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Food flavors to ‘Jai’ for

A La Carte

April 14, 2019

Story By: Yu Shing Ting | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

Jook with chicken ($7.99)

Hoy Tin Kitchen, a compact Chinese eatery in Liliha, may be small in size with just four tables inside, but it’s big on taste, portion and value.

The casual, neighborhood restaurant has been around for more than 40 years but was known as Hoy Tin Chop Suey before the owners of Canton Seafood Restaurant in Honolulu took over ownership in 2016 and renamed it Hoy Tin Kitchen.

“We kept the original name Hoy Tin (ocean sky) because it was already very well-known and had a very good reputation,” says manager Janet Chan. “We have a lot of regular customers, including longtime area residents and workers from nearby businesses. We are well-known for our reasonable prices and generous portions.”

Lucky Jai ($9.99). File photo

Street parking is available in the area, or for those on the go, simply call in your order and drive up to the “pickup stall” right in front of the restaurant and someone can bring your food to you.

Hoy Tin Kitchen offers an extensive menu of approximately 125 items, including traditional Chinese dishes and local favorites, such as kau yuk and stuffed eggplant. There also are some hard-to-find foods that not a lot of Chinese restaurants serve.

For example, Jook may seem like a simple dish but it takes a few hours to cook and can be a lot of work. At Hoy Tin Kitchen, you can enjoy your Jook plain ($6.99); with chicken, pork or beef ($7.99); or with fish or seafood ($8.99).

Chan notes that with two hospitals nearby, they wanted to have this on their menu because it’s good for people who aren’t feeling well or don’t have an appetite but need to eat, and it’s easy to digest.

Another healthy option is Lucky Jai ($9.99), a vegetarian dish consisting of black fungus, black mushroom, won bok (Chinese cabbage), snow peas, bean curd, long rice, carrots, water chestnut and bamboo shoot.

Many Chinese restaurants will make this during holidays like Chinese New Year and the Moon Festival when it’s especially popular to eat for good luck, but Hoy Tin Kitchen offers it all year round.

There also is Oyster Sauce Chicken Fried Noodle ($7.99, add $1 for cake noodle), which is among the restaurant’s top dishes.

“It’s a local favorite,” notes Chan. “The chicken we use is healthy, there’s not too much fat. It’s marinated in an oyster sauce and fried. But only the skin is crispy, the meat inside is still tender and juicy.”

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