Honey is the Bee’s Knees
A friend of mine recently recommended drinking some honey in hot water to soothe my irritated throat from all the vog we’ve experienced lately (it does help!) and it got me thinking about what an amazing natural substance honey really is.
When bees put their special touch on pollen, resins and nectar from flowers, they seem to work up some kind of magic potion, seeing as honey never spoils (thanks to, in part, its low water content that does not support bacterial or fungal growth) and a treasure trove of health benefits are locked into its caramel-colored strands of syrup.
We all know honey can help us get over a cold, but that’s just scratching the surface of its positive attributes. Its rich antioxidants are said to boost memory, and all my ladies will appreciate the fact that honey is a nourishing moisturizer for our skin and hair. Additionally, bee pollination is a crucial piece of our agricultural puzzle, and in light of the widespread issues honey bee colonies face, such as colony collapse disorder, it seems there’s no better time to recognize the preciousness of honey in our world of eats.
We pay tribute to the pure wonder of this liquid gold in true Ono, You Know fashion, with some unbelievably scrumptious dishes that wouldn’t be quite the same without a sweet kiss of this good stuff.
Now, I probably love honey just as much as Winnie the Pooh, so I’m eager to enjoy it not just in my tea or with dessert, but mixed into savory selections as well. The first place I can’t help but find honey bliss is at Restaurant Epic.
Enter Apple, Walnut and Brie Quesadilla ($7), the perfect appetizer for lunch or dinner. I know this combination of ingredients may sound strange at first, but the moment your taste buds try it, trust me, they’ll know it’s a match made in heaven.
“The way I look at it, a lot of Americans know how to eat sweet and sour,” says owner and general manager David Chang. “Green apple has a sourness to it, and it naturally pairs well with the sweetness of the honey.”
Sophisticated flavors come together in a crisp flour tortilla drizzled with golden stripes of honey. The whole thing is then sprinkled with fresh thyme, which lends a beautiful earthiness to balance out the sugary goodness of candied walnuts.
If stopping in to try this pupu, why not sample Epic’s eclectic assortment of seafood, pasta, burgers and other specialties? The Chinatown spot always knows how to put the perfect gourmet spin on comfort food.
1131 Nuuanu Ave., Chinatown
FAIRWOOD DRIVE INN AND PHO 27 CAFÉ
You know a dish must be good when it’s been on a menu for more than 20 years. That’s the case with Fairwood Drive Inn and Pho 27 Café’s Honey Garlic Chicken ($8.95 regular, $7.25 mini), which owner and chef Tiffany Ko has been making since the early ’90s.
Perhaps it is the fresh chopped garlic Ko uses that makes the dish so enticing, or the fact that she removes unwanted skin and fat to ensure each bite is full of juicy meat. Or maybe it’s the well-balanced blend of honey and vinegar that gives the chicken its signature flavor.
Details aside, customers absolutely love Honey Garlic Chicken, and the eatery oftentimes will sell out of it during the day.
Ko recommends calling ahead if you’d like to reserve some for parties or special gatherings, adding that each batch is fried in fresh oil for ultimate crispiness.
As a special offer for Dining Out readers, the owner is now offering a Honey Garlic Chicken and Pork Chop Combo Plate ($10.95), served with two scoops of rice and mac salad.
Ko also recognizes the health benefits of honey and likes to use it as a natural alternative to sugar. The friendly dine-in and takeout spot — which specializes in Chinese, Vietnamese and local fare — makes a refreshing Honey Lemon beverage ($3.50) using only natural ingredients. Fairwood also offers a salty plum version of the drink that is good for sore throats, headaches and cooling down. “Honey is really good for your health,” reiterates Ko.
Fairwood Drive Inn and Pho 27 Cafe
Kaimuki Shopping Center
3221 Waialae Ave. Ste. 21, Kaimuki