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Tasty Cuisine That’s Sure to Satisfy Every Appetite

Columns Foodie Fare

April 6, 2014

Story By: Christina O Connor | Photos by: Anthony Consillio

At Fairwood Drive Inn and Pho 27 Vietnamese Cuisine, diners get a great two-in-one deal. While Fairwood Drive Inn offers Chinese and local cuisine, Pho 27 serves up Vietnamese eats.

“When a family comes in, they each can eat whatever they want,” says owner Tiffany Ko. “That way, they don’t need to go to all different restaurants, and they can come in together.”

Ko explains Fairwood Drive Inn focuses primarily on Hong Kongand Canton-style cuisine featuring a wide range of dishes with an emphasis on quality ingredients. A popular item at Fairwood is Young Chow Fried Rice ($8.50), which is packed with char siu pork, shrimp, egg and green onion.

“Most people come in and order the fried rice,” Ko says, adding that customers prefer it because it is not oily.

Grilled Sole Fish ($11.95) is another recommended favorite. This dish features boneless fish seasoned with basil, salt and pepper, served with steamed vegetables. According to Ko, locals also gravitate to Garlic Shrimp ($9.25), pieces of succulent shrimp accented with garlic, salt and pepper seasoning, and onions bathed in a white sauce.

And if Garlic Shrimp isn’t enough, then try Shrimp Won Ton Min ($7.95) featuring char siu and won ton shrimp in a noodle broth.

“We make the char siu in-house every morning,” Ko adds.

Of course, Barbecue Chicken Chow Fun ($8.75) wows patrons as well, as it consists of onions, bean sprouts and green onion.

“We cook the barbecue chicken first — we take off the skin, so it is not oily,” Ko explains. “And then when we add it to the chow fun, it is really tasty.”

On the Side

Prior to opening Fairwood Drive Inn and Pho 27, owner Tiffany Ko owned a string of restaurants. Most recently, there was Fairwood Drive Inn on Keeaumoku Street, which she and her husband ran for 18 years. Looking for a more accessible and larger venue, the couple moved their eatery to its current Kaimuki location.

“We wanted to make it bigger — and also expand our menu,” Ko explains.

The restaurant has called Kaimuki home for the past three years, but Ko traces her love for cooking back to when she was a child growing up in China. Her father was a chef, and Ko began to study his craft as well.

“After he taught me how to cook, I would cook dinner for him,” she says.

As Ko got older, she worked in a fine dining Chinese restaurant as a a server. However, cooking was her true passion, and during her spare time, Ko would hang out in the kitchen and pick up tips from the chefs.

“I would go every day and see how they prepared the food,” Ko recalls.

Ko moved to Hawaii in 1988, and honed her skills in American cuisine. At her first job in the Islands, she met her husband, and the two opened their own restaurant. Since then, Ko has owned a number of Chinese and American eateries, but it’s her latest venture she is most proud of, as she can cater to everyone’s palate.

“Patrons can come in and order three different kinds of food in one sitting,” she says.

Contact Christina O’Connor at diningout@staradvertiser.com

Fairwood Drive-Inn & Pho 27

Kaimuki Shopping Center
3221 Waialae Ave.
739-6688 (Fairwood)
738-0027 (Pho 27)
10 a.m.-9 p.m daily

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