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Chinese New Year's Dining, Honolulu


Welcome the Year of the Rabbit by eating well. Though probably eating rabbit might be a bit insensitive. How about some Chinese-inspired menus?


Gung Hee Fat Choy!

You have to love the Chinese greeting.  It doesn't mean Happy New Year.  (That's something like Sun Nien Fai Look.)  It's a wish for your prosperity in the coming year.  And what's prosperity without eating well?

Here's some dining choices to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit.  No one apparently is actually serving rabbit.

"No, no, that would be insensitive," says Duane Kawamoto of Mariposa at Neiman Marcus.  "I did challenge chef to come up with something to celebrate.  Mariposa's original menu was, of course, developed in Dallas.  We want it to reflect Hawaii and local tastes."

Here then is the five-course Chinese New Year's prix fixe that Mariposa is serving at dinner from tonight through Sunday, Feb. 6.  Sounds Chinese, sounds contemporary, sounds good in fact.  $65 a person.

  • Lobster Wonton Soup
  • Steamed  Clams and Mussels in black bean sauce
  • Five Spiced Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio
  • Steamed Fresh Opakapaka with garlic fried brown rice or Char Siu Roasted Duck Breast with foie gras spring roll
  • Lychee sorbet.

Tonight, Russell Siu of 3660 On The Rise, is also doing a Chinese New Year's prix fixe, with many Hawaii favorites.  A four-course meal for $32.

  • Dry Scallop Soup

  • Chinese Chicken Salad

  • Chinese Steamed Catfish with Black Beans

  • And what sounds like a good update of Almond Float: Almond Scented Panna Cotta
 with Lychee and Mandarin Orange

On Saturday, Feb. 5, the Kahala Hotel and Resort is welcoming the Year of the Rabbit by hosting a Chinese Street Festival buffet dinner in the Plumeria Caf, from 6:30 to 10 p.m.  $75 for adults and $37.50 for children (4-12), and don't forget your red lisee for the lion dance.

Kahala executive chef Wayne Hirabayashi knows Chinese food and is pulling out all the stops.  From Guangzhou, steamed cabbage dumplings or baked oysters in Shao Xin wine.  Traditional clay pot delicacies such as river eel with pork and garlic, winter melon soup, and jai.  Teochew fried rice and grilled baby abalone with soy ginger sauce.

That doesn't count the spicier Northern China-style cuisine, like stir-fried chili prawns and peppered Dungeness crab.  Nor the traditional roast pork and duck with steamed buns.

Desserts include lotus seed popcorn, fortune, almond and sesame cookies, egg custard tart, and rice pudding with lychee, as well as a Chinese ice cream sundae bar with green tea and vanilla ice cream and a variety of toppings.

And Gung Hee Fat Choy indeed! Included in the buffet price are beer, wine and Chinese-inspired martinis: Chrysanthemum, Jasmine Blossom and Red Lotus.

Mariposa, Neiman Marcus, Ala Moana Center, 1450 Ala Moana Blvd., (808) 951-3420, or Open Table.   3660 On The Rise, 3660 Waialae Avenue, (808) 737-1177, or click here.  Chinese Street Fair, Kahala Resort, 5000 Kahala Ave., (808) 739-8760 or reservations by email


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