Keeping it all in the family

Ali Carte Columns

April 19, 2015

Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: Nathalie Walker

In every ohana-run restaurant, each team player holds an important role in making sure the mom-and-pop business runs smoothly. This can be seen on a daily basis at Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant, where members of the Lam family work with other staffers in both the front and back of the house to ensure diners are enjoying a plentitude of dim sum selections and Chinese entrees.

“You have to be hands-on with your business,” says manager Gary Lam, when describing his father and founder Howard Lam’s approach to operating the spacious Chinatown eatery. “Especially with your customers, because they have a lot of feedback that will help you.”

While the founder oversees all aspects of the eatery, his son is the go-to person when it comes to the extensive menu. Whether catering to weekly regulars or first-time diners, Lam helps patrons find the dishes that speak to their cravings. “A lot of times people come in and have no idea what they want to eat … I’m left with the task of giving them something they’ll actually enjoy,” he says.

Recently, Lam brought back an off-the-menu favorite — Golden Pumpkin Steamed with Spare Ribs ($8.95) — which a number of the eatery’s loyal customers have been requesting. Made with soft pieces of fresh pumpkin, the dish presents spare ribs that shine in a light black bean sauce.

Patrons can trust in Lam’s advice on the menu, as his recommendations are often based on dishes he taste-tests himself, such as Stir Fried Broccoli with Shrimp ($8.95). “It’s very light, but the shrimp itself packs a lot of flavor. It’s one of those things that I eat pretty regularly.”

Lam also suggests ordering the ever-popular Salt and Pepper Squid ($7.95), featuring flavorful seafood fried in a seasoned batter and stir-fried with green onion, chili peppers and a mix of spices. “That is one of those local favorites, and when customers see someone eating it, they’re like, ‘I want that!'” says the manager.

With a business that’s 14 years old and going strong, it’s clear that this attention to customer service has been the Lam family’s recipe for success.

Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant

111 N. King St., Honolulu
521-8268
7 a.m.-10 p.m. daily

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