Seafood Village Chinese CuisineDigest Kitchen Insider
September 15, 2013
Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Nathalie Walker
A CLOSER LOOK AT THIS WEEK’S HOUSE SPECIAL: TEA LEAVES SMOKED JUMBO KAHUKU PRAWNS ($23.95)
For 17 years now, Seafood Village Chinese Cuisine has been adored by the likes of hungry locals, tourists, and even celebrities, who can’t get enough of its traditional Hong Kong-style fare.
With a family-friendly atmosphere and wide range of Chinese favorites to delve into, the Waikiki mainstay serves up culinary delights for any and every palate.
Above all else, Seafood Village is known for its sprawling menu of under-the-sea creations. According to executive chef Shu Chuen So, Tea Leaves Smoked Jumbo Kahuku Prawns ($23.95) is an absolute must, as its authentic preparation and fresh seafood are a quintessential examples of the best the restaurant has to offer.
Green tea leaves are the surprising, yet stand-out ingredient in this dish. Instead of steeping in a pot of hot water, fresh Ti Kuan Yin leaves from China are quickly deep fried until they are scrumptiously crunchy. While they may resemble seaweed in appearance and texture, the leaves maintain an ambrosial green tea flavor all their own. “The leaves are big and when we cook them, they become crispy and the tea has a very strong flavor,” adds So.
Tea Leaves Smoked Jumbo Kahuku Prawns is beautifully presented in a woven bamboo basket just like those traditionally found in Hong Kong, where the recipe originates from.
There’s nothing shrimpy about these jumbo prawns! Not only are they fresh and locally sourced from Kahuku, but they also highlight chef So’s talent for cooking up seafood to sizzling perfection. Plump and juicy, these sizeable prawns burst with flavor from the shoyu-based sauce they absorb during the cooking process.
“This dish is prepared traditionally,” says chef So. “It represents our Chinese restaurant and features seafood, our specialty.”
This dish gets its appetizing golden hue from an entirely delicious sauce, which features butter, soy sauce, a hint of sugar, a splash of water and the chef’s secret ingredient. It all comes together as prawns, fried tea leaves and garlic are stir fried with the sweet and savory fixings, allowing each ingredient to soak up a stream of tantalizing flavor.
Large, sliced garlic cloves are scattered throughout the prawns, adding a new layer of richness with their crisp outside and warm, soft interior. “It’s stir fried with everything so you can smell the garlic and it boosts the flavor,” says So.
Seafood Village Chinese Cuisine
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort and Spa (Ewa Tower)
2424 Kalakaua Ave., Waikiki
Daily, Lunch: 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Dinner: 5-10 p.m.