Friday, June 30, 2006

Review: Maple Garden

Maple Garden
909 Isenberg St near King St

I had high hopes for Maple Garden, because I'd heard it is the best place for Northern & Sichuanese Chinese food in Hawaii (the fact that they claim to specialize in both of those is a warning right off the bat, because no restaurant in China serves both of those cuisines).

Front: mongolian beef, spicy eggplant
Back: mapo tofu, crab soup

I called in and placed an order in Mandarin, hoping that if I spoke Chinese they would pay special attention to my order and make it more 'authentic.' We ordered yu xiang qie xi (fish sauce eggplant), mapo tofu, meng gu niu rou (mongolian beef), and xie fen dou fu gen (crab & tofu soup). (total for the 4 dishes: $35)

The mapo tofu was the best of the bunch, although it didn't have ANY ma jiao (sichuan peppercorns, the black ones that numb your tongue) which is the best part of the dish. The other dishes were just ok; if they were served in China, I don't think the restaurant would have any business, because they were just average.

Oh well, I don't think I'm going to find any satisfactory Chinese food in Hawaii after 5 years in China. Moral of the story is: I should've learned to cook when I lived in Shanghai!!

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