Chinese Veggies You’ll Crave
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While Downtown Honolulu is a neighborhood that changes and evolves constantly, it’s comforting to know that Little Village Noodle House has been on Smith Street for the past 16 years, serving exceptionally delicious food that people keep coming back for.
Walk by during a lunch break and you’ll see a diverse mix of customers, from families sharing large plates of Honey Walnut Shrimp to Downtown professionals talking business over Kung Pao Chicken.
According to David Chang, general manager and partner with Kenneth Chan, “When we first got together on this project, Downtown wasn’t as hip or cultured as it is today, but we wanted a small place where we could make food that was good for friends and family. But people started to love it, and before we knew it, we were growing into what we are today.”
Open daily, Little Village Noodle House stands out from other Chinese restaurants by offering its own unique fusion of Northern, Hong Kong and Sichuan-style cooking. Bold, spicy flavors and distinctive, authentic sauces shine in each dish, while more familiar ingredients that you might not normally find in Chinese food, like Brussels sprouts or portobello mushrooms, also make an appearance. Chang says the restaurant strives to appeal to locals by using those Western vegetables that people already love.
The restaurant also focuses on health-conscious cuisine by refraining from using MSG. There are salads on the menu — again, rare to find in a Chinese restaurant — and there are also popular vegetarian dishes like King Oyster Mushroom over Baby Spinach ($14.95) on the daily specials menu, or Portobello Mushroom Snow Pea Stir Fry ($13.95).
For the stir fry, fresh vegetables are expertly fried on a wok, which is the best pan to use for a stir fry dish because it heats up well and cooks evenly. The ingredients are infused with a flavorful homemade Chinese brown sauce made with garlic and oyster sauce.
“We try to be innovative with the way we cook and cater with these dishes, and hope they appeal to vegetarian customers too,” says Chang.
Vegetarians also can try Shiitake Mushroom with Choi Sum ($13.95), a classic Little Village dish that Chang says has been around on the menu for many years. As for seafood lovers, Garlic Butter Steamed Kauai Prawn ($16.95) hits the spot with fresh prawns elevated with chives, garlic, butter and shallots.
Little Village Noodle House
1113 Smith St., Chinatown
Sunday-Thursday, 10:30 A.M.-10:30 P.M.; Friday-Saturday, 10:30 A.M.-Midnight