Where the new year feasting continuesA La Carte Columns
January 29, 2017
Story By: Maria Kanai | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
If you’re still in celebrating the dawning of the Year of the Rooster, keep the festivities going with family and friends at Royal Garden Chinese Restaurant. The eatery offers an ideal setting with its wide, spacious rooms, elegant ambiance and authentic Cantonese Hong Kong fare.
Open for more than 30 years on the third floor of Ala Moana Hotel, Royal Garden has become a classic among the local community, as well as with tourists, out-of-town
executives and VIPs. The menu offers a wide range of everything from roasted, crispy Peking duck to a crave-able variety of dim sum, all served in elegant dishes on round, white-clothed tables.
Chinese New Year wouldn’t be complete without Jai ($14.95; available until Feb. 5), a vegetarian dish that is traditionally served on the first day of Chinese New Year for good luck. Each household makes jai differently, and at Royal Garden, the specialty has healthy and fresh ingredients like Chinese green beans, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, long rice, tofu and seaweed.
According to Royal Garden owner Calvin Wong, Minced Dried Oysters with lettuce wraps ($16.95; available until Feb. 5) is another popular dish. “The Chinese pronunciation for ‘dried oyster’ is ‘hao see.’ It means ‘good business,’ or being prosperous, which is why we eat it for the new year,” explains Wong, whose brother and co-owner Johnny serves as executive chef.
Wong also recommends Royal Garden’s signature dish: Live Maine Lobster (market price). Prepared with minced garlic, shallots, butter and a very rich chicken broth, each bite of the lobster is flavorful and memorable. “This is a unique dish, and no other restaurant can copy it,” says Wong.
Royal Garden Chinese Restaurant
Ala Moana Hotel, third floor,
410 Atkinson Drive, Honolulu
Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5:30-9:30 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5:30-9:30 p.m.