Whole New World of CuisinesCover Story Features
June 30, 2013
Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Leah Friel
As your one-stop shop for shopping and dining, McCully Shopping Center has embraced Hawaii’s multitude of cultures and island flair since its opening in August 1986. Within this 35,290-square-foot outdoor complex, kamaaina and visitors from around the world can have it all right at their fingertips, thanks to the many restaurants, specialty shops and retail stores that call this center home.
“McCully Shopping Center is a real melting pot here in Honolulu,” says McCully Shopping Center’s marketing director Terri Hansen, who adds that the center is now under new ownership by M Pocket Corporation. “We have so many restaurants representing different ethnicities, and the cuisines make the shopping center very inviting to everyone. The fare really complements our clientele.”
Now through July 31, McCully Shopping Center is celebrating A World of Cuisines, an annual event showcasing the diverse flavors that its restaurants have to offer, be it Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, fast food or local fare, in addition to refreshing smoothies, bubble teas and snow ice desserts that are perfect for summer.
Participating restaurants include Fook Yuen Chinese Seafood Restaurant, Pho 777 Vietnamese Restaurant, Phuket Thai Restaurant, Regal Diner, Taco Bell, Hot Pot Heaven, Coffee or Tea?, Curry House, Yotteko-Ya Ramen, and the two newest additions to the lineup, Maui Kitchen and Neco Grill & Bar.
Most recently, Dining Out brought our appetite to McCully Shopping Center to get a firsthand look at a slew of dishes patrons can revel in with A World of Cuisines.
Our first stop was to Yotteko-Ya Ramen, where chef Kimihiko Sano whipped up a fabulous bowl of Paitan Chashu Ramen ($9.95) topped with five slices of homemade char siu pork. As the No. 1 recommended soup base, paitan is simmered for more than 10 hours with tender pieces of pork and chicken, along with an assortment of vegetables and spices. This meticulous process produces a thick, rich collagen stock, which is believed to help prevent aging. Open for lunch and dinner, Yotteko-Ya Ramen has been a favorite since its inception in June 2004.
Then, in the mood for gourmet local grinds, we made our way to Maui Kitchen, which opened its doors this past April. Plates of Hamburger Steak Loco Moco, Boneless Deep Fried Pork Chops and Chicken Katsu easily work up appetites, but it’s the irresistible malasadas made by chef Virgilio Jore that draw in the crowd. Fill up on traditional Sugar Malasadas ($1.25) or specialty malasadas filled with Azuki Bean, Haupia Cream or Custard, priced at $1.65 each.
If a spread of Japanese-Izakaya favorites is what you’re craving, Neco Grill & Bar, located on the lower level of the complex, features more than 30 alluring dishes such as Pork Kimchee ($9.50), Tomato Mozzarella appetizer ($8.50), Garlic Steak ($19.90) and Pork Katsu teishoku set served with rice, pickles, various side dishes and an ice cold Sapporo Draft beer or soft drink ($10, happy hour 5:30-7 p.m.).
“Starting July 1, we will be offering different happy hour specials on weekdays. We also offer Japanese-style open karaoke from 10 p.m. nightly for only $1 per song,” says Neco’s Thomas TJ Gannon, adding that the restaurant is open from 5:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. nightly.
And, of course, Fook Yuen, a McCully Shopping Center mainstay, presents patrons with authentic Chinese cuisine, including house specialties Sauteed King Prawns with Honey Glazed Walnut ($16.50) and Pei-Pa Tofu with Spinach ($12.95). In business for more than 20 years, Fook Yuen knows exactly what its customers want.
“A World of Cuisines is perfectly fitting for McCully Shopping Center,” Hansen says. “It’s a great way for our patrons to feature their specific cuisines.
“As a part of A World of Cuisines, we’re also sending a lucky winner and his or her companion somewhere in the world. Past travel locations have been China, New York, Canada, Japan, Las Vegas and Napa Valley, California. This year, we are sending our lucky winner to Lanai,” she says.
Patrons may enter to win at any participating McCully Shopping Center merchant by simply filling out a form (you must be at least 18 years old to enter). The round trip for two includes a three-day-two-night package with airfare provided by Island Air.
“Each merchant will have entry boxes and you also can download entry forms online. The winner will be notified Aug. 1,” Hansen states. “I’m excited about being able to offer a trip to Lanai because a lot of locals haven’t been there. Lanai is fabulous. Everything is so pristine. It’s like another world.”
McCully Shopping Center
1960 KAPIOLANI BLVD., HONOLULU