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Friday, February 12, 2016

DID I OVERDOSE ON CHINESE FOOD?

It all started with the annual 15 Craigside Chinese New Year Dinner Buffet:


Note my authentic Chinese shirt I bought at the Great Wall.  I brought some Shaoxing wine (17% ethanol), which is heated and poured into a glass with some li hing mui:


At the table were Alfred and Charlotte, my neighbors on the 12th floor.  The Dragon Dance followed:


That night, our Monday Night Table had Coconut Mojitos:


The following night George hosted the Poker Gang to a more authentic Chinese meal catered from Pauoa Chop Suey:



Sybil helped with the serving but, my camera died after I took the following Chinese Wine photo:


Hmm...I wonder if she was responsible.  Sorry George, but if Wayne sends me his shot of the group, I'll insert it with you shown here.

This was not the end of Chinese food.  The next day I walked into Chinatown to go to what Honolulu Magazine selected this year as the Best  Overall Chinese Restaurant in Hawaii:  Little Village Noodle House.  I can't believe that I've been strolling by this place for more than a decade and to now find out it is #1.  

On the way over I remembered that this was a BYOB establishment, so I dropped by 7/11 and bought a 24-ounce can of 8.1% beer.  To my pleasant surprise, they asked for my ID.  I guess I must still look young.

Little Village must hold around a hundred.  I showed up at 10:45 and there already were, perhaps, 25 kindergarten students making a lot of noise.  If you love good Chinese food with shrieking children, this would be heaven for you.  


They even had a gold koi.  I tried to get a small scallop soup, but no such thing.  The cheapest side was $3.95 for french fries, which, according to the menu, children loved, so I started with that:


Amazingly enough, they were excellent, even when cold.  The crispiness remained.  McDonald's and Burger King should find out how they do this.  

I ordered the Volcano Pork Chops, which reminded me of New Orleans frogs legs, this being just past Mardi Gras.  The problem is an order for one serves three.  What irritated me the most was that I somehow ordered a small bowl of rice, of which I ate maybe 10 grains, and this item cost me as much as the 24-ounce can of beer.

Our 15C Chinese buffet was not quite Chinese, and this Best Chinese Restaurant meal was even less so.   When I left at 11:45 every table was taken and people were waiting outside.  I'll make sure that one of our 15 Craigside outings comes here.

I noticed across Smith Street from Little Village was a bamboo and palm garden.  Never noticed it before.  Walking over there and looking up, of all the things, I saw a tree sprouting from the brick wall:


Notice that Little Village Noodle House is close by Lucky Belly and Livestock Tavern.  


Also across the street from Little Village next to this brick wall was an Ethiopian Restaurant:


I checked into this Love restaurant, and, it turns out that the bamboo and palm garden is their outdoor dining area.

This must be the day for kindergarten children visiting Chinatown, for just outside Char Hun Sut a clock away:


Walking around Chinatown, a reflection of a building in a window selling expensive jade and cheap kukui nut leis:


Still there, the old Wo Fat Building, originally built in 1882, then again after a fire in 1900, and finally, this version in 1932.


Wo Fat was one of most historic of Chinese restaurants, but closed more than a decade ago.   Then, Duc's Bistro, one of my favorite eateries:


 A few hibiscuses on my way home:


The Gold Tree next to Soto Mission:


The Japan Consulate has a bank of orchid trees:


Nuuanu Avenue approaching where I live is covered with Banyan and Monkey Pod Trees:


While natural and nicely shady, I fear a severe wind storm toppling those branches, closing the street and curtailing electricity and telephone services some day.  Ah, but that should only inconvenience us for a few hours.

Actually, this is still not the end, for on Saturday, 15C goes to Forty Carrots of the new Bloomingdale's at the Ala Moana Shopping Center.  The restaurant is famous for frozen yogurt, and John Matsubara is chef.  He started washing dishes at Alan Wong's and went on to distinction with Japengo at Hyatt, then Azure at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.  Then on Sunday, 15C's Valentine's Dinner:


I might have overdosed on Shoaxing Wine, but the Chinese food I consumed this week was mostly hybridized, with Pacific-European sub-roots.  I'm ready to do this again next year.

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