The perfect hostCover Story
February 11, 2019
Story By: Caroline Wright | Photos by: File Photos
Finding a good location for a party on Oahu is almost as exciting as discovering a secret beach on a crowded island. So, let your emotions flow because there’s a spot that serves as a wonderful venue for any celebration — The Mandalay. “We have everything you need to make your party successful,” says Larry Chan, owner of The Mandalay. “We have it all.”
Located in the heart of downtown Honolulu, The Mandalay couldn’t be more central. The handsome building, with a limestone and tile mural of a sweeping ocean wave, is easy to find, tucked between Alii Place and Central Pacific Plaza. And parking with validation is free after 5 p.m. on weekdays, and all day Saturday and Sunday at Bishop Square right across the street.
Inside, the decor is elegant and subtle, with subdued lighting, crimson tablecloths, etched glass doors and porcelain vases. And the restaurant features a small but fully stocked bar.
“We’ve had events with up to 400 people,” notes Chan, “but we cater to groups of any size, we have separate, smaller private rooms to choose from.”
The restaurant is equipped to host large gatherings, as it can provide a stage, sound system, and state-of-theart audio/video equipment, with an expert to run them.
“The Mandalay isn’t an ordinary Chinese restaurant, it’s modernized and upgraded,” Chan says. “Our banquet services (managed by Chan’s wife Linda) are great for any occasion, and we can work with your budget.”
Whenever possible, the restaurant accommodates parties beyond the regular 8 p.m. closing time.
“For private functions, we can work with customers who want to stay later,” Chan adds. “You can’t ask people to leave when they’re having fun.”
A scrumptious selection of dishes may be found on The Mandalay’s regular menu, and many are also on its lunch and dinner banquet menus. These include Shrimp with Honey Walnut ($19.95), a generous portion of walnuts and shrimp, lightly battered and fried. Peking Duck with Buns ($20 half, $38 whole) is another crisp and fragrant choice that is served with pillowy steamed buns and plum sauce.
Beef with Bitter Melon ($13.95) can be made with pork or chicken, if preferred. BBQ Pork Char Siu ($19.95), which serves up to four diners, requires a day’s advance notice to order. The secret of this delicious dish is a long period of marination.
“It’s a specialty of our chef, and everybody raves over it,” says Chan. “It can also be ordered for banquets or in larger portions for bigger parties.”
Another special item that requires a day’s advance notice is Golden Crispy Chicken ($45 whole chicken), a delicious revelation that is succu-lent and tender. And Mixed Seafood with Vegetables in Taro Basket ($21 small, $48 large) features a handmade shredded taro nest, which is deep-fried and filled with shrimp, calamari, scallops, fish and seasonal vegetables.
Friendly and accommodating, with an extensive menu of fine Chinese cuisine, The Mandalay is a wonderful location for a romantic dinner for two or a joyous celebration with hundreds of friends and family members — and everything in between.
Find Fresh Dim Sum
As quaint as they may seem, dim sum carts have disappeared from many Chinese restaurants. The Mandalay is no exception. “We used to have carts, but times are changing,” explains owner Larry Chan, who says most restaurants in China have eliminated them as well. “Our dim sum is made by hand daily and steamed to order to keep everything fresh as possible.” More than 30 di~ erent items, ranging in price from $2.95-$6.95, are available from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Just mauka of its Alakea Street entrance, The Mandalay has a small lunch counter, beloved by folks who work in town and have quick lunch breaks. The Mandalay Express offers one, two or three delicious choices for $6.95-$8.95, with fried rice, chow mein or chow funn for starch options. Some entree selections up for grabs are orange chicken, steamed ° sh ° llet, beef broccoli, stir-fried vegetables and beef curry.