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Coming Up

  • Next on 'Ono Kine Grindz:

    The Wedding Cafe, Manoa

    Recently Consumed:

    Zaney's, Downtown Honolulu
    Bob's Bar-B-Que, Kalihi
    Restaurant Yamagen, Moili'ili

    Below you will find a never ending list of restaurants that I want to visit or re-visit:

    Young's Fish Market
    Alan Wong's Pineapple Room
    Cafe Sistina
    Indigo Eurasian Cuisine
    Yakiniku Toraji
    Sushi Masa
    Ono Hawaiian Foods
    Tsukuneya Robata Grill

    If you would like to give me a tip on a new restaurant that is opening up, or give me a recommendation on some of your favorite restaurants, please send an e-mail to:

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    The following posts should be completed someday (!):

    New Diner's Drive In
    Border Grill
    Penang Malaysian
    Chez Panisse
    Zuni Cafe
    Indonesia Restaurant
    Boston's North End Pizza
    Happy Inn
    Kat's Sushi
    Fritz's European Bakery
    Makino Chaya
    Singapore/Bangkok Posts
    Chin's Kahala
    Hata Restaurant
    Ebisu Catering Service
    Bubba Burgers
    The Eggberts
    Blossoming Lotus
    Hamura Saimin Stand
    Bob's Big Boy

    WHEW! I hope to have them done by year's end!

    Upcoming adventures

    San Francisco, CA

    Sydney, NSW, Australia

    London, UK
    Paris, France
    Chicago, IL
    Seoul, South Korea
    I won't be able to visit Korea this year.
    San Francisco, CA
    New Orleans, LA
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Shanghai, China

    Hopefully, some of you can provide me with recommendations for some good eats!

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« SHF - Serikaya (Egg Custard) | Main | The Daily Grindz »

September 17, 2005



Oh no. Nothing worse than soggy char sieu bao! My guess is the steamer bubbled a little too high and the bottom of the buns got wet. That's always nasty. lol


Now, that's dim sum! Not the typical manapua everyone keeps talking about. This is the kind of char siu baos you'd find at Ocean Star in Monterey Park but not soggy. Like AugustusBloop mentioned, the ones you had were probably from the bottom tray and may have been splashed with excess water from the steam since they cook them in mass production.

I was always wondering how Legends would fare with Ocean Star since everyone tells me that it's probably the best in Honolulu. How would you compare it to Happy Days in Kaimuki? Are they in the same class? Enquiring minds wants to know...


Yums! The dim sum here look authentically Hong Kong-style. The glutinuous rice in lotus leaf (or loh mai kai) and pan-fried turnip cake are also among my fav dim sum items. :)


Mmmmm, the pictures make me drool! I'm a displaced Pake kamaaina and my mom and I like Royal Garden in the Ala Moana Hotel and the other newer one in the Cultural Plaza next to the Japanese restaurant--can't remember the name of it but the jeen dui (deep-fried sesame ball with bean filling) was the most perfect I've ever eaten!


Very nice Reid - Especially that Cheong (Look)Fun. Legend and Panda Cuisine are my favorite Dim Sum places in Honolulu. The Bean Curd Roll is one of my favorites.


looks ono once again brah....das what makes me all homesick fo' dan islands can find good dim sum....or any local flavah hea on da east coast. No moa even good surf brah! I'm one Hilo boy, an would be ineresting if you could find one ono chinese place ova dea brah!

Big BoK

I am drooling so bad.. Reid.. i demanded.. my spouse bring me to halifax.. to have timsum..! i think if he doesn't real soon.. we are gonna have a big fight..!! hahahhaha!! that's how much i miss tim sum..!


Hi AG,

I thought the same thing too and I really don't like it either. Maybe it's because I got there late, but then again, I never had it happen anywhere else before.

Hi Clinton,

I actually don't think Legend is as good as everyone else thinks. Don't really know why. To me, the food is just average.

If you want to compare Happy Days and Legend, I'll have to give the nod to Legend on some items and to Happy Days on others. I won't ever eat the chicken feet at Happy Days -- they taste like they were marinated in curry powder.

The best dim sum IMHO is at Panda.

Hi Julia,

The lor mai kai is one of my favorites as well and I almost always eat this. This is one of the better dishes at Legend. The pan fried daikon cake here was just so-so.

Hi Sophie,

Thanks for stopping by the blog.

I don't think I've ever been to Royal Garden before, but thanks for the recommendation. I love dim sum and I'm always looking for new places to eat at.

As for the restaurant at the Chinatown Cultural Plaza...I can't think of which place you're talking about. Is it next to Hifumi facing the river?

Hi Kirk,

I like chee cheong fun too and this one was really good. I was tempted to have this with shrimp, but decided to try the beef. Not bad. There is actually a really good chee cheong fun shop right near Kekaulike Market that I'm going to write up soon.

The bean curd roll (or also called bamboo roll) is really good at Panda. That's my favorite dim sum place.

Hi Kelly,

The dim sum here is just OK in my opinion. There are other places that are just as good, or even better. I'm sorry that you're not able to get dim sum where you're at. Maybe you just need to come home for a visit soon.

Hi Big BoK,


I'm sorry for making you drool. Don't fight with the hubby over dim sum. You'll have some soon enough. =)


There are no excuses for soggy bottoms! None!


The pic of the "mochi rice in lotus leaf" just triggered my appetite. Going into the kitchen now...


Nice write-up and I have to agree that overall Panda is much better. It's odd that there should be so many dim sum places here and they are uniformly inconsistent in quality - sounds bizzare but it's true!


