Getting Ahead with Cabbage

Columns Ono, You Know

August 17, 2014

Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Anthony Consillio

A food snob I am not. Although, as editor of this publication, I guess I should expect that some may make that assumption. But just for the record, that is as far-fetched from the truth as possible. Come on, now, I actually enjoy airplane food (especially when it consisted of entire meals that were free). Who else looks forward to the choice of chicken or meatloaf in mid-flight?

Yet, it’s difficult to ignore the hype and hoopla associated with current food trends. Gluten-free marshmallow bars, sparkly probiotic drinks, chia seeds and everything else that’s hashtag-worthy. But why kick other “boring” foods to the curb? Don’t you think that’s a little harsh?

This week, with the help of the following OYK establishments, I’m making sure that cabbage makes a comeback. “Kale hot, cabbage not?” Excuse me, kale and cabbage are in the same family. Both healthy and easy to prepare (ferment it, steam it, bake it, cook it, use it as a wrap), cabbage deserves far more attention than it’s received. And hey, cabbage should have the biggest head of all. Why? Well, ever heard of the Cabbage Patch Kids? (Props if you were a fan of these dolls back in the day). Dolls named after cabbage! That’s a big deal! But Kale Patch Kids? Nope, never heard of them.

So, without further ado, let’s count the ways in which I love cabbage.

Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant

Taking its reign in the cabbage patch is Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant in Ala Moana Center’s Hookipa Terrace. This fine-dining establishment aims to please and it succeeds, thanks to an ever-evolving menu and new concepts derived from the staff.

When informed that cabbage was on the agenda this week, owner Sylvia Ho wracked her brain — she was on a mission to serve up something extraordinary.

What resulted was three masterpieces that totally defy any assumptions made about cabbage being no more than just a garnish.

Steamed Cabbage Wrap ($14.95), inspired by the owner herself, is a food enthusiast’s dream. Steamed basa filet, thinly sliced Virginia ham and hearty black mushrooms are delicately wrapped in steamed Chinese cabbage and topped with chef’s special sauce.

The multiple components of this dish are savvy, the flavors rich, textures diverse and each piece (six total) filling.

Braised Chinese Cabbage ($13.95) boasts no ego. It’s a simple dish, humble in appearance, but exquisitely palatable. Jade Dynasty employs its homemade broth as the premiss of the flavor profile. The heart, or inner-most layer of cabbage, is immersed in the broth and absorbs every ounce of savory like a sponge. Slices of Virginia ham and white sauce accentuate the dish.

I was loving every minute of this feast, and things heated up when Home Style Stir-fried Cabbage ($13.95) entered the scene. Anything stir-fried wins points with me, but this dish is hot — sexy hot, spicy hot — just plain hot! Literally, shredded Chinese cabbage, Chinese sausage and minced pork kicked up with spicy X.O. sauce is a myriad of flavors that will have you hooked. It’s so good — especially with rice — that nuances of fresh red chili pepper, ginger and garlic never have been more attractive. Oh yeah, I fall hard for comfort food all the time.

Starting today, Jade Dynasty will offer this cool cabbage fare during lunch and dinner for a limited time.

Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant
Ala Moana Center, Hookipa Terrace

Kenny’s Restaurant

A neighborhood favorite, Kenny’s Restaurant in Kamehameha Shopping Center appeals to the inner Cabbage Patch Kid in me. Each visit to Kenny’s takes me back to my childhood, when my grandparents and I would enjoy breakfast or lunch together before paying a visit to KB Toys, where they bought me Cabbage Patch Kids. No joke. I’ve always loved cabbage.

So, if you’re also a cabbage connoisseur, stop by Kenny’s Restaurant because, for the next two weeks, the restaurant will head the cabbage craze with unbeatable deals on Stuffed Cabbage (originally $12.95, now $9.95) and Corned Beef Cabbage (originally $12.95, now $9.95).

Corned Beef Cabbage is a classic I’ll always be fond of. The long cooking process is worth all the time in the world, as tender morsels of corned beef (cut against the grain, of course) and cabbage leaves are left to simmer in peppercorn sauce, along with chunks of potatoes and carrots.

Stuffed Cabbage features seasoned ground beef nestled in a blanket of lettuce and cabbage. Set in the oven to bake in a light tomato pepper sauce, the zest is locked in and ready to be enjoyed with rice and a side of steamed vegetables.

Kenny’s Restaurant
Kamehameha Shopping Center
1620 N. School St.

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