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Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: Little Village Noodle House

Restaurant Insider

September 8, 2019

Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

Owner David Chang, left, displays Little Village’s Orange Chicken and Honey Walnut Shrimp, as Anne Lee shows off the eatery’s Dried String Beans.

ANNE LEE speaks with founder DAVID CHANG

A dedicated man who wears multiple hats, David Chang describes himself as owner/chef/operator/dishwasher/janitor at Little Village Noodle House.

He has held the reins at the wildly popular Little Village Chinese restaurant on Smith Street for the past 18 years with more than 30 years experience in the culinary industry.

Chang explains that he is the one who tastes and critiques the food at Little Village.

“We strive to make sure that the dish that our guests order is the best that it can be,” he explains.

Chang adds that the restaurant has a great following among customers.

Orange Chicken ($11.25)

“I hope I can continue to carry on this tradition for a long time to come. I see every age range and generations of customers come into our restaurant. I see kids that are now 18 celebrating their graduation, and they grow and bring their children here,” he notes.

The proprietor said his favorite part of the job is satisfied customers.

“I spend most of my life here in the restaurant. The guests become like our family,” he emphasizes.

Chang shares additional details about the big success of Little Village here:

AL: What type of cuisine does the restaurant specialize in?

Honey Walnut Shrimp ($18.50)

DC: Modern Chinese food. I would say that when we first started, we emphasized on more modern style cuisine, more spicy — less sauce, bold flavor. We try to bring lots of colors, natural colors and fresh local ingredients. I use local resources here in Chinatown, and no MSG in our food.

AL : What does Little Village bring to the Hawaii food scene?

DC: When we first came into Chinatown, we knew that we were going to be faced with a lot of competition, with so many other Chinese restaurants already established in Chinatown. We created a niche for ourselves, a little different type of Chinese cuisine, I use the word more modern. A lot of locals really enjoy our cuisine.

AL: What is the motto or mission?

DC: Good food is always the first thing. I want them to be happy with our dishes, and remember it. And when they come back again, they remember their last dish that they ordered and crave it, and order it again.

Dried String Beans ($10.50)

AL: What is Little Village’s most popular dish?

DC: Honey Walnut Shrimp ($18.50). We sell a lot of it! It’s large shrimp tossed in a garlic and green onion cream sauce, topped with honey walnuts — crispy. We do not batter our shrimp. It’s gluten free, and deep fry it. The selection of shrimp that we pick is also what makes it special. I am very particular about the shrimp we use. We add the candied walnuts, this is actually something that was created in Hong Kong.

AL: What are some of the other specialties?

DC: Salt & Pepper Pork Chop — fried pork chop tossed with garlic, ginger, scallions, salt and pepper. The Dried String Beans are stir-fried under very high heat with our special chili garlic sauce, which is also available with dried pork. Orange chicken is flash fried boneless chicken with chef Chan’s homemade sweet and tangy orange sauce. One of the best dishes is called The Mother of All Fried Rice — this is a unique dish with salted fish, with minced chicken, ginger and garlic spices.

Dried String Beans

Ingredients
• 1/2 pound of string beans
• 4 teaspoons white vinegar
• 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
• 7 teaspoons of Kikkoman Soy Sauce

Method
1. Deep fry to about 80 percent cooked, stir fry with the sauce.
2. Salt and sugar to taste

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