Kung Hee Fat Choy!
Every 12 years, the Dragon breathes fire into Maui. The official Chinese New Year launches Monday, with its moon cycles ruling over the solar cycles. But celebrations start as early as today and continue into the first week of February at various establishments.
Many restaurants feature fireworks, lion dancing, kung fu demos and more as well as auspicious menus that symbolize long life and other traits.
Mike’s Hong Kong Bistro on Central Avenue in Wailuku will tempt you with a host of Chinese specials starting today and running through the end of the month. Jasmine Utomo (from left) of Wailuku Elementary and Alexandria “Alex” Tyau of Maui Waena showcase some of the specials such as eggplant stuffed with pork and fish, whole roast duck, and whole fish with sweet-and-sour sauce and mixed vegetables.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Whether you choose to dine in on authentic Chinese fare or take out half or whole pans of food for your home parties, the pickings are plentiful.
Dragon Dragon Chinese Restaurant in the Maui Mall in Kahului is an elegant venue with feng-shui elements and seating for 130 in the main dining room and 40-person capacity in a side room.
It's been rated as the Best Chinese Restaurant on Maui for the past four years by the readers of this newspaper in our Best of Maui contest.
"We want to remind everybody that we specialize in fresh seafood," says managing partner Raymond Shek. "We ship in live lobsters and dungeness crab. You simply choose what you want from our tank."
Sauces for the lobster and crab include ginger and onion, black bean, pepper and salt, and the secret supreme. Or opt for abalone with black mushrooms, honey-walnut shrimp or drunken clams in Chinese wine.
On Saturday, Jan. 28, the Maui Mall is throwing its 13th annual Chinese New Year party with lion dancing, crafts and a fried rice cooking contest and food booths. But if you are looking for a nice place to get away from the crowds, Dragon Dragon will be waiting with its air-conditioned room and authentic menu items.
The restaurant is open daily for lunch at 10:30 a.m. and it offers dim sum at this time. Dinner starts at 5 p.m. and takeout is also offered. Can't decide what to order? Choose the preset dinner for two, four and six people. For more details, call 893-1628.
Seascape Ma'alaea Restaurant may not be at the top of your mind as the place to go for Chinese New Year. But it's got quality-driven, sustainable cuisine and it will delight you with three Chinese specials for lunch during its regular hours from 11a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday on the official Year of the Dragon kickoff.
Located at Maui Ocean Center, you are not required to pay aquarium admission to dine in the restaurant. And reservations are not necessary.
Guests may enter the restaurant using the side walkway entrance, located to the right of Maui Ocean Center's front gate. Here are the specials:
Bring your friends and savor the dim sum platter with chicken and cilantro won tons, vegetable shumai, pork dumplings, egg rolls, and potstickers - all served with a host of Asian dipping sauces.
Or crunch a salad of char-siu chicken on crisp Kula greens, topped with chow mein, bean sprouts, cucumbers, carrots, tomato and wonton strips served with Oriental dressing for optimum flavor.
Fresh island fish will be drizzled with fresh ginger and green onion-infused oyster soy sauce and hot peanut oil, served with jasmine rice and bok choy. The specials run from $10.95 up to $15.95.
Situated in a little retail mall on Central Avenue in Wailuku, Mike's Hong Kong Bistro will get you in the mood for tempting Chinese food with specials starting today and running through January.
Owners Mike and Tina Xiao are from Guangzhou, China, and Mike is a consummate chef who makes consistent quality specials in addition to his regular menu. You may dine inside in air-conditioned comfort in the cushy booths or at solid tables, ordering from the hot buffet or a la carte menu. You may also order takeout.
"This year, our Chinese New Year specials are whole fish with sweet and sour sauce and mixed veggies, our famous Hong Kong chicken with mushrooms, roast duck, roast pork, char siu, vegetarian jai and eggplant stuffed with pork and fish," says Tina, who runs the front of the house. "We also have gau and jin doi as desserts."
