Savory Skewer SelectionsCover Story
January 28, 2024
Story By: Dining Out Team | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo
Fiona Yang, co-founder of Khan Skewer Restaurant, knows a thing or two about Mongolian cuisine. She is of Mongolian descent after all, and was born and raised in Qinghai, China. Her goal with opening the late-night Moiliili restaurant is “to promote and carry forward Mongolian food culture,” which is reflected in the establishment’s name and “bears witness to true Mongolian history and taste.”
Diners are sure to have their skewer cravings satiated with the wide array the eatery boasts, including choices such as beef, lamb (Yang’s favorite), pork, chicken, venison, seafood and vegetables.
Skewers are made and served on the same day to provide optimal freshness, and are complemented by two types of dips: a sweet, acidic, slightly spicy pineapple chile and a Xinjiang-style blend of spices including Sichuan peppercorns.
We had the chance to speak with Yang to learn more about Khan Skewer Restaurant, and its bestselling items and special deals.
DO: What was the inspiration behind the restaurant?
YY: Mongolian-style skewers can be traced back to the period of Genghis Khan. Khan asked his chef to take the war horses slayed in battle and slice their meat into small pieces and grill them with a variety of Mongolian spices in order to feed the hungry soldiers during wartime.
Soldiers then placed the meat on their shields above bonfires to keep it heated in the cold weather. In keeping with that history, we keep dishes warm by placing food on iron plates heated by candles below.
DO: Can you describe the ambiance and decor? Is there anything unique about it?
YY: Our design is Asian-fusion style, but we include our traditional color red. Due to the Mongolian people’s worship complex for fire, red has become a symbol of burning fire, thinking that red indicates warmth and kindness. For generations of Mongolians living on the grassland, fire is a very important part of daily life. It’s like the roaring bonfire and the fire in the yurt; believing that the brighter the fire, the better, which indicates prosperity for generations to come.
DO: What are your bestselling items?
YY: Our Lamb Skewers ($8.99 for three skewers, $12.99 for five skewers) and Beef Tongue ($9.99 for three skewers, $13.99 for five skewers), which is a wagyu beef tongue. Another bestselling dish is our chef special, Crawfish with Ramen ($28.99), which pairs spicy crawfish and 13 traditional Chinese spices.
DO: What are some unique items that can be found on the menu?
YY: We want to incorporate more local, fresh Hawaiian ingredients. So we do have Kona Live Abalone ($18.99 for two pieces), Maui Venison ($9.99 for three skewers; $13.99 for five skewers) and also a pineapple dipping sauce.
DO: Does Khan Skewer Restaurant have any current/ seasonal specials?
YY: We have happy hour every day after 9 p.m., during which all food items from the menu are 10% off (excluding alcohol).
Also, on Feb. 9-16, we are going to have a seasonal special to celebrate the Chinese spring festival. For this event, we will have red envelopes and a lucky draw promotion (one per table for those who dine-in only). Also, we will serve free dumplings at each table.