Slither Into Chinese New Year Dynasty Style

Cover Story Features

February 10, 2013

Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo

Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant rings in the Year of the Snake as Chinese New Year officially kicks off today (Feb. 10). A new year means new possibilities, and it’s believed that the Year of the Snake centers around steady progress and attention to detail — focus and discipline are deemed necessary for goals to be achieved. Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant in Ala Moana Center’s Hookipa Terrace is looking forward to a year filled with prosperity and continued success.

“Business has been good for us. We’ve been very lucky,” says general manager Gary Chan, who’s seen the restaurant expand its culinary repertoire throughout the years. “What sets us apart from other Chinese restaurants is our approach to Canton-style and Hong Kong-style cuisine. Our chefs are very creative and are on par with the latest dining trends, and our executive chef recently returned from Hong Kong with many new ideas to incorporate onto the menu,” he adds.

As the premier restaurant to open in the U.S. as part of Paramount Banquet Halls, which currently operates more than 20 locations throughout Hong Kong, this 8,250-square-foot establishment rolls out the red carpet for its patrons as the restaurant showcases its festive Chinese New Year menu.

Select from two prix-fixe menus ($318 for a table of 10 or $438 for a table of 10) that are offered through Feb. 28.

“All menu items are signature dishes that are always enjoyed during Chinese New Year, are local favorites or Chinese delicacies,” Chan explains.

The abundant spread of menu No. 1, priced at $318, features a Cold Cut Appetizer Platter, and Crab Meat and Fish Maw Soup, for starters. Then treat yourself to kamaaina classics of Peking Duck with Homemade Buns, Steamed Peking Duck Meats, Sauteed Shrimp and Scallop with Honey Glazed Walnuts and Seafood Fried Rice with Garlic. Chinese New Year must-haves also include Steamed Whole Fish with Scallion and Soy Sauce, and New Year Good Luck Jai.

“On New Year’s Day, you’re supposed to have Jai, or monk’s food,” Chan says. “It’s a vegetarian dish that is believed to cleanse you for the year and give you a fresh start. Jai is a traditional New Year’s food, which consists of black mushrooms, long rice, fungus, water chestnuts, snow peas, cabbage, ginkgo nuts and bean curd.

“Our Steamed Whole Fish (uhu) with Scallion and Soy Sauce also is an important part of the Chinese New Year’s feast because the fish signifies an abundance of good fortune.”

And new to the menu this year is Baby Pak Choy with Crab Meat and Carrot Sauce, which Chan describes as a unique dish featuring a bed of fresh pak choy doused with a special sauce of egg whites, crab meat and carrots.

“We’re very excited about this new dish, and we must credit our chefs, their creativity is very impressive. Of course, for dessert we are serving Mochi Balls in a Sweet Ginger Broth.”

Then, for a taste of royalty, indulge in Jade Dynasty’s second menu that is fit for a king. For $438, your table of 10 can feast on 10 exquisite dishes, such as Steamed Scallop in Half Shell. A recent addition to the menu, this appetizer is garnished with minced garlic, green onions and served with long rice. Then Imitation Shark’s Fin Soup with Crab Meat cleanses the palate just in time for Live Lobsters with Garlic and Butter Sauce, Shrimp and Scallop with Honey Glazed Walnuts, Steamed Whole Fish with Scallion and Soy Sauce, Smoked Chicken with Chrysanthemum, Braised Shiitake Mushrooms with Vegetable, Jai, Sticky Rice with Preserved Meats in a Lotus Wrap, and Mochi Balls in a Sweet Ginger Broth for dessert.

“Everyone loves Sticky Rice with Preserved Meats in a Lotus Wrap. You’ll find bits of Chinese sausage and Chinese bacon in the rice, and the sticky rice represents families sticking together,” Chan states, noting other customary traditions for Chinese New Year.

“The first day of the new year is when you’re supposed to visit your elders in your immediate family. On the second day, you visit your extended family and then on the third day you’re not to visit anyone. They say if you do, you will get into a big argument or conflict that will last throughout the year. From there, you can go and visit more family and friends in the days to come,” he advises.

Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant is the epitome of avant-garde Chinese cuisine. And while its Chinese New Year menus are in the limelight this month, the restaurant also boasts a special Valentine’s Day menu that’s perfect for a night out with your special someone. Priced at $79.95, this dinner for two includes Steamed Scallop in Half Shell, Abalone Siu Mai, Golden Pumpkin and Seafood Soup, Live Lobsters with Garlic and Butter Sauce, Roasted Crispy Beef Tenderloin, Fried Rice — Young Chow Style, and Mango Pudding for the sweetest of endings.

And while all this is enough to leave you full for days, a Jade Dynasty experience isn’t complete without setting your appetite on its unique dim sum options, available from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

“Baked Snow Mountain Char Siu Buns ($3.50) are always a hit with our patrons, and we’re constantly unveiling contemporary dim sum choices,” Chan states. For example, for a twist on your usual dim sum, sink your teeth into Jade Dynasty’s newest creations of Imperial Roll with Taro and Preserved Meat ($4.50), Abalone Siu Mai ($4.50), Fish and Crab Meat Dumplings ($4.50), and Fried Mochi with Lotus Paste ($3.50).

“We’re always thinking of new items to add to the menu,” Chan adds. “Dim sum is a big draw with locals and tourists, and customers are always excited to try new things. We have a lot of dim sum that you won’t find anywhere else. We use all-natural and local ingredients as much as possible, such as Kona abalone.

“We’re excited for this new year — Year of the Snake,” he says. “Our customers are like family to us, so we hope to see many new and familiar faces this year. At 7 p.m. Feb. 10, we will scare away evil spirits with a lion dance as we usher in the new year. We recommend you make reservations if you wish to dine with us for Chinese New Year and let us know which menu you would like.”

Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant

Ala Moana Center, Hookipa Terrace
Open daily, 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m.

Honolulu, HI 96814

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