To celebrate Chinese New Year here in Hawaii, we’ve been sampling a lot of Chinese food. Chinese food is one of America’s most popular cuisines, and with a large Chinese immigrant population in Hawaii, we get to sample some of the best. Here’s our list of our 10 best Chinese restaurants on Oahu. Read this post to find out how we culinary worldschool our children for Year of the Dog, kid-friendly Chinese New Year reading recommendations, and our favorite Chinese restaurants on Oahu.
Year of the Dog
Lion dance is a form of traditional dance in Chinese culture and other Asian countries in which performers mimic a lion's movements in a lion costume to bring good luck and fortune. Firecrackers are lit in front of houses and stores so that the evil spirits are scared away from the loud noises. 🇨🇳💥🥠🐉 #chinesenewyear #hawaiieats #chinatown #mkbkids #hawaiikids #worldschool #hawaiilife #chinatown #dragondance #hawaiifamily
We’re lucky we live in Hawaii, it’s such a diverse US state. This means we get to celebrate and learn about a plethora of festivals from around the world. This year in the Chinese New Year tradition is the year of the dog, based on the Chinese zodiac, which moves in 12-year cycles.
Gung Hei Fat Choy!
Last weekend we took them to Chinatown and watched the Chinese New Year Parade. We saw a traditional Chinese dance called the Lion dance where performers mimic a lion’s movements in a lion costume. This is done to bring good luck and fortune as we ring in the Chinese New Year. The dance will filled with movement and firecrackers that are lit to ward off evil spirits with the loud noise. The also kids learned to the Cantonese saying Gung Hei Fat Choy, which is a way to wish those celebrating Chinese New Year a happy new year. It translates to wishes of great happiness and prosperity.
Kid-friendly Worldschooling Chinese New Year Books
As you know my two children, Lou Lou and Jaf, are worldschoolers with an emphasis placed on culinary worldschooling. What that means is that we homeschool them and travel the world, and a lot of their curriculum is based on learning about world culture through cuisine and food.
If you’re new to the worldschooling bus, check out Multicultural Kid Blogs – they provide us with a variety of resources, and even have this lovely post on the Year of the Dog, Earth Dog Year Fun Facts.
Here are a few books my two kid-foodies are reading in preparation for celebrating Chinese New Year.
Chinese Restaurants on Oahu
My kids really enjoy their culinary worldschooling program, especially when it comes to cooking food and tasting different cuisines. To celebrate Chinese New Year here in Hawaii, we’ve been sampling a lot of Chinese food. And here’s our list of our 10 best Chinese restaurants on Oahu.
Little Village Noodle House
This is one of the kid-foodies favorite places to eat since it’s right next to us, in the heart of Chinatown. If you’re in the mood of Chinese food and find yourself in Chinatown, head here – it’s always packed but worth the wait. The service is always good and the food is affordable especially for the portion size. We like the shrimp fried rice, and always order a noodle dish with black bean sauce, lemongrass, mushrooms, and garlic.
Kid-Foodie Favorites: Sesame pancakes, Mushu rolls, and for dessert, try the Mini Spiral Buns
Moon Garden Restaurant
Looking for authentic Chinese food? Look no further than Moon Garden Restaurant located in Kalihi. The food is good, prices affordable, and selection blast. The salt n pepper fried shrimp and honey bbq spare ribs are popular choices, and kid-foodie approved! If you plan on going with a large group, we recommend calling ahead and making a reservation, as the restaurant isn’t that large. A lot of regulars recommend calling a day ahead and placing your order before heading in as they tend to run out of favorites quickly.
