Welcome the New Year With Cantonese FavoritesCover Story Features
January 22, 2017
Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
If you’re looking for the right spot to gather your loved ones for a special reunion dinner to ring in the Year of the Fire Rooster, House of Wong Restaurant promises to heat things up come Jan. 28 and the subsequent celebratory weeks.
“Chinese New Year is a time for family reunions to celebrate and welcome the new year,” says co-owner Michael Wang, who works hard to offer high-quality dining experiences for such occasions. “We have really authentic Chinese cuisine for a reasonable price.”
Whether celebrating Chinese New Year or simply enjoying lunch or dinner throughout the year, ohanas feel right at home at the Cantonese eatery, considering the kitchen and management teams themselves are like one big family. Prior to opening House of Wong on Kapahulu Avenue two years ago, the culinary crew built a solid relationship while working together for 29 years at a former Chinese restaurant in Waikiki.
“Our staff here has stayed together for a long time and we work like a family; we care about each other, so we’re really fortunate,” shares Wang. The camaraderie between him and fellow co-owners Joe Wong and Ryan Wang also can be seen in the pride they take in creating an above-average dining space. “This is a very clean and comfortable environment — we pay attention to detail. We don’t just want to bring customers here, we want to make the dining room comfortable and enjoyable for them.”
The knowledgeable staff also pours its decades of training into the flavorful menu. The cooks have honed their skills preparing best-sellers like Dungeness Crab with Spicy Salt & Pepper ($23.95 per pound), which requires impeccable timing and technique when frying the Chinese five spice-accented seafood. “The recipe is simple and straightforward, but when you go to deep fry the crab, that experience makes a really big difference,” says Wang.
Honey Glazed Spare Ribs ($15.95 per order), House of Wong’s signature menu item, also keeps customers coming back for more. Thanks to a well-seasoned honey marinade, the roasted spare ribs are flavorful without being too sweet. “That’s a really popular one, particularly with our local market and local Chinese market,” Wang explains.
When it comes to planning your Chinese New Year feast, be sure to include vegetarian New Year Jai ($11.95) available through the holiday and 15 days thereafter) in your selections. One of the meanings behind this customary holiday dish is longevity, which is represented by never-ending strands of long rice. Additionally, veggies and black fungus in the dish help to cleanse the body.
Finish off your celebratory meal with Mango Fish ($21.95; one day preorder recommended) jelly dessert. “We’re one of the few restaurants to make the mango dessert in a fish shape. Fish is a symbol for abundance, so it’s a very popular item during the new year. Sometimes we have people come here just to eat it because they’ve never seen a dessert like that,” says Wang.
According to him, there’s no better place to enjoy the holiday. “We want to thank our customers for their support and we wish them ‘Kung Hee Fat Choy,’ the Chinese term for Happy New Year. We also wish them good health, good fortune and prosperity,” says Wang.
GET THE PARTY STARTED
The next time you’re looking to host a special occasion, consider doing so at House of Wong Restaurant.
With room for 100-110 guests, the clean and well-maintained eatery plays host to exclusive wedding receptions, graduation parties, baby showers, business functions and more.
According to co-owner Michael Wang, guests may customize party details such as table settings. And when choosing the perfect menu for the event, they can select from five party menus ranging in price from $199 to $399 per table of 10.
The menu priced at $399 per table is especially popular for weddings, Wang says, and features Sauteed Fresh Scallops and Chicken with Greens, Live Maine Lobsters, Golden Crispy Chicken, six other entrees as well as dessert.
House of Wong Restaurant
477 Kapahulu Ave., Kapahulu
Daily, 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Parking: In addition to the small lot located behind House of Wong, guests may park at First Hawaiian Bank close by after bank hours, and there is plenty of street parking along Kapahulu Avenue (free after 6 p.m.). Additionally, the restaurant validates parking in the basement of Hee Hing Plaza nearby.