Happy New Day

Columns Veg'n Out

February 3, 2013

Story By: Terri Hefner | Photos by: Nathalie Walker

Jai ($6.95)

Jai ($6.95)

The first day of the Chinese New Year (falling on Feb. 10 this year, ushering in the Year of the Snake), is celebrated with rich traditions, festivities and best of all, special menus. Jai, or monk’s food, for example, is eaten on the first day of the new year to cleanse the body and to honor the Buddhist tradition that nothing living should be killed on that day, ensuring good luck and fortune in the coming year.

At Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant in Chinatown, you can enjoy traditional jai any day of the year (whether or not you think your body needs cleansing) — and for those who don’t eat meat or fish, that’s something to celebrate.

“We keep it completely vegetarian,” says manager Gary Lam of Golden Palace’s quite affordable Jai ($6.95), a bowlful of symbolism containing long rice, tofu, mushrooms, snow peas, baby corn, bok choy and carrots among many more savory flavors and textures.

Jai isn’t the only “completely vegetarian” dish you’ll discover on the Golden Palace menu. Black Mushrooms with Oyster Sauce ($6.95) is self-explanatory, with those meaty, moist ‘shrooms taking the spotlight and served simply on a bed of lettuce. Hmmm, oyster sauce?

“Our oyster sauce doesn’t contain any oyster,” notes Lam, who adds that one of his favorite dishes is Garlic Sauce Stir-Fried Chinese Broccoli ($5.95). It’s easy to see (or rather, taste) why, since the garlic adds just the right pungent kick to the crisp-tender broccoli, a cruciferous vegetable that tops the list of super-good-for-you foods.

Braised Tofu with Vegetables ($6.75) is a favorite among customers, in which the fried tofu cubes are combined with choi sum, carrots, mushrooms and more. It’s a regular on most Chinese restaurant menus and Golden Palace does it just right.

Chinese New Year’s Day comes around only once a year, but you can celebrate a new day every day at Golden Palace.

Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant

111 N. King St.
Open daily, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.

Honolulu, HI 96817

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best