Mandalay offers rare Hakka-style cuisine

A La Carte Columns

July 9, 2017

Story By: Caroline Wright | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO

Boneless Spare Ribs in Vinaigrette Marinade ($13.95)

With little in the way of added garnishing or seasoning, Hakka-style Chinese cuisine seems deceptively simple at first glance.

But with this particular culinary style, the focus is on texture enhancement and the development of savory flavors.

One of the best examples is yán jú ji, or Baked Salt Chicken, a beloved dish from the Hakka heartlands in Guangdong Province. “It’s famous in Hong Kong and Southern China,” says Wilfred Leung of The Mandalay, Honolulu’s legendary Chinese restaurant. “Chefs have to be skillful to do it right.”

Deep-Fried Chicken Wings with Sweet Chili Sauce ($12.95)

Indeed, the dish is hardly found outside private homes, even in China, because its traditional preparation is such a complex process, requiring sha jiang fen, or sand ginger powder, and several pounds of coarse sea salt.

However, The Mandalay is presently featuring this traditional Hakka dish for just $30 for a whole chicken to share with the table, family-style.

Also featured this week: Boneless Spare Ribs in Vinaigrette Marinade ($13.95), basted in a light vinaigrette, then sautéed in a wok, as well as Deep-Fried Chicken Wings with Sweet Chili Sauce ($12.95). “We make the chili sauce ourselves,” says Leung, assistant to Mandalay co-owner and banquet organizer Linda Chan. “There are eight wings per order, enough to share with a friend.”

Baked Salt Chicken ($30 for whole chicken)

Great to share with one friend, or a couple hundred! If you’re looking for a wonderful spot to host weddings, birthdays, baby showers, professional events or any celebration, The Mandalay is an elegant choice. Especially perfect for a late graduation party (ask about special prices for graduation bashes), the restaurant can host 350 guests on two levels, and offers televisions, projectors, screens and a sound system to help create an unforgettable event.

If you’d prefer to host an event at your own location, The Mandalay provides off-site catering. “We bring giant woks and enormous steamer baskets!” says Leung.

The Mandalay

1055 Alakea St., Downtown Honolulu
Daily, 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m.

Honolulu, HI 96813

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