Chinee like me: Dinner at Asia Manoa

It’s hard to believe, but after Nonstop Honolulu hit its first anniversary mark, so did the secret Hawaii Chinese Dinner Society (@HiCDS). That’s right, my initial review of Lobster King was on Sept. 8, with the original four members — me, Bixby Ho, Capsun Poe, and Jennifer Lieu — scrutinizing Chinese dining in Hawaii, while learning to appreciate our culture.

Since then, the group has grown considerably, and although its existence isn’t secret, admission to the group and knowledge of its activities, are. (Well, sort of.) And I’m not sure if people are requesting membership because they are truly into eating Chinese food, or if they are savvy to the secret that Chinese food can make you successful. Wait, you didn’t know that? Did I just give away a Chinese secret?

Anyway: This month, the Society headed to Asia Manoa at the request of State rep. Della Au Belatti, since it’s in her district. We were curious about it since we often pass it on the way to Manoa Marketplace, but had never been.

This month’s dinner was also special in that we had an anniversary cake and “party favors” for everyone — things that Chinese people take from their favorite establishments. For those of you who aren’t Chinese, our parents take great pride in the free things they can acquire. While stolen condiments and napkins are probably the the most common items found in Chinese homes, the most prized possessions tend to be pre-911 airline utensils. This tradition of pilferage has been passed down to us, and as adults, we have amassed collections that would make our ancestors proud.

Dinner at Asia Manoa

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Our September dinner had some surprise guests, including a large number of inductees (yes, for hazing). Clockwise from top left: Vicki Yu (@Hawaiiyogini), Joannie Pan (@TrulyJoannies), Garry Yee (@FunHiGuy), Margot Seeto (@MeatoSeeto), and Linda Chan Ishikawa (@DblMango).

Here’s a quick video to show you what the restaurant looks like, how we eat, and best of all, how we initiated our five new members. (I was in a rush so I forgot to add transitions to the scenes.)

Look like fun? If you’re interested in joining the secret society, send a tweet to our chairman, @BixbyHo. At this point, inquiries do not guarantee membership, and all new members are subject to an initiation as shown.

Asia Manoa Chinese Restaurant
2801 E. Manoa Road