alike — a win-win situation for all.

• Sweet & Sour Eggplant ($11.95) — A creative twist on its popular Sweet & Sour Pork entree, Jade Dynasty accommodates vegetarian patrons by substituting eggplant, making for a meal that is not only colorful but the perfect combination of crunch on the outside and juicy goodness on the inside.

•Crystal Jai Ball ($4.50) — Nicknamed “The Crystal Ball” by employees, this light and refreshing dim sum offering features a vegetable and mushroom mix rolled in a delicate wheat flour encasing.

• Steamed Assorted Mushrooms Look Fun Roll ($5.50) — Mushroom is the main attraction in this dim sum dish. Shiitake, enoki and alii varieties with carrots are ensconced in a rice flour and cornstarch covering alongside sauce for dipping.

“One thing many people don’t realize is that our dim sum menu is available all day (10:30 a.m.-5 p.m.),” says Chang. And in celebration of Secretary’s Day Wednesday, April 23, Jade Dynasty will host a special Buffet Brunch featuring dim sum offerings, and much more.

So gather your loved ones and wade past those subpar seafood establishments to Jade Dynasty — it’ll “rock” your veggie world.

Contact Andy Beth Miller at diningout@staradvertiser.com

Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant

Ala Moana Center, Fourth Floor
1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 4220
947-8818
10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. daily