In the heart of Honolulu, enjoy the flavors of ChinaColumns Foodie Fare
June 22, 2014
Story By: Lindsey Appleton | Photos by: Nathalie Walker
Among the hustle and bustle of downtown Honolulu, The Mandalay offers a tasty retreat. Inspired by Cantonese cooking and Hong Kong-style dim sum, The Mandalay perfects the art of creating succulent dishes. High ceilings meet peach-colored walls, complemented by round tables accented with red and gold table cloths. The Mandalay opened its doors in 2006.
“We wanted to concentrate on one restaurant,” explains owner and manager Linda Chan, who previously owned Eastern Garden. “We cater, host private parties, events and do in-house catering. We are very busy.”
Although a fine-dining restaurant, The Mandalay boasts affordable prices and two menu options for the ever-busy career person.
“With the express line, you can create your own plate lunch,” says Chan. “Our pauhana menu, made for the working couple, feeds up to four people for $23. It’s the perfect quick dinner for when you don’t want to cook.”
A local favorite is dim sum. To get your seafood fix, try the light Steamed Flour Roll with Shrimp ($4.95) or the crisp Pan Fried Shrimp and Chive Dumpling ($4.95). Then, Bite into the steaming Barbecued Pork Bun ($3.50). Looking akin to lau lau, Steamed Mochi Rice with Mixed Meat Wrapped in Lotus Leaf ($4.50) can be served as a side or entree.
“Most dim sum restaurants serve pre-cooked dim sum in a cart,” says Chan. “Ours is cooked to order — the bigger the order the merrier. It’s all steamed and made individually by hand.”
For a larger meal, the popular Peking Duck with Buns ($32 whole) is bold in flavor and in appearance, thanks to the fluffy white buns and crispy duck roasted whole.
“The Peking Duck is served in two parts,” says Chan. “We roast it and serve the skin with buns and plum sauce. We chop the duck meat either served as a whole or we mince the duck meat, stir fry it with mixed veggies and serve it in a lettuce cup, creating a whole different dish.”
As a delicious finale, The Mandalay’s Egg Tartlet ($2.50) comes piping hot with subtly sweet custard in a baked crust.
On the Side
The Mandalay has become the premier Chinese restaurant for in-house cooking. “We don’t use any MSG,” says owner and manager Linda Chan. “We use natural ingredients and make our own chicken broth for our dishes.”
By combining both authentic Chinese-style dishes with American favorites, The Mandalay is able to cater to varying crowds. “It’s important to be versatile and try new ideas,” says Chan. “A favorite is our Honey Walnut Shrimp ($17.95), which is more American in style because we use mayo after we glaze the walnuts with honey and sugar.”
Chan hopes to benefit from Hawaii’s growing number of Chinese visitors and become the No. 1 choice for large banquets, parties and business events.
Foodie Fare columnist Christina O’Connor is currently on vacation
1055 Alakea St., Honolulu
Daily, 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m.