Global Feast : Hawaii

Alan Wong's Restaurant
April 2012

Alan Wong'sAlan Wong's kitchen

No doubt that Alan Wong's is the most well known restaurant in Honolulu and I was so happy to be there. We were there on Monday night but the restaurant was full and energetic. It had been such a long time since we had dined out in a nice restaurant and Alan Wong's was a home run.

We decided to go with the a la carte menu but they offer a tasting menu for $105 and a 5-course menu sampling for $85 and both have a wine pairing option. I would like to try their tasting menu next time.

Crab "Tofu" Agedashi (left) and Kona Lobster "Vichyssoise" (right)

There are many attractive first course items and we tried three items to share. Crab "Tofu" Agedashi is a Japanese inspired delicate dish. Traditional "Tofu agedashi" is lightly fried tofu with a fish stock gravy but in Alan Wong's, they use tofu-like crab mousse instead. They added big chunks of crab meat and lobster medallions to finish. It was lightly seasoned and the stock was delicious. I enjoyed this dish a lot.

Another great first course was the Kona lobster vichyssoise. Opposite to the crab agedashi, this dish was very creamy and powerful in texture but still very delicate and not overly strong like some lobster bisque.

"H.R.C.aesar salad", in crispy parmesan cheese basket

Then we had a very unique seasar salad. Beautiful baby Maui romaine lettuce was on a parmesan cheese basket and there were Lomi tomato relish and Kalua shredded pig on the side. The shredded pork was so tasty we went crazy over it. It was very satisfying salad.

Pan Steamed Opakapaka (short-tail pink snapper);
twice cooked shortrib, soy braised and grilled "Kalbi" style

Although we enjoyed everything we had, I think the best of all was the fish main course. The delicate snapper was steamed with shrimp and pork hash on top of it. Fresh gingered Asian vegetables with some cilantro on the fish was very nice. The shrimp and pork hash created the powerful umami which is mixed with truffle nage. This dish was a flavor bomb. It was so delicious and I get hungry now just by remembering it.

The Korean inspired shortrib was also a great dish. Shortrib was braised in shoyu, mirin and a sugar mixture for a long time and then grilled. Korean ko choo jang sauce gave it some kick (quite spicy). Separately, two big gingered prawns were on top of the meat and they were really wonderful, too.

Pineapple "Shave Ice"

We normally can't order dessert but since everything was so great, we were motivated to order something. We picked the most interesting and traditional Hawaiian one, "Shave Ice".

The fluffy pineapple "shave ice" was served over coconut tapioca and Hawaiian vanilla panna cotta. The shave ice is actually grated frozen pineapple and it was airy soft. A very clever dessert and I loved it.

Alan Wong's did not disappoint us at all. Their service was flawless and attentive. We were very comfortable dining there and can't wait to go back there soon.

Alan Wong's
1857 S. King Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96826
tel: 808.949.1939

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