You might have noticed that I eat a lot of Asian food on this blog: especially Korean, Vietnamese and Thai. But not a lot of Chinese food, even though I love it as well. There's a reason for that...I lived in China from 2001-2006 and 2008-2010, and after being spoiled for choice for amazingly delicious and varied Chinese food, I just can't eat at the regular Cantonese style restaurants here at home.
It's funny; when I first moved to China, all I craved was American style Chinese food. Picture lemon chicken, beef broccoli, and the like. There was one - literally one - restaurant in Shanghai that served it. I ca still picture it today by Xiangyang Lu: The Grape.
Luckily my tastes matured and I grew to love Chinese food - from sweet Shanghainese dishes, to cumin crusted Hunan ribs, to chili laden Sichuanese hot pot. I loved the variety, and that I could have a different provincial style every day of the week for every meal. Even for breakfast - I could have a Shanghainese treat of sticky rice wrapped around rou song (pork floss), you tiao (crispy fried dough) and pickled turnips. Or I could have a traditional Beijing style breakfast of a giant crepe, with an egg scrambled on top, wrapped around more you tiao (soft this time) and pickles, with lashings of plum and chili sauces.
Anyway, back to Hawaii. I don't really get excited about most of the restaurants here. (Ming's in Waikamilo is on my list to try - Nadine Kam says it's great Shanghainese. Any thoughts?) But I did want to try Dew Drop Inn which bills itself as Northern Chinese food...think dumplings and bing (bread) instead of rice.
It was packed on a Friday night.
Xiao long bao: Shanghainese (not northern) soup filled pork dumplings.
Mu shu pork with sesame bread pockets (like a crispy pita)
Cold tendon with cucumber and cilantro
Chili oil covered won tons
Ma po tofu (missing the sichuan peppercorns)
Verdict? They had a great range of dishes you don't usually see in Hawaii, but I am still going to have to keep looking...
Dew Drop Inn
Honolulu, HI 96814 (808) 526-9522