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Little Village Noodle House: Oahu's best Chinese?

j
Joebob Jan 10, 2008 05:09 PM

Honolulu mag. just said it was, so we thought we would check it out and were favorably impressed. The clams in black bean sauce, though a small portion, were the best we have had here: plump, tender (so not overcooked), and not gritty. My dried beef noodles also were good. The bean sprouts still had the ends on (Does anyone take them off any more?) and were nicely crispy, so, again, not overcooked, and most of the noodles were separated from each other. Probably the best we have had, but we have not tried all the Chinese rests. on Oahu. What do the Oahu hounds say?

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  1. LPM RE: Joebob Jan 11, 2008 11:09 AM

    I'm making a note of this place for my trip in 3 weeks.

    Can you speak to the dim sum scene?

    LPM

    2 Replies
    1. re: LPM
      j
      Joebob RE: LPM Jan 11, 2008 04:17 PM

      Though they may not be "the best", we've had good Dim Sum at both Legend and Tai Pan, both in Chinatown. Legend also has a branch in Waikiki with Dim Sum for lunch. I know it opens at 10:30 because I grabbed some dim sum then to eat at the airport before a flight out.

      1. re: LPM
        KaimukiMan RE: LPM Jan 12, 2008 10:00 AM

        Legend (both locations) and Tai Pan are both good. Also in the Chinatown area is Mei Sum, very good. Near Ala Moana are Panda Cuisine 2nd Floor at 641 Keeamoku, across from Wall Mart (not to be confused with Panda Express). Royal Garden in the Ala Moana Hotel is also pretty good. Happy Days in Kaimuki has good Dim-Sum till early afternoon.

        If you want more "local style" try the Maunapua at either Libby Manapua in Kalihi, Char Hung Sut on Pauahi St. Downtown, or Royal Kitchen at Beretania and River - Royal Kitchen have baked rather than steamed manapua. All these places are pretty much take-out. I have also heard that Island Manapua is good, but have never had their stuff. Many of the 7-11's here have manapua, but in general its not so great - imho.

      2. Bill Hunt RE: Joebob Jan 11, 2008 07:23 PM

        I do not fool with my sprouts, but just eat them, as presented.

        Have not dine there, but appreciate your comments.

        Hunt

        1. j
          Joebob RE: Joebob Jan 13, 2008 04:07 PM

          We seem to be drifting off-track re. the principal Q. Anyone willing to return to it?

          1. KaimukiMan RE: Joebob Jan 14, 2008 03:27 AM

            to return to the original question, yes... little village is very good. Other popular chinese places include Happy Day in Kaimuki, OnOn in McCully (slightly more local, not as much "Hong Kong" style), Royal Garden in the AlaMoana Hotel, Kirin near University(more northern chinese), Asia Manoa in Manoa, and Hee Hing in Kapahulu. The Mandalay is new downtown (in the old YongSing space), I've not been but heard it is good. Fook Yuen has a good reputation, i thought it was OK, but not all that, certainly not a place to avoid. In Waikiki Lau Yee Chai is supposed to be good, but I haven't been in years. Legend also has a restaurant in Waikiki, best known for dim sum, but the other menu items are good.

            and there are many many smaller places known best by the local crowd, but probably not in the "best" of Honolulu list.

            1 Reply
            1. re: KaimukiMan
              j
              Joebob RE: KaimukiMan Jan 14, 2008 11:06 AM

              Thanks much, KM. We did try Hee Hing once and thought it good, but not VERY good.

            2. c
              curiousgeo RE: Joebob Jan 14, 2008 12:31 PM

              Of the restaurants listed so far, Legend and Royal Garden are my two favorites for dim sum. I like Asia Manoa a lot too. It's a very good neighborhood Chinese restaurant, not out of this world cuisine but very solid. It seems to have found a good local niche, strictly BYOB there.

              I don't think much of Mei Sum or Happy Days, which I kind of rank as 2nd or 3rd rate places (one of the few things I disagree with KaimukiMan on), but they do have their fan base. Is it my imagination, but has Char Hung Sut gone downhill? I tasted some of their manapua, half moon, pork hash, etc., and it seems to have really gotten bad recently.

              5 Replies
              1. re: curiousgeo
                KaimukiMan RE: curiousgeo Jan 14, 2008 02:34 PM

                I would probably agree that not all of those are on par with Little Village, but I have heard people who were not all that impressed there either. I go to church in Kaimuki, the women from church tend to prefer happy day (it does have a reasonably nice ambiance), the men tend to prefer Duk Kee a couple of blocks further up on 12th ave. But they rarely order off the menu.

