Sunday, December 5, 2010

Good Eats: Chun Wah Kam

This Good Eats is geared more towards the fusion/pan-asian crowd.  If you like manapua (Hawaiian for cha siu baau or Cantonese pork buns) then this place puts a different spin on the ordinary pork bun.  There are two basic kinds of pork buns:  1) steamed which the bun is white and 2) baked which the bun is brown and glazed.  The bun is more dense than "regular" bread, but still light with a slight sweet taste.  This place takes the ordinary pork bun and raised it a notch by using a variety fillings in the buns, transforming it into a Hawaiian treat.

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Chun Wah Kam is located in Kalihi, northwest of Waikiki.  It is a noodle factory that makes noodles for local restaurants, but expanded to manapua and eventually plate lunches.  This isn't a restaurant, but more of a Chinese take out place.  There are no chairs or tables and the parking lot is small.  Come during mid-morning or lunch.   If you come too early, not all the different buns will be ready.  If you come late, some will be sold out.  

As you walk in it appears like your normal Chinese take-out place.  Notice the small sign on the wall: "Unattended Children Will Be Sold As Slaves."  Parents, keep an eye on your little ones.

Of course, this place has the usual Chinese fair for plate lunches.  The lunches are affordable and filling.  

If the line is long, then you need to take a ticket.  The red ticker is to the left of the door as you walk in and on the wall is the daily specials.  

On the dry erase board is today's specials!  As they run out, they'll erase the buns.  There are several flavors, but try the roast duck, nikuman (Japanese pork hash, shitake mushrooms, and onions), kalua pork, spicy pork, curry chicken, teriyaki beef, pizza, and sweet potatoe among others.  The different buns have different colored dots on the top to tell them apart.  The specials change daily, but the regular menu items stay the same.  And notice the prices!  You can easily get a box of 5 for a good lunch.  

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