Mike's is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, and they do a lot of catering. If it's a big party, try and give them a day or two's notice. Otherwise, just call at least a half-hour ahead for smaller orders. Call 244-7888.
Four Sisters Kitchen on Vineyard Street in Wailuku is already a draw for its reasonably priced lunch buffets, which include soft drink and dessert. Today, Friday and Saturday, the owners will include Chinese dishes in the lunch buffet. Cost is $9.99 per person.
Sunday, come to the upgraded brunch buffet and savor Chinese dishes in addition to prime rib and omelets. Cost is $15.99. Then on Monday, the official Chinese New Year day, there will be a full Chinese menu on the buffet along with soups. Cost is $12.99. Call 242-7651.
Tucked away at the top of Lahaina Business Park, Star Noodle is a little powerhouse of an Asian pub and noodle eatery. Boasting ocean views, it's ultra chic and sophisticated for its location.
In addition, its Chef Sheldon Simeon was voted "The Best Chef on Maui" in this newspaper's annual contest last year.
The noodles will win you over as most are made in- house. Chinese lore says, "The longer the noodle one eats on the new year, the longer one will live." So slurp Lahaina fried soup with ground pork and bean sprouts; and Singapore vermicelli with shrimp, chicken, and vegetables.
Simeon will do a number of Chinese specials Jan. 27 and the lion dancers will weave their way through the room at 8 p.m.
Savor oolong-smoked duck with tamarind, skin chips and scallions; pork-and-shrimp har gau with hot mustard, steamed choi sum with garlic and chili sauce, ginger chicken, orange beef with orange candy and dried chili, and longevity noodles with snow peas and salted pork. For dessert, Simeon will create almond fortune cookies with caramel, bananas and coconut powder. Call 667-5400.
Aloha Mixed Plate is Star Noodle's sister eatery. It's located oceanfront on Front Street in Lahaina and the seating is outdoors and under umbrellas and giant shade trees. Hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
For Chinese New Year, it will offer a week of food specials, changing daily from Jan. 29 through Feb. 4. That Sunday, the special will be Mongolian beef, then on that Monday you may order lo-men noodles that are made in house.
On Tuesday, Jan. 31, it will feature Cantonese roast duck with five-spice and plum dipping sauce. For the entire Aloha Mixed Plate lineup, call 661-3322.
Topaz Goldsmith & Gallery at the Dolphin Plaza in Kihei will celebrate the Year of the Dragon at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28. What's it got to do with food, you say? The owner will be dishing up noodles and fortune cookies for long life and long-lasting friendships. In addition, the popular store will feature lion dancing, so bring the family, take pictures and have fun. Call 879-5877.
In Kahana, China Boat features over 100 authentic menu items. It's open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and for dinner nightly from 5 to 9:30. Come for the early-bird specials daily from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and get 15 percent off of your food bill. Menu highlights are candy-walnut shrimp, lemon chicken, fish in ginger and onion sauce, fresh asparagus with shrimp and scallops; and spicy Szechuan delicacies. Call 669-5089.
Celebrate the Year of the Dragon at Ka'anapali Beach Hotel Sunday, Jan. 29. A 21-year tradition, the event will be in the form of a celebration brunch from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fireworks and lion dancers are slated for 9 and 11 a.m.
This year's brunch will also feature live Hawaiian music and free-flowing bubbly. Dig into the holiday feast with more than 50 items including crispy won tons, egg rolls, steamed mini manapua, Chinese roasted duck, cashew chicken with cake noodles, shrimp and snow peas, sweet-and-sour pork ribs and spicy beef stir-fry.
"There will be an iced seafood bar and we'll carve slow-roasted prime rib," says Executive Chef Tom Muromoto. "We'll also have Chinese pretzels as well as almond cookies."
Cost for adults is $38.95; children 12 and younger are $22. Special event parking rates apply. Call KBH at 667-0124.