Eatery gives guests ‘Royal’ treatment
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When Calvin Wong opened Royal Garden Chinese Restaurant in Ala Moana Hotel more than 30 years ago, he had made the choice to leave his successful eatery on Keeaumoku Street to embark on a new food and business venture — and locals and tourists over the years have been continuously grateful for that decision.
Located on the third floor of the Honolulu hotel, Royal Garden is bustling at all operating hours of the day, serving dim sum from steaming pushcarts for lunch and presenting sumptuous dishes of traditional and modern Chinese cuisine to tables at night.
For something a little unconventional, order Baked Stuffed Topshell ($6.95 apiece) as an appetizer to kickoff your royal feast. Wong says, “It’s a fusion dish, because Chinese usually deep-fry, stir-fry or roast dishes, but for Baked (Stuffed) Topshell, it’s treated with a Western-style (of cooking).”
The delicious meat of the topshell, or sea snail, is chopped up and mixed with shrimp, scallop, minced pork, mushrooms, a touch of creamy mayo and curry flavoring before being packed back into its beautiful shell and baked until bubbling.
Perfect for parties and family gatherings of any size, Royal Garden offers private rooms for all occasions. And, for the month of May, Wong shares that with any order of three regular menu items, patrons may receive a free Tong Bor Roast Pork entree (no coupon needed), which happens to be one of Wong’s personal favorites.
The dish features a cut of meat from the pig’s belly that has been stewed for hours in a special sauce until melt-in-your-mouth tender. “Mainly, the sauce comes from the pork itself,” explains Wong, “plus oyster (sauce) and a little chicken bouillon.”
Tor Bor Roast Pork — Tor Bor is the name of the man who created the dish — will be available as a special until the end of this month, and may continue afterward, depending on its popularity.
Royal Garden Chinese Restaurant
Ala Moana Hotel, third floor
410 Atkinson Drive, Honolulu
Lunch: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; dinner daily, 5:30-9:30 p.m.