Waves of Seafood Favorites at Panda CuisineColumns Lite Bites
November 18, 2012
Story By: Yu Shing Ting | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo
Since Panda Cuisine on Keeaumoku Street changed ownership in February, the restaurant also has changed its menu — it no longer serves dim sum, and instead has become a seafood house.
It’s still a fine Chinese restaurant with your typical Chinese appetizers, soup, pork, beef, lamb, chicken, duck, vegetable, rice and noodle dishes. But what stands out the most is its seafood — it’s fresh, flavorful, affordable and the choices are endless.
Through the end of November, there’s a special where you can pick your seafood (live lobster, live Dungeness crab, live Manila clams, shrimp or New Zealand mussels) for only $9.99 per pound. You also can choose the sauce you want it made with: lemon garlic, garlic butter, creamy base with butter, cajun style, salt and pepper, black bean, ginger and onion, Panda house special (with a fish sauce, butter, fresh chili, basil and green onion) and steamed.
A must-try is the Dungeness Crab Combo ($49.99) and the Maine Lobster Combo ($49.99). Be ready for the generous portion of food, which includes snow crab, Manila clams, shrimp, mussel, corn and fried noodles; and it can feed at least two people. And a non-seafood dish that has become a signature of Panda Cuisine is Crispy Char Siu ($11.99).
For those seeking a late-night meal, also known as siu yeh in Cantonese and a cultural tradition of the Chinese, there’s a late-night dinner menu from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. As for happy hour, at Panda Cuisine, it takes place all day and night, with $2 draft beers including Tsingtao, Heineken, Bud Light, Kirin, Budweiser and Coors Light.
In less than a year, word about Panda Cuisine’s tasty seafood offerings has spread quickly among seafood lovers here and around the world. Even the legendary Bob Chinn of Bob Chinn’s Crab House in Chicago was seen dining at Panda Cuisine the other week.
“We are a Chinese restaurant specializing in seafood,” explains John Liang, who co-owns the restaurant with Chris Lin. “When you walk in, you can see all the live seafood in the fish tanks and you pick the one you want.”
The recipes are from Liang, who also co-owns Crab City in Kaimuki, and has more than 15 years of experience in the restaurant business. Originally from Guangzhou, China, he previously owned two restaurants in Los Angeles before moving to Hawaii eight years ago.
For special parties, a banquet menu is available, and there are two private rooms; one can seat 15 to 20 people and the other 60 to 80 people. Validated parking is located below the restaurant.
641 Keeaumoku St., Honolulu
11 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily