Chinese fare, Japanese concepts
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Ten years ago, Atsushi Fukuda moved to Hawaii from Tokyo, Japan, and began serving both traditional and local-style okazu and bentos out of his popular Usagiya booth at Shirokiya’s food court. While he has loved living in the Islands, over the years Fukuda found himself craving a taste of his favorite chukuya, or Chinese restaurants, from back home.
“In Japan, we have lots of Chinese food, but the taste is kind of different from real Chinese food. I used to go to the Chinese restaurants in Japan, and I wanted to eat that type of food here in Hawaii,” he says.
So when the timing was right to take on a new business challenge, Fukuda opened his very own Chukaya Sea Dragon Table in September 2013, along with three partners. Specializing in a Japanese interpretation of Chinese cuisine, Chukaya’s dishes tend to be less greasy and reflect popular fare in Japan, rather than strictly traditional Chinese recipes.
For the ultimate taste of this niche type of cuisine, diners are encouraged to try Vegetable Seafood Crispy Soba ($12). Similar to Chinese fried noodle dishes, the entree features shrimp and pork surrounded by bamboo shoots, bok choy, carrots, Chinese cabbage and snow peas. But rather than lo mein- or chow fun-style noodles, the dish is prepared with slightly crispy Japanese soba, which are comparable to thick ramen noodles.
Since opening last year, Fukuda has added a number of authentic Japanese selections to the menu as well, presenting diners with a range of Eastern flavors to choose from. The eatery’s most popular dish is Tan Tan Men Ramen, while donburi rice bowls and teishoku meals with a choice of main dish, three sides, tsukemono (pickles), miso soup and rice are just some of the delicious items to try.
Fukuda suggests biting into Ten Shin Han ($12), a flavorful Japanese rice dish topped with a large omelet immensely enhanced with large chunks of fresh, real crab, green onion and an irresistibly thick sauce. Sashimi lovers will salivate over Ikura Shakedon ($11), presenting salmon slices and roe on a bed of sushi rice. A touch of ginger, wasabi, tsukemono and miso soup are included in the dish.
Chukaya Sea Dragon Table also offers happy hour (11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-6 p.m.) with $1 to $5 pupus, $4 draft Asahi beer, $3 bottled beer and $5 glasses of wine.
Chukaya Sea Dragon Table
1491 S King St., Ste. 105 (At the corner of King and Kaheka streets)
Lunch: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (2:30 p.m. last call)
Dinner: 5-10 p.m. (9:30 p.m. last call)
Note: Validated parking is available behind the restaurant on Kaheka Street.