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Aug 7, 2010 11:01 PM

Regional Chinese in Honolulu?

My experience in Honolulu is that the Chinese restaurants are just OK, but don't compare to San Francisco or SGV. Well, here I am visiting again and hankering for some decent Chinese food that is not just the same worn out Cantonese menu from every tourist trap. The ideal would be a place that has good soup dumplings, but I'd settle for decent Shanghainese, Hunan, Hakka, Sichuan, anybody?
Or, a great Cantonese place that has something other than the standard fare.
Mahalo in advance.

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  1. Soup dumplings on Oahu? "Du ar ju optimist!" as the Swedes say. You might try offering #44 (clam w/ egg,meat, and basil) at Moon Garden (580 N. Vineyard Blvd., open 10:30-9:00 daily), but it will be better during an off period when the chef has time to prepare it properly. The pea shoots are nice too, if they have them.

    Moon Garden Restaurant
    578 N Vineyard Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96817

    7 Replies
    1. re: Joebob

      Tai Pan in Chinatown sometimes has XLB as part of their dim sum, but I've never had them.

      It's definitely a Cantonese centered cuisine, but I think the Cantonese roast meats in Honolulu are superior to many in California, possibly because of the laxer health enfrocement in HI (that is, things can remain at room temperature for longer), so I always go to Nam Fong for duck and Wing Loy for char siu and roast port (both on Maunakea in Chinatown), but they are certainly Cantonese standard fare.

      1. re: Joebob


        Have you been to Ming's in Dillingham (next to McDonald's)? If you're talking about the dumplings with the soup inside (my friend's call them shanghai dumplings), the one's here are really good. I have a couple of Chinese friends who really like them. This was the first place I tried them, and I thought they were terrific! I believe Mei Sum also serves them, but they weren't as good.

        1. re: Jazzaloha

          Do you mean Ming's Canton Food (1000 Kam. Hwy.)? Maybe checking the box will tell me where that is. If not, where is that?

          1. re: Joebob

            MIng's Chinese Restaurant
            1414 Dillingham Blvd.

            It's off of Waiakamilo. Do you know where the Original Pancake House is in Kalihi (Dillingham)? It's in the same strip mall. Let me know if you try it. (They also have some pretty unusual (hardcore) Chinese dishes there. I think I saw grubs on the menu.)

            The Original Pancake House
            1414 Dillingham Blvd Ste 107, Honolulu, HI 96817

            1. re: Jazzaloha


              I spoke to my friend about some other items to try at Ming's:

              The black sesame mochi, which comes in a kind of cold "soup." (I'm pretty sure my friend said to ask for the "ginger" version of the soup.)

              Also, the mochi (oblong slivers) dish that's basically like a noodle dish, except they use mochi. My friend didn't remember the dish, but check on the menu for something similar.

              Let me know if you try these, as I haven't tried them yet.

              1. re: Jazzaloha

                I'm not a great fan of mochi. Is your friend Japanese? Why would the second dish be better than noodles?

                1. re: Joebob

                  No, the friend that likes this is a first generation Chinese from SF. Btw, I don't know if you're familiar with the type of "mochi" I'm referring to here. These aren't the dessert type of mochi, but thin, oblong shaped slivers. I usually see them in hot pot soups. If you don't like this, then it probably wouldn't be better than noodles. (Personally, I'm intrigued because I've never had this type of mochi in a noodle dish.)

      2. P.S. The waikiki Marriot has a pretty good Chinese rest. in the basement, but it is what I would call expensive.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Joebob

          Thanks for the replies. As it turns out, I won't be able to seek out interesting Chinese food because I couldn't convince the rest of my party to try it and we're running out of nights. I really wanted to try Moon Garden, but maybe next time.
          We did get sushi at Yanagi, which overall I thought was very good.

        2. Try out Mini Garden on Beretania or Harbor Village Cuisine at Koko Marina shopping center in Hawaii Kai. Both run by recent Hong Kong immigrants, both way better than the generally mediocre Chinese eateries in Hawaii.

          Harbor Village Cuisine
          7192 Kalanianaole Hwy Ste C123, Honolulu, HI 96825