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Lesser Known Favorites (you've been to recently)

We seem to have a tendency to talk about really well known and upscale restaurants, which is great. At the same time some of the lesser known, often neighborhood places we like to go don't get enough of our attention.

This week one of my friends has been ono for Chinese food. Monday night it was just two of us and we went to Duk Kee up on 12th in Kaimuki. Had the salt pepper pork chops and ong choy with oyster sauce (and rice of course.) Nothing fancy, but really good. I was surprised to see people there with wine, didn't realize they were BYOB licensed (or maybe they were just accommodating regular customers.) Our bill for this simple but satisfying dinner came to just about $20.

Tuesday we ended up at Hung Won. This time there were 3 of us. At the server's suggestion we started with the special soup, winter mellon with chicken and mushroom. We decided we needed to compare the salt and pepper pork chop - even though its not on the menu. We also ordered sichuan eggplant and fried rice. All of it was really tasty and the service was pleasant. Hung Won has a notice on their menu that you can bring your own beverages, be it soda or beer (I assume wine is ok too) Dinner for the 3 of us was just over $40. Hung Won is also well known for its Crispy Gau Gee. Not huge ones like Waimalu Chop Suey, but very good. We were all doing penance for overdoing over the holidays so we (grudgingly) refrained from that as an appetizer.

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  1. In my regular rotation are Richie's Drive Inn or Bob's Barbecue for their barbecue pork sandwich, I-naba for soba, Michinoku, Your Kitchen, pastries & desserts from Fendu Boulangerie. Lunch downtown finds me at Sushi Kahuna for their curry (only Mon&Fri) and oyako donburi (Wed), Ahi & Vegetable or Ahi Lovers, Mix Cafe, Whole Ox if I feel like a long walk, Simply Ono lunchwagon. Looking forward to the opening of Marukame Udon on Fort Street, but I expect it to be very busy when it opens.

    1. Been always wanted to go there (Duk Kee) since my cousin who lives there talks about it often. She goes there for their jai or Monk's food during Chinese New Year and for quick lunches while working at KCC. We always go to Happy Gardens instead when visiting from LA. Another must place to go when we're there is Sekiya's for that old nostalgic ambience of the 50s. What I really like to know is where are all the good plate lunch trucks that used to be so numerous in Ala Moana and the Kewalo Basin area? The one on Cooke Street was so-so.

      1. <<We seem to have a tendency to talk about really well known and upscale restaurants, which is great.>>

        That is entirely my fault, and I take responsibility for it... [Grin]

        Now, and to get serious, mahalo for taking the time to bring some other venues to light. That info should be very useful to many.

        Aloha,

        Hunt

        1. today i saw that Honolulu Burger Company has opened in that strip mall across Waialae from Kahala mall (just kokohead of the shell station.) Haven't been yet, but if it is as good as the makiki location hope to visit it now and then, parking much easier than along beretania.

          3 Replies
          1. re: KaimukiMan

            I don't find parking at the beretania location difficult. There's a parking lot right next to the building.

            1. re: killersmile

              i never realized that. shame on me. maybe having a new one makes up for burgers on the edge in kapahulu closing.

              1. re: KaimukiMan

                burgers OTE didn't impress me at all - in fact, i was totally disappointed. i went with high hopes for the wagyu burger with foie gras but ended up with a soggy, overcooked mess and greasy sweet potato fries. that experience cost me thirty bucks. :(

                any high-end burger joint that won't give me a double rare burger doesn't rate.

                i have yet to try HBC

          2. To be fair, I've never been to Nam Fong, the seemingly more popular one. But the roast pork at Fong's is really the best I've ever had as it is served very hot. They only have two items there: roast pork and char siu. There's always a line and they close up when they run out of product. So the chance of getting an older piece of pork is very slim. When I passed by Nam Fong, there was no line and the roast pork looked pretty limp and cold.