Fried Up and FlavorfulOno, You Know
April 1, 2018
Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO
Fried rice — it’s a dish etched into all of our palates, and a source of great pride among local foodies, chefs and home cooks alike, every one of which is convinced that his or her recipe is the best.
Perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner, fried rice is one of those go-to menu items that never lets us down, and I know many of us have a soft spot for local-style fry-ups speckled with chunks of Spam and Portuguese sausage, and made colorful with green onion flecks. But truth be told, fried rice is a dish as varied as the number of spices at a Moroccan bazaar. Its starting point — a fluffy blanket of freshly steamed rice — is a blank canvas just begging to be turned into a rainbow of flavors. Well, not surprisingly, Ono, You Know is ready to taste a kaleidoscope of fried-rice beauties, right here, right now.
HONG KONG-INSPIRED GOODIES
Typical of Chinese restaurants, Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant is home to a menu brimming with fried rice options — eight, to be exact — filled with egg, char siu, beef, chicken and what have you. Far from typical, however, are the diverse ingredient combinations you’ll find at the Ala Moana Center eatery, whose menu is constantly evolving with tasty new dining options.
General manager Gary Chan says the most popular fried rice recipes among Jade Dynasty’s Chinese clientele are Dried Scallop & Egg White Fried Rice, as well as Fried Rice with Salted Fish & Chicken. As a special scoop for Dining Out readers, Chan also revealed a few off-the-menu treasures that are now available for a limited time.
As Chan explains, it all started with a pair of Jade Dynasty regulars, Dr. Li and his wife, who requested that the eatery make a dish that reminds them of their university days back in Hong Kong. This particular entree offers egg fried rice mixed with tender pieces of steak and green onion, along with a shoyu-based sauce and fried egg on top. Though it’s quite common in Hong Kong, the entree goes by the name of Jade Dynasty Loco Moco ($14.95) at the Honolulu restaurant because of its striking resemblance to the local classic.
Jade Dynasty regulars and newcomers alike also can thank Dr. Li and his wife for another delightful menu contribution, this time a Fish Fillet & Ginger Fried Rice ($14.95). The dish is reminiscent of something the couple enjoyed recently at a fine-dining eatery in Hong Kong, according to Chan. When I stopped by, it was prepared with moist flounder highlighted with slices of ginger and fried rice.
These dishes are welcomed accompaniments to Jade Dynasty’s traditional and fusion-filled Chinese fare and dim sum. If your mouth is officially watering, Chan says it’s not too early to think about diving into the prime rib, seafood and dim sum buffet for Mother’s Day next month.
‘KRAZY’ ABOUT THIS FRIED RICE
Now, if there’s one truly distinctive type of fried rice out there, you’ll find it at Kau Kau Grill. And for the record, you’ve been warned: This stuff is addicting.
I’m talking about the Krazy Rice that spices up the Mapunapuna eatery’s plate lunches — named aptly because it’s crazy delicious. The spicy barbecue fried rice hints at Kau Kau’s signature menu item — Barbecue Baby Back Ribs — as it’s prepared with succulent rib ends that come from the best-selling pork. Those flavors are further accentuated with barbecue sauce, which gives the rice a touch of sweetness as well as its Spanish rice-red color. Onion, house seasonings and spices round out the flavors and give it a nice kick.
“It’s like a local fried rice, but it matches what we serve here,” explains manager Ryan Souza, who adds that Krazy Rice goes well with many of Kau Kau’s menu items. “It’s very unique and it adds a lot of flavor to your plate lunch.”
Krazy Rice may be ordered on the side for $3, or it can be incorporated into your meal as a white-rice substitute for $1 per scoop. Plate lunches normally come with two scoops of white rice; you can switch out one of them for Krazy Rice in regular plates, or both scoops in combo plates.
When I last chowed down at Kau Kau, I just had to order the Smoked Meat plate with Krazy Rice ($13). The sweet and spicy qualities of the rice perfectly complement the sweet and smoky flavor profile of the pork, which goes through a long marination process before it is smoked for 12-15 hours.
Souza notes that only one batch of Krazy Rice is made every day, so come and get it before it sells out — the eatery is open for lunch Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.