Order’s Up in this House!

Columns Veg'n Out

March 30, 2014

Story By: Andy Beth Miller | Photos by: Nathalie Walker

Way back in 1974, with just one suitcase in hand, $100 to their names and a determined dream, a young couple journeyed from China to Honolulu — and what was born from that humble beginning has grown into a now healthy and thriving Oahu eatery. After diligently saving for 10 years, Kenneth and Jennifer Chan were able to open their first foray into the culinary world — a 30 seat, pocket-sized noshery nestled unassumingly in the University district of Honolulu. Since that time, word of mouth spread across the island, garnering the restaurant rave reviews as well as a faithful foodie following.

Fast-forward to 2014, and Little Village Noodle House, the couple’s third venture, is alive and well — warming the bellies of businessmen and bohemians alike. Situated in the heart of Chinatown, the restaurant is a small and intimate establishment that since its opening in 2001, has been delighting the Downtown scene with delicious Northern-style Chinese cuisine.

“Our dishes are more spicy and bold than average Chinese food,” explains manager David Chang. “We use less sauce so that the flavor and freshness of the ingredients are what shine.”

And not only does Little Village desist from drowning its dishes in oil, it proudly assures patrons that no MSG (or any other unnatural accoutrement) is added to any of its entrees. “MSG is a chemical additive to enhance flavor,” says Chang. “Our flavor comes from only natural ingredients, such as ginger and garlic.” Now, that’s en-LITE-ning!

Featured this week are these mouth-watering morsels:

• Ma Po Tofu ($10.50). Tofu cubes simmered in a rich, soybean paste put this meal on the map — and all points lead to Pleasantville. “This is our most popular and commonly ordered vegetarian dish,” says Chang. “It is simple and delicious.”

• Shiitake Mushroom Choi Sum ($12.95). A seasonal special, featuring steamed choi sum topped with braised shiitake mushroom and delicately dusted with an oyster sauce that really makes the dish shine. This entree is exceptional in health benefits and anti-oxidants as well.

• Tofu with Mixed Vegetable Fried Noodle ($9.50). Stir-fried tofu and crispy pan-fried noodles meet mixed vegetables in a mouth-watering merge made possible by a perfectly applied soy-based gravy. And this isn’t that Southern-style gravy that I grew up with — that stick-to-your-ribs, bust-a-gut and nap-for-days-thereafter gravy! Rather, it is a barely-there blanket of soy that caresses the cuisine for just that right consistency.

Built by family and fueled by great tasting, quality food, Little Village Noodle House has developed a winning recipe for success — one seasoned over time with the incomparable ingredients of dedication, diligence and sheer drive.

And while you should bring your street savvy and bargain-huntin’ noggin’ to the nearby Chinatown markets, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize what a great find this yummy little house is — just use your noodle and follow your nose — your tummy will take it from there.

Contact Andy Beth Miller 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

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best