Mixing It Up With a Range of Asian CuisinesColumns Foodie Fare
May 12, 2013
Story By: Christina O Connor | Photos by: Leah Friel
Serving up a variety of Asian foods — primarily drawing on Chinese and Japanese influences — with a little local inspiration, Asian Mix has more than 70 dishes to choose from.
We cover a lot of different things,” says Daniel Leung, who co-owns the restaurant with the head chef. “People come in and they may eat Chinese food, or a Japanese bento, or ramen, or maybe a local favorite lunch plate — you can get all of that here.”
Asian Mix celebrated its one-year anniversary last week. Leung explains that the restaurant has spent the last year on a constant quest to stock the menu with quality items that are popular with customers.
We continually work on changing the menu, and we keep adding on (more items),” he says.
One item that is surely here to stay because of its immense popularity is Salmon Bento ($6.95), which features salmon raised in Chile.
“We tried many different salmon in the beginning, and it turned out that this is the best one, so we will stick to it,” he says.
“The salmon is lightly salted and very soft,” he adds. “And it is the same quality every time we make it.”
Leung says the bentos are especially convenient for customers who want to grab a quick, yet quality and filling meal to go.
“They don’t have to really wait for the bento at all — they just pick up, pay and go,” he explains.
Many of Asian Mix’s meals provide quick dining options without comprising quality. Chicken Katsu ($7.95; mini size for $5.95), which is served with rice and macaroni salad, is a perfect example of that.
“That is one of the best-selling items here,” Leung says. “It is a generous portion.”
With the summer months on the way, parties and potlucks are fast approaching, too.
Asian Mix offers a variety of party trays, including Lo Mein ($18 per tray), which features Japanese yakisoba. Customers can order the tray vegetarian style, which features cabbage and green onion, with the option of adding additional vegetables by request. Or, customers can choose to add meat from a selection of chicken, barbecue pork or beef.
“We have found that the Japanese yakisoba is best made with lo mein for a party tray,” Leung says. “The texture — even when it gets cold — doesn’t change. It is always nice and soft.”
For another convenient party option, BBQ Pork ($9.50 per pound) provides a ready-to-go dish that makes a good addition to any meal. The honey-roasted pork is served a la carte, and customers also can choose to add a side of rice for $1.
For a sweet ending to your meal, Asian Mix offers various puddings for dessert.
“Mango Pudding is really popular,” Leung says. “We have been serving a lot every day.”
Also available are Almond Pudding and Coffee Pudding — all cost $2 each and are flavored with cream.
On the Side
Before opening Asian Mix last year, owner Daniel Leung ran another restaurant — a more formal sit-down establishment — for years. But he wanted to create a place for people to get both quality and convenience.
“We wanted to offer good-quality food to take home,” Leung says. “People are so busy, and here they don’t have to cook, they just stop by.”
Leung first started working in the restaurant industry as a server, as a way to put himself through high school and college. While studying architecture in college, Leung’s friend asked him to help set up his restaurant and assist with some of the building plans. In time, Leung ended up becoming one of the shareholders of the restaurant.
“It is hard work, but I enjoy it,” he says of the restaurant business. “You meet a lot of people every day.”
Leung also enjoys the process of continually serving his customers — and designing his menu around what will please their palates. In the past year, Asian Mix already has revamped the menu a few times.
“We keep trying to make things better and better,” Leung says. “You try to serve food to customers that you feel good about — and sell something you think everybody likes.”
1234 S. Beretania St. Shop A-1, Honolulu
Open daily 10:30 a.m.–8:30 p.m.