Feeling At Home With Hung WonCover Story Features
June 26, 2016
Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: Nathalie Walker
No neighborhood in the Islands would be complete without the comfort of a mom-and-pop Chinese restaurant, and for many families in Kaimuki, Hung Won Seafood Restaurant has been filling that niche for years on end.
The eatery, which is located on the Waialae strip between Eighth and Ninth avenues, makes patrons feel at home with an array of heartwarming Cantonese cuisine. The menu recently was expanded to include more than 200 dishes, ensuring everyone from keiki to kupuna has plenty to choose from.
About two years ago, chefs and brothers Guan Qiang and Ju Wei Ruan took over the restaurant with their niece and nephew, Janice Ouyang and Kevin Li, and the personalized service and welcoming atmosphere created by the culinary clan have undoubtedly made it a go-to spot for family-style dining.
“We want customers to enjoy good food and service so that they feel happy when they leave our restaurant,” says Ouyang, who adds that Hung Won’s loyal legion of regulars continues to grow.
The Ruan brothers take the reins in the kitchen, combining decades of experience in the local restaurant industry with a foundation of authentic flavors from their home-town of Canton, China. Among the impressively large selection of menu items, most patrons are eager to get their chopsticks on best-sellers such as perfectly crisp yet creamy Honey Walnut Shrimp with Mayonnaise ($12.95), Steamed Fish Fillet with Ginger and Green Onions ($10.95) and House Pan Fried Noodles ($11.95) — just to name a few.
According to Ouyang, Chinese-style Kau Yuk with Taro ($14.95) is another popular dish, presenting the local-style favorite with tender slices of fried and stewed pork smothered in a rich oyster sauce-based gravy.
In addition to customers from the surrounding area who make their way to Hung Won, many diners will travel across the island just to try its signature specialty: roasted meats. Whether ordering Hong Kong-style Roast Duck ($13 half, $25 whole) and Roast Pork Belly ($12.95 per pound), or savoring a bite of Char Siu ($10.95 per pound) and Char Siu Ribs ($10.95 per pound), customers appreciate the laborious multi-step processes involved in roasting these meats to perfection.
It takes three days for the glistening glazed meat of the roast duck to gloriously convey the flavors of five spice, peppercorn, malt sugar and a homemade sauce. As for Roast Pork Belly, diners will taste the ideal contrast of juicy, tender meat and indulgently crispy skin.
The Ruans have been roasting meats for 20 years now, so they’ve perfected their family recipes over the years. Many patrons even enjoy watching the cooks chop the meat to order at the eatery’s roast counter located next to the kitchen.
When gathering around Hung Won’s signature round tables — outfitted with bright pink tablecloths and plates piled high with appetizing fare — there’s no doubt your whole ohana will feel right at home.
Hung Won Seafood Restaurant
3434 Waialae Ave., Kaimuki (Between Eighth and Ninth Avenues)
Daily, 10 A.M.-9 P.M.