Side Orders • February 15, 2018

Kung Hee Fat Choy!

Mike and Tina Xiao, natives of Guangzhou, China, will ring in the Year of the Earth Dog from today through Feb. 24 at their Mike’s Hong Kong Bistro on the corner of Main Street and Central Avenue in Wailuku. Do come and savor specials such as crispy roast pork, roast duck and sea bass with baby bok choy. They also make jai, gau and jian dui, all symbols of “good luck.” The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo

BARKING UP RIGHT TREE . . . This isn’t just any old mutt year. No, this is a purebred affair, the Year of the Earth Dog, the first that has occurred on a Chinese lunar calendar since 1958. (The regular Year of the Dog spins in every 12 years.)

Many of you have read all about it in the special Chinese New Year section that was in Wednesday’s paper. The official holiday is Friday, Maui Mall’s festivities will fall on Saturday, and authentic restaurants such as Mike’s Hong Kong Bistro will do specials now through Feb. 24.

Many foods hold fortuitous significance. For instance, greens such as baby bok choy at Mike’s ensure a lucrative new year. The whole steamed fish at A Saigon Cafe brings abundance. The longer the noodles one eats at Wei Wei Cafe & Noodle House, the longer one is said to live.

Preparations for the 5,000-plus-year-old holiday always begin well in advance. It’s a time to sweep out the old and welcome in the new. Chefs do their slicing and dicing ahead of time, because all sharp knives and utensils should be put away in order to avoid “cutting the luck.”

At the Maui Mall extravaganza Saturday, you may watch a Chinese cooking demo by Executive Sous Chef Chris Napoleon of the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel. “I’m doing braised pork belly with red bean curd over congee, or rice porridge,” says Napoleon.

Ka’anapali Beach Hotel will also put on a Chinese Brunch Buffet from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 25 with cold ginger chicken, kau yuk (roast pork), shrimp egg fu young and star-anise braised shot ribs. Call 661-0011.

Wolfgang Puck also invites you to bark up the right tree for the Year of the Dog March 2 at Spago Maui in the Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea. Chef Peleg Miron will present interactive dining stations with char-siu pork, Peking-style duck, Dan-Dan chicken siu mai and Wolfgang Says Fortune Cookies. Cost is $75 for food only. Call 879-2999.

What else is cooking on Maui? Get In the Spirit of Gin and Chilies from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Monday at Mauka Makai restaurant at Westin Nanea Ocean Villas in Kaanapali. The event celebrates local ingredients and will have live music, Fid Street Gin libations from Hali’imaile Distilling Co. and specialty food pairings.

“The dishes will have varying degrees of spicy heat, such as Makaweli bone marrow with juniper marmalade and Asian chili yuzu crumb, spicy pork-belly tacos with spiced gin jam, smoked oysters and more,” says Executive Chef Ikaika Manaku.

Cost of $65 per person includes food and drink. Call 662-6400.

Sansei Kihei will uncork Peay Vineyards wine dinner at 6 p.m. Feb. 22 featuring its proprietor Andy Peay. The menu sounds tempting. Begin with carpaccio of thinly sliced beef, followed by porcini and Kauai shrimp tempura by Executive Chef Byung Jeoung and other courses. Cost is $75 per person. Call 879-0004. Look for more details on this event and others in the Sunday’s Pau Hana features section on the culinary page.

* Got restaurant/dining-event scoop? Call Dining Editor Carla Tracy at 242-6342; or email