Monday, August 11, 2008

Monarch Seafood

Once in a while, I get to meet up with my boyfriend for lunch. In addition to spending quality time together for an hour in the middle of the work day, we sometimes have the joy of trying someplace new! I had been waiting to try Kahai Street Kitchen after reading an article about them in the Honolulu Advertiser ( To my disappointment, we got there too late, and they were closed for the day. But my disappointment didn't last for long, because we discovered another great lunch place nearby! Monarch Seafood is a seafood shop, offering great selections of seafood and poke. During the lunch hours (10am-2pm), they serve up a great selection of seafood plate lunches.

All plate lunches come with a choice of House Nalo Green Salad with creamy garlic dressing, tossed salad, or potato macaroni salad and white or brown rice. Choose from local dishes ($6.95 each) like kalua pig, mochiko chicken, and hamburger steak, or go for seafood dishes like Ahi Katsu with Creamy Wasabi Sauce ($7.95), Spicy Thai Calamari Steak ($6.95) or Ahi Sashimi Salad ($7.95). All plates are made fresh as you order them!

I ordered the Nori Wrapped Crabmeat Stuffed Ahi ($7.95). This was a nice piece of ahi suffed with a mixture of imitation crabmeat, spicy sauce, and mayo, rolled into a sheet of nori, breaded and deep fried. On top was a drizzle of wasabi mayonnaise. I thought it was very creative and delicious, but a little on the heavy side.

My boyfriend had the Sauteed Citrus Garlic Shrimp ($8.50), a generous portion of shrimp seasoned with fresh herbs, garlic and lemon. Finger-licking good!

After finishing up lunch, I wasn't too disappointed about missing out on trying Kahai Street Kitchen. Next time we have a chance to meet up for lunch I'll make it a point to go a little earlier so that we catch them before they close!

At Monarch Seafood, its a good idea to call in your order and drive down with two people if possible, because parking is very limited. We were lucky to find street parking, but it got very busy right after we placed our order. It was amazing how busy they were with lunch orders despite the fact that they were minutes away from ending lunch service! We all squeezed into the tiny shop as we waited for our food! We waited about 5 minutes for our food and enjoyed it at a nearby park! Next time we'll meet up earlier and check out Kahai Street Kitchen!

Monarch Seafoods, Inc
515 Kalihi St.
Honolulu, HI
(808) 841-7877


I recently had the pleasure of watching a heartwarming (and hunger-inducing) film entitled "Udon." This film was part of Kapiolani Community College's Smithsonian "Key Ingredients" exhibit. The film is entirely in Japanese; however with the help of subtitles, I was able to throughly enjoy this movie. The only bad part about the movie was that I left the theatre starving... and craving a hot bowl of Udon noodles!

The movie takes place in Sanuki, a small region in Japan known for their udon. This is where the main character, Kosuke, discovers his passion for udon. Born into a family of udon-makers, Kosuke never truly appreciated the art of noodle-making and with his father's gruff personality, he never valued his family's prized noodles. With his heart set on becoming a comedian, Kosuke set out to the States to try an make it big. When his efforts proved to be unsuccessful, Kosuke returned to Japan to try and repay his debts by working at a publishing company. It was through this job that he and his friends came up with a brilliant idea of creating a guide about the most obscure udon restaurants that Sanuki had to offer. They set out to find all of the best udon restaurants (and hole-in-the-walls) and created a huge following. In Kosuke's efforts of repay his debts he developed a passion for udon and an appreciation for his family and their noodles.

This was a very heartwarming story that blended comedy, family-fun, and good food! Watching Kosuke and his friends search for restaurants, slurp noodles, snap pictures, and write reviews reminded me so much of what I do when I prepare for blog entries!

The movie reminded me of one of my favorite meals in Japan! Freshly made udon noodles in hot broth and a raw egg!

If you have an opportunity to see this movie, I definitely recommend it!

Check out a clip of it here:

Saturday, August 2, 2008

3660 on The Rise

I have been fortunate enough to be treated to several really great evenings at 3660 on The Rise. My family has gone to this restaurant for special occasions and graduation parties, and I've always been delighted to attend these events! Highly respected chef, Russell Siu, puts together an amazing menu of European, Pacific Rim, and Island-Style Cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere. During this visit I joined my girlfriend Aimee and her family in celebration of her Master's degree! We sat right in front of the glass window that overlooked the kitchen. There, we got to watch as Chef Russell Siu gave his final approval and finishing touches as each of the plates went out to be served.

I started off with the Shichimi Seared Ahi Salad, which was big enough (and satisfying enough) to be my dinner. It was a bed of Nalo Greens topped off with Ahi cooked medium rare, grilled shiitake mushrooms, pea sprouts, won bok, red onions, crispy won ton, and a soy sesame dressing. This was a wonderful blend of vegetables and mushrooms with a well-balanced dressing that accented the salad and its key ingredients.

