Chinese Cuisine with a Dash of Local Flair

Columns Foodie Fare

November 10, 2013

Story By: Christina O Connor | Photos by: Nathalie Walker

When restaurateurs Kenneth and Jennifer Chan opened Little Village Noodle House in 2001, their new venture was uncharted territory. They aimed to blend various types of Chinese cuisine, which they felt was something that was lacking in the market at the time. Plus, Chinatown was not the bustling place it is today. Despite any potential setbacks, the food spoke for itself, and Little Village thrived.

Throughout the years, one customer favorite has been the Salt and Pepper Pork Chop ($10.25). Another popular item is the Free Range Cold Ginger Chicken ($10.95), which features tender white meat served with a tasty sauce comprised of ginger, scallion and green onion.

“This is a well-known local dish,” says Little Village vice president David Chang. “The chicken is very tender and juicy.”

While the cuisine largely gets its influence from Northern China, Chang explains that they have also modified a lot of dishes to fit in with local and American tastes. One such dish is the Sizzling Short Rib (Kalbi) ($14.95), which features hearty short ribs bathed in a perfectly sweet combination of shoyu, sugar, garlic, ginger and wine.

“This is a local favorite, and I do sell a lot of it,” he says. “And people like the sauce a lot.”

In an effort to keep pace with its customers’ tastes, Little Village constantly is trying to update its menu and ingredients. For example, Little Village recently brought in snow peas, and one dish that utilizes the ingredient is Snow Pea with Beef Stir Fry ($12.95).

“The snow peas are something that are new for the restaurant,” Chang says. “We do cater to a lot of vegetarians here, so we are trying to have more dishes to serve to them.” He adds that guests can substitute other ingredients for the beef to have something that fits in with their diet.

Right now, Little Village has a deal centered around this dish. For every $35 you spend on food, Snow Pea with Beef Stir Fry costs $2.50. The deal continues through the rest of November.

On the Side

“When we first built this restaurant, we felt that there was not a good Chinese restaurant that catered to us,” Little Village vice president David Chang explains. “So we started this restaurant because it was the type of food that we wanted for ourselves.”

Chang says that there had been a lack of Northern Chinese cuisine at the time.

“In Northern Chinese cuisine, there is typically less sauce, less gravy,” he explains. “In the market, there is usually a lot of Cantonese cuisine. So at that time, we were very unique.”

Chang got his start in the industry by building restaurants from the ground up, literally. Trained as an engineer, Chang formerly worked as a contractor. He got a contract to build Chan’s Chinese Buffet and later partnered with the owners to open Little Village Noodle House.

Since its opening, Little Village has been a crowd pleaser, winning several honors including the Ilima Award from the Honolulu Advertiser in 2002.

Contact Christina O’Connor at diningout@staradvertiser.com

Little Village Noodle House

1113 Smith St., Chinatown
Monday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m.;
Friday-Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.

Honolulu, HI 96817

Ilima Awards
Hawaii's Best