A Fresh Start for PanyaCover Story Features
August 18, 2013
Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo
It’s 7 a.m., liquid sunshine beams through Kakaako and Panya Bistro & Bakery at Hokua is ready to start a new day. Statement lighting brightens the trendy eatery, as natural light pours through the glass windows. Tables are set and the restaurant’s signature elements: mirrored walls, dangling medallions and full bar are nothing but pristine. The outdoor patio is beautified with lush floral arrangements, and Panya is ready for the masses.
With its Ala Moana Center establishment closed for business, Panya at Hokua has been three months in the making. Located on Ala Moana Boulevard, where the former P.F. Chang’s once stood, is now Hawaii’s favorite bistro and bakery. For sisters and owners Annie and Alice Yeung, they are more than ready to begin this new chapter in their lives.
“A decade ago, we had a Panya location that was very close to this new establishment. It’s so nice to see everything come full circle, now that we’re back here again,” says Annie with a smile. “Panya started off as more of a bakery and cafe, but during the years in Ala Moana, we built up our sit-down service and gained a very loyal customer base, who appreciated that dine-in concept. “But, we wanted to make our dining atmosphere even more comfortable, and this new establishment allows us to do just that, as well as making it easier to cater to bigger parties.”
While the close to 3,000 square-foot space is new and improved, equipped with a spacious kitchen and bar, the menu, up until now, remains the same. For those patrons who have been longing for their Panya favorites, the wait is officially over. Browse the extensive menu, and you’ll come across a fusion of cuisines that Annie says is inspired by foods that both she and Alice enjoy, as well as homemade Hong Kong fare from their homeland.
Hong Kong Style Won Ton ($13), Taiwanese Style Beef Noodle ($15) and Seafood Laksa ($18) are just a few of the comfort foods for which Panya’s loyal patrons have a deep affinity.
“Laksa is one of our top-sellers. It’s an authentic Malaysian-Singapore-style noodle dish,” Annie explains of this spicy seafood noodle.
Thai Style Steak Salad ($18) and Salmon Sashimi Rainbow Salad ($18) are examples of Panya’s lighter fare. Thai Style Steak Salad offers sliced grilled steak tossed in a Thai dressing with a vegetable medley of mint, basil, red onion, Chinese parsley, tomatoes and cucumbers on a bed of greens. Salmon Sashimi Rainbow Salad is refreshing for the palate, as it features salmon sashimi tossed with pickled ginger, pickled shallots, apples, cucumbers, tomatoes, ro-maine lettuce and strawberries. Won ton crisps, peanuts and sesame are the perfect accents, and the salad is dressed in Panya’s wasabi shoyu sauce.
“We plan on making some changes to the menu at some point, but for now, we’re just analyzing the needs and wants of our customers,” Annie says. “We’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
Panya Breakfast ($12), Panya Peanut Butter French Toast ($9) and Cappuccino ($4) are breakfasts of champions. And for those who wish to share a round of drinks and appetizers among friends, Annie recommends White Wine Steamed Clams ($15) and Fried Squid Leg “Geso Karaage” ($8), along with Strawberry Lemon Drop Martini ($8) and Fresh Green Apple Martini ($8).
“Everyone is happy that our sit-down restaurant is finally open again,” she states. “This can be the place where people can enjoy their favorite quality foods and drinks in a very comfortable and trendy setting. It’s the perfect place to hang out. We offer a great variety of cuisine, so everyone will find something they like.”
Panya at Hokua is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and is planning to extend its restaurant hours Fridays and Saturdays.
“We think the Kakaako area is the perfect location that will appeal to the late-night crowd,” Annie confirms, adding that people should call ahead to make reservations.
“We’re so excited about Panya at Hokua. Besides our restaurant operations, we, of course, still have our bakery, and eventually we will be housing our bake shop in the back of the house.”
When one door closes, another one opens, and Panya at Hokua is ready to take Hawaii’s dining scene by storm.
“We’re very thankful for the support of our customers, especially the local residents,” Annie says. “We work very hard to make this the ultimate destination for diners!”
Panya Bistro & Bakery
1288 Ala Moana Blvd. #116
Daily, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.