High on the ‘Peking’ Order

Columns What's for Lunch?

March 2, 2014

Story By: Rachel Breit | Photos by: Rachel Breit

Peking duck is one bird Chinese chefs get persnickety about, and for good reason. Prized for its crisp, thin skin, the duck requires careful preparation to achieve its golden gleam. Anticipating a craving? Call Royal Garden Chinese Restaurant to place your order at least one day in advance.

The restaurant serves the duck straight from the oven, so it’s sure to land on the table at its peak of perfection to be eaten immediately in steamed buns with plum sauce and crunchy celery. Here’s a tidbit to pique your interest: for the month of March, Peking Ducks, regularly priced at $50, are $25.

The attention to detail and quality are what set Royal Garden apart and keeps customers flocking back. Owner Calvin Wong shines with pride when he hears customers tell him his restaurant makes the best version of their favorite dish. Take a gander at the menu and you’ll discover, besides duck, that many more morsels wait.

Why not delight in dim sum ($3.25 to $3.65) delicacies for your daily meal? The hand-made bundles deliver endless variety and provide a quick pick-me-up that’s ideal for lunch.

All the regulars are on the dim sum menu, ready to be uncovered from individual steam baskets: pork shu mai, shrimp gau, seafood gau and more. The plump savories are crucial, but save room for the sweet. The egg white tart’s coconut-infused custard baked into flaky crust and fluffy Malay sponge cake are worth indulging in. When it comes to the Malay cake, this is one such dish customers tell Wong that Royal Garden makes the best.

Brochette Fresh Kahuku Shrimp ($19.95), in the same vein with shrimp gau, includes a touch of “surf.” Skewered, then deep-fried, the shrimp get their flavor from shoyu and black pepper marinade. “That’s why they’re so tasty,” says Wong. Serving them on a stick helps too. It’s easier to peel the one dozen juicy head-on shrimp, and who doesn’t like food on a stick, especially when it’s fresh from the North Shore?

Another type of “see” food, Sizzling Short Rib with Bell Pepper and Onion Black Bean Sauce ($18.95), cooks right in front of you on a piping-hot cast iron plate. Wong, whose favorite cut of beef is short ribs, simply describes the boneless cut as “Mmmm.” The tender, marbled cubes sear in a traditional black bean sauce.

Last but not least, Minced Pork with Chinese Sausage and Spinach ($16.95) combines lap cheong with pork — a match made in hog heaven. Spinach adds a layer of texture and juiciness to the smoky, barbecue-tasting meat. The crumble goes well in a lettuce wrap or over rice.

Royal Garden Chinese Restaurant

Ala Moana Hotel, Third floor
410 Atkinson Drive, Honolulu
Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5:30-9:30 p.m.

Honolulu, HI 96814

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best