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Jan 10, 2008 05:09 PM

Little Village Noodle House: Oahu's best Chinese?

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

    Can you speak to the dim sum scene?


    2 Replies
    1. re: LPM

      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

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

        Have not dine there, but appreciate your comments.


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

          1. 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

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

            2. 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

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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

                        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.