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Festive treats ring in Chinese New Year

A La Carte

January 27, 2019

Story By: Caroline Wright | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO

Jai ($15.95)

There seems to be as many variations of char siu as there are stars in the sky, but it’s generally agreed among experts that the most important ingredient is patience. To attain the ultimate smoky-sweet flavor that makes this Cantonese roasted pork dish so delicious, the char siu requires overnight marination.

That’s probably why The Mandalay’s BBQ Pork Char Siu ($15.95) is so delicious.

“It’s a specialty of our chef, and it requires one day’s advance notice to order,” says Larry Chan, who owns the popular Honolulu restaurant with his wife Linda.

Nian Gao ($6.95 small, $12.95 large)

Char siu is available year-round at The Mandalay, but as the Year of the Pig approaches, this delicious pork dish will be in high demand. It may also be ordered in banquet portions for large parties.

To celebrate the Lunar New Year, The Mandalay will offer two traditional treats through the end of February.

“We’re featuring Jai ($15.95) which symbolizes good luck,” says Chan.

As with char siu, there are many variations of this classic dish. What does The Mandalay put in its jai? According to Chan, the restaurant’s Jai includes mushrooms, long rice, won bok, bean curd and black fungus.

BBQ Pork Char Siu ($15.95)

Through the end of February, The Mandalay will also sell Nian Gao ($6.95 small, $12.95 large), the New Year’s glutinous rice cake that symbolizes togetherness.

“They’re both good portions, wrapped in red paper, topped with sesame seeds and red bean,” notes Chan.

Everything at this legendary Hong Kong-style dim sum restaurant is freshly made daily, by hand. Like The Mandalay, many restaurants in Hong Kong and China have eliminated pushcarts.

“Dim sum shouldn’t sit in a cart for a long time — you lose freshness and texture,” Chan explains.

The Mandalay will host a Lion Dance on Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. and will offer two special New Year’s menus. Those interested in watching the festive dance while dining on scrumptious food should call for details and to make reservations.

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