Inexpensive Chinese Banquet in Honolulu
Our family will be visiting Honolulu in June and I'm looking for an inexpensive place in Honolulu that can serve traditional, banquet-style Chinese dishes for a small group (8-10 people). Decor is not important, but quality and price are. We would be ordering traditional delicacies such as bird's nest soup, peking duck, abalone, etc. We also speak Chinese if that helps.
Our hotel is in Waikiki but we will have rental cars. So far I've read suggestions for Happy Days and Hee Hing in Kaimuki, as well as Legend and Golden Palace in Chinatown. Are there any hole-in-the-wall joints that are capable of whipping up a good Chinese banquet? I've read of a place called Moon Garden in Kalihi but wasn't sure exactly what their kitchen was capable of.
Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
You might check with Ming's Chinese Rest. (1414 Dillingham Blvd. #101, tel. 808-841-8889). They are fairly traditional/authentic, serving Shanghai-style food (including shao loong bao). The place has more seats at large, round tables than at tables with corners.
you might check with Duk-Kee in Kaimuki, a couple of blocks from Happy Day. The women at the church I go to like happy day for the atmosphere and the food, the men like Duk Kee for the food. More the old kine chinese restaurant without any of the trappings. if you want to have an excuse to get out of wakikiki and drive... Pah-keh's in Kaneohe is a local favorite. I would also check On-On restaurant at McCully and Young, not far from waikiki, Kirin on Beretania near University (more upscale but a favorite among Hong Kong Chinese here.) Little Village Noodle House is in Chinatown, again more upscale, but reasonable.
I would add Kirin on Beretania to K Man's recs...they have private rooms and the food is excellent...not a hole in the wall or inexpensive, but a very good value for delicious food. Can't share the widespread popular enthusiasm for Hee Hing, which never gets props here.
Friends recently gave me a surprise b'day dinner at Maple Garden-Yen King. They also have a small private room, and ordering our favorites from the a la carte menu was great...avoid the buffet, though.
After many years of wondering, we finally stopped into Hung Won on Waialae for lunch.."the oldest Chinese Restaurant in Kaimuki," or so they claim. Not tiny, but maybe fits the hole-in-the-wall category, extensive menu, and prices are very reasonable, but not the quality of Little Village or Kirin.
I don't know if Legend has private rooms or not. The food is very good, but it is a huge place and the dining room is loud and impersonal, and not where I would want to go for a nice family celebration, but if you speak Chinese, you may enjoy the loud and hectic environment more than I would.
My recommendation would be Happy Day in Kaimuki or Mei Sum on the edge of Chinatown.
Happy Day has the advantage of having two or three private rooms and a lot of experience with banquets for birthdays, funerals, etc. Lisa Lum, who is the manger there, is very easy to work with--if price is your main consideration, II suggest calling her in advance and telling her what you want and the price you want to pay