Hey Reid, have you ever eaten at L&L? How is the food there? Phan has a former classmate who is thinking about expanding L&L to Portland, Oregon.


what a coincidence! we had dim sum on saturday this weekend. it was good. our pan fried carrot cake didn't come with the frying singapore it does. here, hardly see it.

my guess about the char siu bao being soggy is probably because the steamer. maybe they didn't put a towel to absorb steam condensation. or there was too much water in the steamer.

yum :)



your reviews are such a bad/good influence on me. because of you, this last week, i've gone to two restaurants you'd reviewed--sunrise (which i had gone to before, and love) and kiawe grill (which i had not gone to before, and my beau and i tried together last wednesday. we both went again, without each other, within 48 hours of our first visit!).

as for dim sum, i joined some friends recently at golden dragon (the one on king by bank of hawaii with the red and pillars decorated with...whowuddathot---golden dragons). i wish i could give you a more refined view as to how the food was, but i was so ravenous when i got there that i was just happy to be eating. i do have to say that the shrimp shumai were very good, as were the dim sum with shrimp and chives. of note, golden dragon is another place that will cook the turnip cake right in front of you. what i will say is that my friends have been going there for years (they're chinese), and when we went, it was packed with other chinese folk (and even a couple of tourists). if you haven't been, maybe it's a place to try?


Hi AG,

You're right. Especially from what's supposed to be one of the better dim sum places on the Island.

Hi Obachan,

Looking at it again, triggered my appetite too. It's one of my favorites. I've got to learn how to make it. =)

Hi Gail,

You're absolutely right! I don't know why every single place here is so inconsistent. This place gets raves from all my friends, but I really don't understand it. Maybe it's my taste buds, or maybe I just don't mind paying more. I think I'm going to visit Kirin next.

Hi Dennis,

I have eaten at L&L and the food there is OK, there are actually so many places to eat that are better. Think the McD's of plate lunches. I'm sure L&L would do great business in Portland as I know there are many displaced Islanders there.

Hi Stef,

What a coincidence is right. I'm sure that yours was much better than this was.

And yes, I do have to agree about the condensation. I wouldn't call everything here "yum", but a few of the dishes were.

Hi Nai,

I've been to Golden Palace when it was still called Sea Fortune. Is that where you went? It's the one on South King. It is/was the one of the cheapest dim sum restaurants in Chinatown, which is why I felt it was always crowded. Some of the dim sum items are good and like most other places, there are a number of dishes that are not so good.

And are you sure I'm a bad influence? =P


Yah, I don't usually enjoy eating at Legend. It is overated, thus the crowds :P The service is always rude or rushed. I could sit there with an empty water cup for the whole meal and no one offering to fill it. The Buddhist restaurant across the hall is usually yummy though.


Hmm...It's been awhile since I've been to Panda for dim sum. We did go to Royal Garden in the Ala Moana Hotel last year and that was terrible...maybe it was because it was on a weekday but everything tasted stale or overcooked. Panda would have been a major upgrade. Funny, I don't remember Royal Garden being that bad when I was living in the islands. Perhaps the dim sum cook left and went to Panda ;-)


Hi Cindy,

I went to Buddhist Vegetarian Restaurant previously and it was really good. I have to agree with you about the service at Legend, and I also have to agree that the dim sum here is highly overrated.

Hi 808650foodie,

I was actually told that the dim sum served at Panda is more Taiwan-style rather than Hong Kong-style. The owner's wife is from Taiwan, or so they say.

As for the dim sum cook, anything is possible, but I believe the dim sum as Panda has been consistently good for as long as I've been going there and it's been quite a number of years.



Thanks for the review. The Beef puff pastry is that curry beed filling. The curry beef filling is my favourite. *sigh* Not the mention the Look (Cheong) funn...Oh....*passes out*


Hi Milgwimper,

It's actually barbecue pork in the puff pastry. I don't think I've ever had it served with curry beef in it before.

Chee cheong fun is actually one of my favorites too. Maybe I'll have some tomorrow. =)


Yup, Reid, next to Hifumi facing the river...have you tried it? What do you think?

Regarding 808650foodie's comment, I remember my mom warning not to eat at Royal Garden on Monday because we'd get leftovers from the weekend!

Sorry for the late comment- computer problems- but it's always pleasurable visiting your site! Thanks for the "service" you provide!


Hi Sophie,

No, I haven't tried it, but I think I know which one you are talking about. I'm going to try the place upstairs. The name escapes me right now, but it was the old China House.

Don't worry about the late comment. I'm often late with the responses as well. Thanks for coming back though, and thank you so much for the compliments.

I truly appreciate them.

Mei Jan

Maybe the next time you go to Legends, you should take a Chinese person with you. By looking at the photos I can tell you only ordered the typical "first-timer" items. Legends is the best! Mei Sum is okay, but I've personally seen them drop things on the floor and then stick it on the cart to sell (they also got cited in June 2005 by the DOH), Golden Dragon is cheap and tasty, but cleanliness is also dubious. Panda's service is lacking, I swore I would never go there again. Legends has so many people coming in and out that I know the food is fresh. Their vegetarian restaurant is okay, but any self-respecting Chinese person would never eat something that took so long to walk from the main kitchen to the restaurant next door (the food loses it's "breath."
My thoughts? If Legends is overrated, why is there such a crowd of people every weekend? Not only Chinese FOP types, but local kine too?


Hi Mei Jan,

Thank you for visiting my site!

I'm glad you like the food at Legends. As for me, I really don't care for the preparation, nor do I care for the service (slow). There are a couple of good dishes, but otherwise, many of them are not agreeable with me (too much MSG).

I'm not even going to respond to your other comments because what I have to say wouldn't be nice.

Thanks for your feedback. =)

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