Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hawaii Leftovers

So this is my last post about my Hawaii vacation. It really turned out to be a food vacation. Since I was spending a lot of time with my mom, and really all my mom likes to do is eat, that's pretty much what we did every day.

This is just a roundup of all the other food experiences I had during my trip that I really didn't squeeze into my earlier posts but I still thought was worth mentioning. Aloha!

Mother's Day was the main reason for my trip and I posted earlier about the Mother's Day brunch. But for dinner, we went to my mom's favorite Chinese restaurant and probably one of the more popular Chinese restaurant in Honolulu for family dinner. Royal Garden is known for its dim sum and then its seafood dinners. The restaurant is in the Renaissance Hotel, once known as the Ala Moana Hotel. It's adjacent to the Ala Moana Shopping Center and is a bit difficult to find because it's on the same level as the hotel pool. Some of the food we had that night was the shrimp with honey walnuts (above left), which was perfectly done by Royal Garden. The shiny sweet sauce around the shrimp was a wonderful glaze and not gloppy mayonnaise that you sometimes see at other restaurants. Another regular dish we order that's a little special is the Seafood Bird Nest, which is stir-fry seafood in a bird nest created by deep-frying taro or potato strips. I love ordering this dish. Below is a tofu casserole (on the left), which is another favorite of my mom because the skills to create the tofu in this nice, soft tofu pocket requires a sophisticated chef. On the right is a special 8 treasures duck that's been braised. It's the kind of dish that needs to be ordered 24 hours in advance.

Doesn't this look like a scene from some store in Japan? It's actually in the food department of Shirokiya, which is one of the largest Japanese grocery/house wares store in Hawaii. It's been around for years since I was a kid, and it consistently offers everything you need to look for when looking for genuine Japanese food. Shirokya, at the Ala Moana Shopping Center, is also where you buy the mochicreams I blogged about this week. The food section of Shirokiya is also where you can buy some great bento boxes, which make a great packed lunch to take to the beach.

Spam musubi!!! Yep, you see it everywhere in Hawaii. I didn't eat any while I was there, especially since I can just make it myself if I ever get the urge. Still, I wanted to show you a picture of it so you won't think it's an urban legend that people in Hawaii love their Spam. :)

Here are some ramen noodles at Goma-Ichi. My mom and I came here for lunch one day. They have the best broth but I felt the ramen was a bit overcooked. Still, my mom loved the tender pork slices in her Char Siu Shoyu Ramen (left) and I loved the broth of my Tan Tan Ramen (right). This is a cute, small place with a 16-seat bar in the center and 4 tables that seat four on the side. It's conveniently located a couple of blocks north of the new Nordstrom. The only negative I have to say about Goma-Ichi is that I felt they were stingy with the ramen. My mom and I both left feeling a bit hungry, and we also ordered a side of gyoza. (BTW, the gyoza was fantastic! It had a nice thin skin with a nicely pan-fried edge. Mmmmm.)

Right before I went to the airport on the day I left, I went with my mom to Like Like Drive-Inn, which is like an institution in Hawaii. (BTW, it's pronounced LEE-kay LEE-kay.) It's an old-time diner that's famous for its saimin. I had the omelet with portuguese sausages and rice. It was all right. I think most people go for the local-style saimin. But after seven days of constant eating, some simple rice and omelet was all I needed.

Royal Garden Chinese Restaurant, 410 Atkinson Dr., Honolulu. PH: 808.942.7788
Shirokiya at the Ala Moana Shopping Center, 1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu. PH: 808.973.9111
Goma-Ichi, 631 Keeaumoku St., Honolulu. PH: 808.951.6666
Like Like Drive Inn, 745 Keeaumoku St., Honolulu. PH: 808.941.2515

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

chef ben it has been so much fun reading about your eating adventures in Hawaii. definitely makes me want to go, well I think I always want to go to hawaii! And that Japanese depaato looks so great, wished we had one here (like uwajimaya in wash state...)