Seafood Village Serves Up the Best Lunchtime Deal In TownColumns Foodie Fare
July 8, 2012
Story By: Christina O Connor | Photos by: Leah Friel
On one recent evening at Seafood Village Chinese Cuisine, general manager Johnson Ma was visited by a couple who used to dine at the restaurant many years ago. Although they used to frequent the eatery, this particular visit was the first time they had been in a while, and they were delighted to see that their old haunt was still around. And Ma was just as happy to see them, too.
“I always like to see customers come back,” he says. “We just really want to take care of people. We want you to have a good time.”
Located downstairs in Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort & Spa, Seafood Village has been drawing in customers — visitors and locals alike — for nearly 20 years with its traditional Hong Kong-style cuisine.
“What makes Chinese food great is that it’s best to it eat family style, and is good for celebrations with friends and family,” Ma says. “And Seafood Village is a great place to gather … It’s the best place to celebrate anything. We’ve had baby showers, retirement parties, graduations and anniversaries.
“And the star of all of these (events) has been our $10.95 lunch,” Ma adds. The meal is $10.95 per person and is for parties of 10 or more. It includes Minute Chicken Fried Noodle, Stir-Fried Assorted Vegetables, Kalua Short Ribs, Beef and Broccoli, Chicken Salad and four types of the restaurant’s most popular dim sum: Barbecue Pork, Chive Dumpling, Pork Hash and Seafood Dumpling.
“For $10.95, you can’t beat that anywhere,” Ma says.
To host your party, there are three private rooms — two of the rooms hold about 20 people, and the larger room can host up to 80 guests. For larger parties, the entire restaurant — which holds up to 210 guests — also can be rented out.
The lunch special and dim sum are the most popular for lunch hours, but the nighttime dining at Seafood Village certainly should not be overlooked. And if you’re going to dine at a place called Seafood Village, you’d better be sure to try a few of the items for which the restaurant is named.
“We like to feature the freshest in seafood,” Ma says. All of the lobster, crab, prawn and fish dishes are among the most popular. Some of these include Tea Leaves Smoked Jumbo Kahuku Prawns ($23.95), which is made with black tea leaves smoked into the shrimp, and Honey Glazed Walnut Kahuku Prawns ($22.95).
And now, the same great flavors that have been pleasing customers for years recently got a fresh, contemporary revamp. Award-winning Chef Michael Au visited Seafood Village last month. For two weeks, he collaborated with the restaurant’s kitchen staff to reinvent some of their classic flavors, while also coming up with some new concoctions.
“They came up with a variety of new, unique dishes,” Ma says. New dishes include Golden Pumpkin Egg Tofu. And older dishes such as Hot and Sour Seafood Soup ($5.50) are back with a kick. “Chef gave us some good ways to really season the food, and make it even more flavorful … He looked at all of our dishes, and just how to make the flavor really jump.”
With new dishes, new twists on classic dishes and some of the best deals in town, there’s never been a better time to check out Seafood Village. On top of all of that, a large part of the restaurant’s charm is its unwavering desire to serve its customers. Perhaps that notion is best exemplified the night that the couple of former regulars visited. Before they left, they told Ma how pleasantly surprised they were that Seafood Village was still around. Things in Waikiki, after all, are always changing.
“Yes,” Ma responded to the couple. “We always are here for you.”
On the Side
“We try to give a taste of Hong Kong right here in Waikiki,” Seafood Village general manager Johnson Ma says, explaining that the restaurant serves up traditional Hong Kong-style food. The restaurant’s dim sum options have always been one thing that keeps customers coming back. Seafood Village strives to maintain a high level of authenticity when it comes to its dim sum.
“If you went to Hong Kong for dim sum, you actually wouldn’t see too many places still using a cart,” he explains. And as authentic Hong Kong-style eatery, Seafood Village adheres to that standard as well. “When you order it, that is when we start to make it. In China, that is how they want it. They want it fresh, piping hot, right out of the steamer, so that is how we serve it.”
Ma explains the Chinese characters for dim sum mean “touch of the heart.” “It’s a staple for daytime,” he says, “kind of like a Chinese sandwich.” But nighttime diners need not worry. Ma assures that the restaurant also offers some dim sum at night.
In addition to the dim sum delights that are featured in the $10.95 lunch special, another customer favorite is Xiao Long Bao (six pieces for $8.99). It’s a broth-filled dumpling dipped in vinegar.
And the made-to-order format is status quo for Seafood Village’s entire menu, not just its dim sum. “Our food is always made fresh,” Ma says.
And in large part thanks to Ma, no matter how many times regulars frequent Seafood Village, they always will have something to look forward to. Ma is constantly working to tweak and improve the restaurant’s dishes. “Every day, I try to create a new dish. I work with the chef, and together, we create a lot,” he says.
Seafood Village Chinese Cuisine
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort and Spa
2424 Kalakaua Ave. #103, Honolulu
Open daily, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (Lunch) 5-10 p.m. (Dinner)