Pork Hash, Shrimp Dumplings and Shanghai Dumplings

Pork Hash, Shrimp Dumplings and Shanghai Dumplings

Cultural Plaza
100 N. Beretania St., #108
Phone number (808) 532-1868

I lived a very sheltered life growing up when it came to Chinese food. As I understood it, Chinese food came in takeout containers from the house of a very popular panda. I’m still fond of that Americanized notion of Chinese cuisine, sure, but as an adult, I’ve also developed an appreciation for authenticity.

The problem, though, is that I still don’t really know what the hell I’m doing. I’m a creature of habit who goes to the same places all the time. Literally, all the time — for the past two years, for example, I’ve gone to The Mandalay Restaurant (which I’ve previously featured in Gastronome) when I’m craving dim sum.

To get out of my rut, I willingly let Metro social media manager Nicole Kato and staff writer Paige Takeya talk me into giving Legend Seafood Restaurant a try, which is where we found ourselves last Tuesday for lunch.

BBQ Pork Manapua

BBQ Pork Manapua

It certainly was a different experience than what I had grown accustomed to. At The Mandalay, dim sum is selected via a photo chart and paper form. At Legend, servers who walk around with carts full of different steamed and fried options stop at each table for diners to make an instant selection.

It was such a thrilling sensory experience, and yeah, yeah, yeah, I know — I sound like such a newb. Sue me.

While it was exciting, it was just a little daunting because I felt so unsure of what to get. Thankfully, like the good work parents they are, Nicole and Paige stepped in, plucking items like steaming Pork Hash, BBQ Pork Manapua, Shrimp Dumplings, Taro Puffs, a trio of what I affectionately refer to as pork pies served in little tin pans (we think its technical name is Shanghai Dumplings) and more, from carts that swiftly moved back and forth throughout the restaurant.

As generic as it sounds, I think the Pork Hash was my favorite — hot, plump, salty and succulent with little bits of mushrooms that added an earthiness with every bite. The Scallop and Spinach dumplings were large and full of soft spinach and bite-sized scallops that didn’t feel overcooked, and the Taro Puffs were light and crispy outside, and soft and savory inside.

Taro Puffs

Taro Puffs

Other items, like the BBQ Pork Manapua, were just OK. The bread wasn’t flaky so much as it sort of just broke off in chunks, though the BBQ pork inside was tender and had that balanced sweet/ salty flavor.

But for me, dim sum doesn’t boil down to just the food, it has a lot do with the experience as well. So as I sat watching the flurry of activity with groups walking in and out, and commiserating with Nicole and Paige about life in general, biting into a Pork Hash or Shrimp Dumpling in between, I felt pleasantly content.

And then, you know, succinctly went into a food coma.



If you’re an avid reader of Metro and Gastronome — you are, right? — then you know by now that my forever finicky stomach recently has chosen to reject dairy.


Sad? Yes, but I’m surviving.

Still, it makes me wistful to learn that Uncle Tetsu Japanese Cheesecake has opened its first location in the U.S. right here in Honolulu at Royal Hawaiian Center. The fianc , however, has had a bite and reports that it just might be the best cheesecake he’s ever had. I’ll take his word for it.

Along with its signature cheesecakes, Uncle Tetsu also will offer special items like a Hawaiian Coffee Cheesecake, along with “Asian-inspired beverages.”

Uncle Tetsu is located on the Diamond Head side of Paina Lanai Food Court on the second level of building B, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.