Dim Sum & More!

Columns Foodie Fare

March 31, 2013

Story By: Christina O Connor | Photos by: Rachel Breit

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing lunch break or a place to host a banquet party, The Mandalay is the perfect place to go. Located on Alakea Street, the restaurant serves up traditional Hong Kong and Cantonese food in an elegant setting.

During lunchtime, dim sum is a popular option.

“All of our dim sum actually is cooked to order,” explains Linda Chan, who co-owns the restaurant with husband Larry.

Many restaurants pre-cook their dim sum dishes and showcase them around the restaurant in carts. But the Chans chose to stray from this path.

“We found that if the dim sum is cooked to order, it is a lot fresher than if it were sitting in the cart,” she says. “We believe that when cooked to order, the quality of the dim sum is better.

“Dim sum means ‘touch the heart,'” she says. “The reason why they say that is because all the dim sum, every piece, is handmade.”

Some dim sum options include Baked BBQ Pork Pastry ($3.50), Baked Egg Tarts ($2.50), Deep Fried Vegetarian Spring Rolls ($3.50), Steamed BBQ Pork Bun ($3.50) and Deep Fried Dried Shrimp Puff ($3.50).

Other than dim sum, Chan says that Peking Duck with Bun ($32; $16.50 for half) is the one the most popular dishes.

“We roast it and we serve it with the skin, with the bun, and with plum sauce and cilantro,” she says. “We can either chop it up and serve as a whole duck, or we can mince the duck meat and stir-fry it with vegetables.”

Another customer favorite is Lettuce Wrap with Minced Pork ($16.95), which is comprised of water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, celery and black mushrooms. Shown here with pork, the dish can feature chicken, duck, or plain (vegetarian).

While the menu might be made up mostly of traditional items, The Mandalay is not afraid to get creative. One innovative dish is Sauteed Seafood in Taro Basket (regular $19, large $38), which features mixed seafood, including shrimp, scallop, fish fillet and cuttlefish, along with mixed vegetables all served in a taro basket. The regular size will serve four to six people, while the larger basket will serve 10 to 12.

“The basket is made out of shredded taro,” Chan says, “so you are able to eat the basket as well.”

For more seafood must-haves, try Shrimp with Salt and Pepper ($13.95), which features sauteed shrimp.

On the Side

Husband-and-wife team Larry and Linda Chan opened The Mandalay in 2006. The two formerly owned Chinese food chain Eastern Garden, which had locations in Aiea, Kaimuki, Kaneohe and Waikiki.

“As we were getting older, we just wanted to concentrate on one,” Linda says.

The two had a long path to become the successful restauranteurs they are today.

“My husband and I were born and raised in Hong Kong,” Chan says. “When we came here, we had limited English-speaking skills, so we both ended up working in restaurants.”

Both Linda and Larry were employed as wait staff in local restaurants, working their way up the chain before starting the successful Eastern Garden venture.

The Mandalay provides an elegant venue that is perfect to play host to any of your special events. It has two floors — the main dining room downstairs can seat about 190 people, and the second floor can seat approximately 130.

There is validated parking available across the street from the restaurant at Bishop Square Monday-Friday after 5 p.m. or Saturdays and Sunday all day. During business hours, guests also can park at Alii Place for a fee.

The Mandalay

1055 Alakea St.
10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily

Honolulu, HI 96813

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best