Good things come to those who wait
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Some dishes are so good they are worth waiting all year for. In the case of Chinese cuisine, the long-awaited jai and other traditional Chinese New Year’s foods are making their appearance on menus for the month of February.
The Mandalay’s Jai ($12.95), chock-full of 18 different ingredients, not only bursts with flavors but also boasts plenty of well wishes for the New Year. Each of its numerous ingredients delivers nutrients and tokens for health, wealth and good luck. Symbols are derived from the ingredient’s appearance — slices of round carrots resemble coins — or its name — long rice sounds like “long life.” Ginko nuts, lotus seeds, chestnuts, white fungus and bamboo shoots are among the vegetarian dish’s vibrant ingredients. Each lends its own unique flavor and texture to the hearty amalgam.
Another savory favorite for the New Year is Steamed Oyster Roll ($38 for a table of 10). The dozen rolls resemble meatballs, and consist of minced pork and dried oyster. A coating of oyster sauce gravy adds further seasoning and moisture, not to mention the good luck that the mollusks bring.
These two dishes pair nicely with each other, and are even more delicious with a side of rice. Add a steaming cup of oolong or jasmine-scented green tea for the traditional experience.
For further celebration, visit the restaurant Feb. 19 at 6:30 p.m., or Feb. 22 at noon, when lion dancers snake their way through the restaurant creating joyous rumpus. Also, get your fill of jai and more during The Mandalay’s dim sum brunch buffet Feb. 22 with seatings at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. The buffet line will overflow with pork hash, char siu buns, beef broccoli and all the good fortune you can pile on your plate.
1055 Alakea St., Honolulu
Monday-Friday, 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
Note: Validated parking is available across the street at the Bishop Square parking lot Monday-Friday after 5 p.m., and all day Saturday and Sunday.