Chinese Flavors Draw Universal AppealCover Story Features
March 29, 2015
Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Anthony Consillio
Situated on the lower level of Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort and Spa is a hidden gem, boasting extravagant Hong Kong-style fare. Seafood Village Chinese Cuisine is an entity all its own, beckoning patrons from near and far, including many noteworthy guests, whose photos line the entrance walls. Kamaaina also count on Seafood Village for their many favorites.
In the past 20 years of business, the restaurant has perfected Honey Glazed Walnut Shrimp, and Roasted Peking Duck served with pancakes or buns. And manager Yao Ming Guan praises the universal appeal of Chinese fare.
“On any given day, we have diners from China, Japan, Australia and the U.S. mainland, etc., as well as locals, who are seated for a meal. Food always brings people together,” he says.
In the past, Seafood Village received recognition for dining excellence in Chinese cuisine by Restaurant News, in which the eatery ranked top six out of 100 restaurants. The eatery’s stellar cuisine is attributed to executive chef Sonny So, who still dons his medallions acknowledging this honor. Originally from Hong Kong, So trained under a famous chef there. According to So, 1978 was his year for culinary growth, and he later made the Islands home in 1990.
Nowadays, So is accustomed to local tastes, but he also maintains the integrity of authentic Chinese stylings. Enter Garlic Duck Fried Rice ($14.95), a popular customer favorite with cubes of tender diced duck meat, freshly minced garlic, green onions, bean sprouts and egg, wok-fried with shoyu, salt, pepper and other special seasonings. “It’s a dish that’s loved by locals and visitors,” shares Guan.
Also gracing the menu is Fish Filet in Hot Chili Oil. Priced at $20.95, flounder filet is prepared Szechuan style with chili oil, black pepper and dried chili pepper, which brings with it a mild fiery flair.
“This is one of our newer dishes, and it’s been doing well. It’s a healthy choice with a lot of flavor. It’s not too spicy,” says Guan, noting that the chili pepper and chili oil provide just the right level of heat.
It’s common to find patrons enjoying stir-fried selections such as Wok-Fried String Beans with Minced Pork ($15.95); soups, including Crab Meat and Fish Maw Soup ($19.95 regular, $9.95 mini); and sizzling platters of Jumbo Prawns with Satay Sauce. For $22.95, this seafood sensation features about 10 prawns and a medley of onions, and green and red bell peppers dressed in a peanut butter-based sauce, with ground shrimp and accents of chili pepper to heighten the gusto of the dish.
“Last year, I travelled to Hong Kong,” So says. “I try to travel there as much as I can, because it inspires me.”
The family-style dining concept allows patrons the liberty to sample a slew of dishes — the choices endless . Yet, the restaurant also presents party prix-fixe menus for those who rather skip the decision-making process altogether.
Guan recommends Kamaaina Lunch Party Menu ($11.95 per person, minimum 10 people), which features a prixfixe spread of Chicken Salad with Oriental Dressing, four types of dim sum (Steamed Barbecue Pork Bun, Shrimp and Chive Dumpling, Pork Hash and Seafood Dumpling), Salt and Pepper Calamari, Stir-fried String Beans, Sweet-and-Sour Pork with Pineapple, Minute Chicken Fried Noodles, and Mango Pudding for dessert.
Reservations are recommended for larger parties that are welcome to take advantage of Seafood Village’s three banquet rooms, each capable of seating up to 75 people. The party-like atmosphere is perfect for any occasion, especially with graduation season right around the corner.
“We want kamaaina to venture into Waikiki and stop by Seafood Village for a delicious Chinese meal. First-time customers can give us a try and familiar faces can come back for more,” Guan says with a smile.
Seafood Village Chinese Cuisine
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort and Spa
2424 Kalakaua Ave. #103, Honolulu
Daily, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. (lunch), 5-10 p.m. (dinner)
Note: $3 validated self-parking and $4 valet parking at The Hyatt