One Shopping Center, Countless CuisinesCover Story Features
July 17, 2016
Story By: Dining Out Team | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
For 10 years, McCully Shopping Center has hosted A World of Cuisines, its annual celebration honoring the center’s diverse restaurants that are representative of Hawaii’s signature melting pot of cultures. This year’s A World of Cuisines promotion kicked off July 1 and will run throughout the rest of the month, complete with a trip-for-two giveaway and a plet hora of fantastic flavors to try.
Director of marketing Terri Hansen-Shon says the celebration brings together people from all walks of life, as the open-air shopping center offers various services and retailers to meet a wide range of customer needs. “McCully ends up being a gathering place for everyone, both young and old, of all ethnicities and backgrounds,” she says.
A World of Cuisines invites patrons to soak up the family-friendly destination’s international array of fare, from satisfying one’s sweet tooth at Taiwanese cafe Coffee or Tea?, to dining at Fook Yuen Chinese Seafood Restaurant, the staple tenant that has been in operation since the center opened in 1986. Other hot spots include Curry House CoCo Ichibanya, Regal Diner, Yotteko-Ya ramen eatery, Pho 777 Vietnamese Restaurant and Hot Pot Heaven.
Dining Out recently got the scoop on a handful of McCully’s newest dining spots that are sure to take taste buds on a journey around the world:
PASSPORT TO THAILAND
Adding to its ever-evolving mix of eateries, McCully Shopping Center recently welcomed Thai Lao Restaurant to the community, along with its home-style Thai cuisine spiced up with Laotian influences. As the third location opened by the Chaleunxay family, Thai Lao is known for its homemade touches such as made-from-scratch noodles and sauces, as well as family recipes prepared by owner Phayvanh Chaleunxay.
Phayvanh’s daughter, Sandra, says she accompanies her mom to the market regularly to secure fresh, high-quality ingredients, and that the eatery already has garnered regular clientele.
Since opening, customers have embraced crispy Spring Rolls ($9.95) served with house-made sweet-chili sauce and stir-fried Pad Ki-Mao, a chow fun dish bursting with authentic chilies and basil. A sharable entree worthy of special occasions is Whole Fish (market price), fried to perfection and seasoned with the customer’s choice of sauces: ginger, chili, red curry or garlic, the latter of which is made especially for the dish.
TASTY TRIP TO KOREA
Next on Dining Out‘s A World of Cuisines tour is Ireh Restaurant, another family-run eatery that debuted in the shopping center last October. This is the second restaurant for the Kims, whose original Keeaumoku Street establishment highlights traditional and vegetarian Korean cuisine. According to Esther Kim and her daughter, Mina, the McCully branch centers around localand fusion-style Korean fare — including barbecue meats — and offers popular fried chicken and stew options.
Crunchy bites of Chicken Mayo ($12.95) and the soft-tofu bliss of Sundubu Jjigae stew ($12.95) are unique to the McCully eatery and not to be missed. Mina recommends Tteokbokki ($11.95) as well, a spicy yet slightly sweet soup perfectly contrasted with plump pieces of rice cake.
All in all, Ireh focuses on serving a quality-driven menu in a clean, welcoming space.
JET-SETTING TO JAPAN
Going on a tasty adventure to Japan is as easy as visiting McCully Shopping Center’s array of eateries inspired by The Land of the Rising Sun, including Bozu Japanese Restaurant. Brand new to the shopping center, Bozu serves up owner and chef Katsuhiro Hoshi’s unique expression of genuine Japanese fare mixed with Western flair.
“I wanted to create an atmosphere where customers can relax, have fun and feel at home,” shares Hoshi, who is from the small Japanese prefecture Ibaraki but has lived in Hawaii for 11 years.
He brings a wealth of experience to his modern dining nook, having previously worked at notable restaurants Nobu Waikiki and Imanas Tei. His creativity in the kitchen shines in Yellowtail Carpaccio ($15.50), accented with jalapeno, tomato and onion in a yuzu citrus sauce, and sushi specialty Beef
Roll with Wasabi Salsa Sauce ($14.50). The chef also puts a new spin on chilled Cold-Style Chawanmushi ($7.50), as the dish is traditionally served warm. He enhances the egg custard creation with uni, crab meat, salmon roe and a bonito-konbu gelee puree.
Guests should also save room for a trip to Osaka Teppanyaki Kawano nearby, where husband-and-wife duo Akira and Akane Kawano, who moved to the Islands from Osaka, Japan, are fulfilling their dream of having their own restaurant in Hawaii. They fire up an array of grilled regional specialties, including okonomiyaki (savory pancakes), yakisoba noodles and teppanyaki meats, all served on sizzling skillets.
To make their okonomiyaki, a base of batter and cabbage is seared with the customer’s choice of beef, pork or shrimp, and topped with mayo and a rich brown sauce, as well as bonito and seaweed flakes. Add in a layer of noodles to the mix and you have modanyaki, another one of the Kawano’s specialties. The owners say the most popular dish among locals is their sweet-and-savory beef Sukiyaki skillet ($10). Patrons may pair all these dishes with a range of beer, sake, umeshu (plum liqueur), shochu and wine.
ENTER TO WIN
While dining at McCully Shopping Center, be sure to enter to win a prize trip to Vancouver, Canada.
Presented in partnership with Clear Channel Radio and Ultimate Vacations, the shopping center is sending two lucky winners abroad with roundtrip airfare and a three-night stay at Metropolitan Hotel Vancouver included.
McCully Shopping Center has been sending kamaaina on fabulous vacations as part of it’s A Word of Cuisines promotion since 2007, and past winners have traveled to China, Fiji, Japan, New York and Las Vegas — just to name a few.
“We wanted people to be able to experience cuisines that are actually from around the world, just as the cuisine is here at Mc-Cully Shopping Center,” shares director of marketing Terri Hansen-Shon.
Entry forms are available at the shopping center and in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Drop them off this month at any Mc-Cully Shopping Center merchant.
“So far, our entries are through the roof,” adds Hansen-Shon.
McCully Shopping Center
1960 Kapiolani Blvd., Honolulu