It's been a while since I had some dim sum...actually, it's been about 2 weeks! But the last time, the experience was not so enjoyable... I guess it was because I didn't end up at my favorite dim sum place. I was encouraged to try somewhere new, and it ended up a disaster. The service was slow and the dim sum, well...they could take a few lessons from this place.
Panda Cuisine, located in the heart of Honolulu, about a block and a half away from what used to be the world's largest open air shopping center, Ala Moana Center, serves dim sum and lots more! Their extensive list of dim sum offerings (I was told they offer 60 selections daily), the excellent quality of the food, and the exceptional service from the wait staff, makes it worth the slightly higher price.
On a normal weekend day, you'll find that this place is pretty crowded...I've even had to wait for a table on a couple of occassions...and this place is huge! They must have at least 50 tables or so! But today, since I arrive as lunch is winding down (about 1:30 pm), it's quiet and a bit empty....ahhhh! So nice to be able to relax and enjoy my dim sum.
Since I cannot sample all of my favorites when I'm alone...don't want to look like...well, you know, I asked a couple of friends to join me. They didn't hesistate in saying "yes". I would really have to say that this is one of the best dim sum restaurants in the state, and I've tried quite a few!
Forgive me, but I don't know any of the Chinese names for these dim sum items, so the names will be listed in English.
First up, the steamed barbeque pork bun (hehe...I know this is called char siu bao, US$2.95). There is just enough of the bun, to go with the slightly sweet and very juicy, lean barbeque pork. This is one of the best around.
Next, I have the braised chicken feet (US$2.95). This is prepared with a black bean sauce and the meat and tendons are just so tender!
Then, we ordered the steamed bamboo roll with oyster sauce (US$2.95). This is absolutely one of my favorite dishes here. I can normally find this at any restaurant that serves dim sum, but this one is good because the sauce is just right...not too salty!
To round out the steamed dishes, we ordered the steamed shrimp tofu (US$2.95)...
and the steamed mochi rice wrapped in lotus leaf (US$2.95). Now normally, the mochi rice is a little too "wet" for my taste, but today, it's perfect. Nice and dry with just the right amount of pork and egg! Now where's the chilli....
We also decide to order a few of the fried dishes as well. We start here with the fried bean curd (US$2.95). This dish is made by frying bean curd sheets that have been wrapped around pork and shrimp and are served with some sauce on the side...I don't use the sauce, as I love the flavor just the way it is!
And finally, the deep-fried shrimp puff (US$2.95). This one's served with mayonaisse to dip the shrimp into...I like to use the mayonaisse and chilli... I really enjoy this, but wish the the "skin" were just a bit thinner. This one's a bit thick.
And now, for a treat, we have the egg custard tarts (US$2.35). Today, the crust is flakey and the custard a bit on the sweet side...but still very nice nonetheless.
If you ever find yourself hungry for some dim sum, visit Panda Cuisine. Although the price is a little higher than at other places, I can guarantee that this is some of the best you will ever have.
641 Keeaumoku Street