For dinner, I had the Masago Arare Crusted Ahi Steak. This was a steak of ahi cooked medium rare and coated with tiny balls of fried rice crackers topped with bonito and served with a yuzu butter sauce and a drizzle of kabayaki sauce. On the side were cispy roulades of watercress, which were very delicious in the yuzu/kabayaki sauce. I thought it was an interesting way to present the watercress, which was slightly tender, yet crispy. This was the perfect dish for me, because I LOVE yuzu, and also really like kabayaki sauce!

Also delicious was the classic Chinese Steamed Fillet of Fresh Snapper. The snapper was lightly seared and simmered in a chinese black bean broth. This is usually what I order when I come here, but I decided to try something new this time.

My girlfriend ordered the Baked Stuffed Breast of Chicken, which was filled with spinach, prosciutto, and provolone cheese, coated with fresh bread crumbs and a mushroom sherry sauce and tomato concasse. I sampled her dish and I enjoyed the spinach and prosciutto combination. She doesn't eat seafood, so she enjoyed it very much.

It wouldn't be a proper celebration unless we had dessert, so we all ordered some to share! It was a tough choice, but as always, I had to have the famous bread pudding. The flavors change, depending on the night and this time it was Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip! It was scrumptous as always!

The Wam Chocolate Souffle Cake is the other dessert that I was torn over, and luckily someone else ordered it. It was a decadent, oozy mix of chocolate, ice cream and mocha sauce. Need I say more?

So once again, 3660 on the Rise proved to be a great place for celebrating a special occasion! Congratulations Aimee!

3660 on the Rise
3660 Waialae Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816

Bangkok Chef

These days, its rare to find a place that offers good food at a cheap price. I'm glad to say that I discovered a little whole in the wall that serves up a great plate of Thai food for only $5.60! Bangkok Chef is a Thai restaurant/take-out place that operates out of a converted garage (yes, its literally an old garage... door and everything!) over in Nuuanu. With that said, don't expect any fine dining ambience, but its worth a visit (or two)! My dad took me to this place for dinner one night and we had no problem finding a table to eat on, but it was very busy with take-out orders. If you go during peak lunch or dinner hours parking can be a real tight squeeze because this spot is quite popular and offers only a few small stalls out in front.

The Thai Green Curry was a spicy blend of chicken, eggplant, bamboo shoots, kaffir lime leaves, peas, fresh basil, and coconut milk. The menu said that it was the spiciest curry, and I agree, it had just the right amount of spice to satisfy me, yet not overpowering the flavor of the food. We ordered it with brown rice (Thai style) which was slightly sweeter and fragrant than typical brown rice, and consisted of longer grains.

We also ordered to Basil Chicken, which was advertised as being "sliced chicken breast, sauteed with oyster sauce, bamboo shoots, chili pepper, garlic, and fresh basil. If you go there, please do not order this... you will be very disappointed (well, we were anyway). It should be called "Bamboo Shoot Basil" or something along those lines, because the dish was filled with bamboo shoots and a few pieces of chicken. When I opened the styrofoam container, I couldn't even figure out what it was that we ordered! Now maybe this is where we felt their pennies being pinched the most! It was not very appetizing.

Aside from the main courses which are $5.60, there are other salads and noodle dishes for a little more. For $7.25, we got a Mango Salad. This was the first time I had anything like it. It was shredded green mango with carrot, shallot, chinese parsley, chili peppers, and cashew nuts in a spicy, house dressing. I could have had a little less dressing on it, but other than that, it was very delicious! It reminded me of the papaya salad that I'm more accustomed to.

In order to make up for the horrible "Basil Chicken" we ordered Thai Crispy Noodles ($4.75). These tiny deep fried rice noodles served crispy with bean sprouts, green onions, and carrots with a sweet and salty sauce.

My favorite part was dessert!! It was called "House Delight," which was a scoop of rich mango ice cream served over warm coconut-flavored sticky rice and sprinkles of crushed peanuts. It was so good that I couldn't stop eating it! It also has a little mint garnish on it that actually tastes really yummy with the flavors of the mango and coconut. I just loved the warm and cold combination paired with the gooey and sticky textures! This was a great way to end the night's meal!

The unique thing about this converted garage is that there is also a little "open market" type thing as well. There are some fresh vegetables and imported sauces and condiments that you can buy. My dad bought some curry paste and coconut milk to use at home and it turned out really well! There was also this snack that I wanted to try. It was some type of sweet sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves, but after all that food, I couldn't fit another thing into my stomach!

Bangkok Chef
1627 Nuuanu Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96817