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A Prosperous Feast for a New Year

By Alana Folen Photos By Lawrence Tabudlo
January 11, 2015

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Situated in Ala Moana Center’s Hookipa Terrace, Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant pushes the envelope with its signature five-star Chinese-style dining. From the grandiose 8,000-square-foot dining area with rich mahogany walls to the embellished crystal chandeliers and superior staff, you can bet it plans to ring in Chinese New Year in style. According to the Chinese lunar calendar, 2015 is the year of the ram. Feb. 19 marks the official start of the new year, and Jade Dynasty is ready to once again wow patrons with two nine-course set menus and a lion dance at 6 p.m. New Year’s Eve (Feb. 18) and 6:30 p.m. New Year’s Day.

“The significance of the lion dance is to bring in good luck and chase away evil. The number nine signifies forever family and friends,” says general manager Gary Chan. “Those who partake in the nine-course dinner together will enjoy each other’s company for a long time to come.”

For the Chinese community here in the Islands, Chinese New Year represents fresh starts and new experiences, and gathering with family and friends over a celebratory feast is no exception.

As in years passed, Jade Dynasty has conjured up two prix-fixe menus ($318 for a table of 10 or $438 for a table of 10), available now through Feb. 28. Chan says the menus were created with traditional favorites and new year delicacies in mind — each dish selection hand-picked by the chef.

Cold Cut Appetizer Platter and Imitation Shark’s Fin Soup with Crab Meat tease the palate for what’s to come, including Live Lobsters with Garlic and Butter Sauce, a mouthwatering and succulent example of the restaurant’s fresh seafood. Next, Chan says Stuffed Bamboo Fungus with Shrimp Mousse will keep you young and beautiful — two traits that pair well with an abundance of energy and good health, which the lobster is believed to provide. And to ensure prosperity for years to come, you’ll want to have an extra helping of Steamed Whole Fish with Scallion and Soy Sauce.

Pacing your way through this gorgeous feast, a bite of Golden Chicken with Roasted Garlic not only will be delicious, but also promises a constant surrounding of wealth and riches.

In what may be deemed as the most important meal of the year, the seventh course of this nine-course feast is perhaps the most prominent. Enter New Year Good Luck “Jai,” a vegetarian dish accented with a colorful array of ingredients such as black mushrooms, long rice, fungus, water chestnuts, snow peas, cabbage, ginkgo nuts and bean curd.

“Jai, also known as monk’s food, is traditionally eaten on Chinese New Year’s Day. The consumption of Jai is meant to cleanse you and give you a good start into the year ahead,” Chan explains of the dish with roots tracing back to Southern China.

Another popular New Year’s treat is Sticky Rice with Preserved Meats in Lotus Wrap. A customary favorite, the wrap is filled with morsels of Chinese sausage and Chinese bacon.

“The sticky rice represents families sticking together through thick and thin.”

Then, to bring the meal full circle, Jade Dynasty serves Mochi Balls in Sweet Ginger Broth, a harmonious dessert, which Chan says will help keep peace within families.

Reservations are highly recommended and patrons must reserve their spot at least 24 hours in advance to take advantage of Jade Dynasty’s Chinese New Year offerings. For more information, call 947-8818.

Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant

Ala Moana Center, Hookipa Terrace
947-8818
Daily, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m.