It’s a family affair

Columns Veg'n Out

July 20, 2014

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

North Carolina born and bred, I was raised in a region very similar to Hawaii in its love and affinity for family everything. With family reunions, family photos and especially family-style dining, you could say that the fondness for all da kine kin reaches across all borders — all the way from the dairy farms to the taro fields.

And no better example of this far-reaching family appeal is the popping up of family-owned establishments just like Hung Won Seafood Restaurant, a Kaimuki kitchen created by Kevin Li and (you guessed it) family. Back in March, when Li and his two uncles opened the doors of Hung Won Seafood Restaurant, they had one main goal in mind — to serve up authentic Cantonese-style cuisine consisting of only the highest quality ingredients.

“We had a simple goal when we opened the restaurant,” explains co-owner Kevin Li. “It was simply to run a good business, with good food and good service.”

Serving a delectable and diverse menu of upscale offerings, Li and company have enjoyed nearly four months of catering to Kaimuki’s hungry clientele — with no slow-down in sight.

“We are steadily growing clientele,” notes Li. “People are beginning to find out that we are new owners and new management, and are coming in to try us out, and allowing us to earn their trust.”

And while some may not think of typical Chinese cuisine as the healthiest of fare, Hung Won Seafood is more than happy to break away from the stereotypical sauce-laden selections, offering a more health-conscious menu that features less oil and seasonings. So join Dining Out this week, as we lighten things up over these delicious Hung Won dishes:

Jai ($8.95) is one of my favorite dishes because of not only its flavor, but also its rich history. A vegetarian concoction consisting of black mushroom, Chinese bok choy, rice noodle, fried bean curd, water chestnut and brown sauce, Jai is traditionally served on the first day of the Chinese New Year, to bring good luck.

“I have great memories of the first day of Chinese New Year — my mom would make this dish for us,” recalls Li. “It is still one of my favorites.”

Tofu & Eggplant in Garlic Sauce ($8.95), featuring fried tofu, eggplant, bamboo shoots, shredded black mushroom and a hint of red bell pepper, is a simple dish with just that perfect kick of spice.

Stir Fried Mix Vegetable ($7.95) brings together the good old basics of broccoli, choi sum and bok choy in a warm and just-rich-enough white garlic sauce.

Sampling these savory items, I taste the harmony and blending of ingredients — it’s music to my mouth. So good, in fact, that Sly & the Family Stone couldn’t have said (or sung) it better — when it comes to gathering together for good eats and a friendly neighborhood feel, Hung Won Seafood more than delivers, making any feast enjoyed here a delicious “family affair.”

Contact Andy Beth Miller at diningout@staradvertiser.com

Hung Won Seafood Restaurant

3434 Waialae Ave., Honolulu
Open daily, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Honolulu, HI 96816

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