                1. re: KaimukiMan
                  j
                  Joebob RE: KaimukiMan Jan 17, 2008 04:03 PM

                  I forgot to mention one thing I particularly liked at Little Village: we asked the waitress for indications of the most popular dishes ordered by Chinese patrons. She replied with a short list. I asked "What about the green onion pancakes? (to which I am partial). She replied that they were not so popular because her Chinese patrons could make them at home! One of the rare times a Chinese waitperson responded honestly to this paleface IMO.

                  1. re: KaimukiMan
                    c
                    Clinton RE: KaimukiMan Jan 17, 2008 05:06 PM

                    I've never had dim sum at Happy Days but my cousin says it's pretty decent. She always goes to Duk Kee for lunch and sometimes gets the jai (monks food) which she likes. Had a family reunion dinner there in November and ordered off the family style menu which was very good. Had this deep fried tofu which was different for me but very tasty. Do you go to St. Patrick's in Kaimuki? That's my old parish and alma mater.

                    1. re: Clinton
                      KaimukiMan RE: Clinton Jan 17, 2008 07:08 PM

                      A few of us went to Duk Kee between servcies on Christmas Eve (no, not St. Pats, Epiphany on Harding-Episcopal). Really good cake noodles and a whole lot of other stuff. Was hard to stay awake for midnight mass.

                      1. re: KaimukiMan
                        c
                        curiousgeo RE: KaimukiMan Jan 17, 2008 09:33 PM

                        I sometimes order the fried rice and beef choy sum combo from Duk Kee, one of their specials of the week. It's a very generous serving, around $6. I figure the choy sum offsets the fried rice, kind of a trade off health wise, at least that's how I justify ordering it.

                2. KaimukiMan RE: Joebob Jan 17, 2008 10:55 PM

                  A friend happened to take me to Little Village tonight. Had the Lettuce Wraps, Taro Duck (not on the menu), the salty pork chop, and fried rice. All was excellent. The Taro Duck came out looking almost like an oblong pita loaf, with duck stuffed inside. Yumm

                  1. m
                    macaraca RE: Joebob Jan 20, 2008 05:13 PM

                    Little Village is our favorite...Chicken-Chive Potstickers always come first, then Seafood with Crispy Cake Noodles, and the best Honey-Walnut Shrimp in town.

                    Never been thrilled with Hee Hing, although they always win local votes. Legend's dim sum is highly regarded, but Mei Sum is not as huge, so its much easier to get served, and they offer dim sum from 7 am!

                    Lau Yee Chai was a local favorite for decades, but now located on the 5th floor of the Waikiki Shopping Plaza, advertise themselves as "The World's Most Beautiful Chinese Restaurant" (not World's BEST!)...they survive on tourist walk-ins and groups.

                    Panda on Ke'eaumoku opposite WalMart is usually reliable, and open late, with good dim sum available evenings, usually to order, not on a cart.

                    Kirin on Beretania is quite good (don't let the "Japanese" name fool you) - Golden Crispy Chicken a must, and they have a small, pleasant place ground level Ala Moana Shopping Center which is very busy at lunch. This location offers lunch dim sum to order...worth waiting for! A but more expensive than in Chinatown or the neighborhoods, but perhaps the best reasonable sit-down meal at the mega shopping center.

                    Have not tried Asia Manoa for several years after a disastrous Braised Noodle disappointment, but they are always busy, and seem to do a huge takeout business.

                    Sorry to report that Shanghai Bistro in Waikiki has closed...excellent lunchtime dim sum to order now only a pleasant memory.

                    1. LPM RE: Joebob Jan 21, 2008 11:50 AM

                      Can anyone speak to the Golden Dragon at the Hilton Village? Any good? I'm thinking of going there on my first night. After an all-day flight from North Carolina, I may not have the energy to venture from the conference hotel.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: LPM
                        y
                        Yoshio RE: LPM Jan 21, 2008 02:35 PM

                        You'll need to get there by Feb. 3 as the restaurant is closing its doors after dinner service that night. It's the end of an era at HHV.

                        1. re: Yoshio
                          manomin RE: Yoshio Jan 21, 2008 05:46 PM

                          Oh! Boo Hoo! I took a cooking class with Steve Chiang and his recipes, skills and humor were amazing! Maybe I'll have to leave my house at night for a change!

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