Kid-Foodie Favorites: Drunken clams with garlic, Honey BBQ ribs, and salt and pepper fried shrimp
🍜🌶️♥️ I mean this is quite a SKILL, isn't it? AWESOME LIFT DOPE! PC to @eatmelasvegas 🙏🏻 小时候总爱在吃面前拿筷子先gáo一hà, 再猛的把一坨面liān起来撒子的。 （川普8级且领略到此绝技的胖友让我看到你们的双手！🙌🏻 #chengdu #chinese #cuisine #food #noodlelift #beef #noodle #spicy #foodporn #foodgram #instafood #skill #lasvegas #foodie #foodlover #travel #destination #restaurant #foodblog #dope #repost #tag4like #tag4follow #life #asian #pride #repost #四川 #重庆
We’re big fans of Chinese szechuan cuisine, so finding a restaurant on Oahu that serves it up is a pleasant surprise. If you’re not aware, szechuan cuisine is known for its spicy dishes and rest assured, Chendgu Taste doesn’t disappoint. While the adults will enjoy wontons in a spicy chili sauce, toothpick lamb, and pork with garlic chili oil, there are plenty of non-spicy items for the kids.
Kid-Foodie Favorites: Dan dan noodles with pork, and Chengdu Fried Rice
House of Wong
House of Wong is a lovely hidden gem in the Kaimuki dining scene. The Cantonese food served here is delicious, and served family style so pick a number of dishes and enjoy them all together. They tend to get busy especially during lunch-hour – we’ve seen Chinese tourist tour buses dropping tourists off here for lunch!
Kid-Foodie Favorites: Seafood Crispy Noodles
Sweet Home Glad
This is our go-to family dinner place because we can guarantee every member of the family can get what they want without us breaking the bank. The kids get chicken katsu, lemon chicken (which are the same chicken just different sauces), house fried rice and either BBQ pork ribs or cheeseburger. We always have to get the Chinese chicken salad, steamed fish fillet (a MUST-TRY) and jasmine rice. The service is always awesome and it’s a very clean dining area.
Kid-Foodie Favorites: Chicken Katsu, Lemon Chicken, House Fried Rice
Dew Drop Inn
Like all hole-in-the-walls (which we LOVE!), this place doesn’t look like anything extraordinary. But, step inside to a clean and well-decorated restaurant serving up Northern Chinese dishes. We recommend spending your morning at the Honolulu Museum of Art and then walking over for a lunch consisting of plenty of dumplings and fresh noodle dishes.
Kid-Foodie Favorites: Shrimp & Pork Potstickers, Green Onion Pancakes, Taiwanese Noodles
Dowon Chinese Restaurant
We love getting dinner here because the dishes on offer are a blend of Korean and Chinese cuisines. It’s not as weird as you might think, and trying a couple of dishes will definitely convince you that fusion Korean-Chinese food should be a thing! We highly recommend trying Jajangmyeon which is a Korean-Chinese noodle dish made with a thick black bean sauce, garlic fried chicken, and veggies.
Kid-Foodie Favorites: Garlic Chicken with mushrooms and bamboo shoots, and Gan Poon Gi – Korean-Chinese sweet & sour chicken
Roast Duck Kitchen
Located in Aiea, Roast Duck Kitchen is popular with the locals! When I say popular, I mean if you don’t get there fast enough, they’ll be sold out! There’s no other place we love than Roast Duck for getting some good, crispy AND tasty peking duck. Their roast chicken is just as good, too. FYI, it’s just takeout only – so don’t go expecting to have a sit down meal.
Kid-Foodie Favorites: Roast duck, and roast pork.
You cannot come to Hawaii and not try a manapua! Manapua’s (short for mea ‘ono pua’a, meaning “thing delicious pork” in Hawaiian) is the Hawaii-version of a the Chinese Char Siu Bao pork buns. They were introduced to the islands when the Chinese immigrants arrived in the 1700’s. The Manapua is larger, is either steamed or baked, and can be found with fun fillings such as hot dog, yam, red bean, portuguese sausage, curried chicken, kalua pig, etc. While there are a number of places to try Manapua on the island, we quite like the variety of offerings from Honolulu Kitchen in Waipahu.
Kid-Foodie Favorites:Signature Deep Fried Manapua, Char Siu (BBQ pork), Kahlua Pig, Spinach Artichoke
Kin Wah Chop Suey
Saving the best for last…My family and I have been going here for years. They greet us by name when entering the restaurant and always give the kids free lollipops. Their food is delicious and the tea is awesome. Any time we’re on the Windward side, I find an excuse to head over to Kin Wah for lunch or dinner. Even if we’re just passing through, I try to see if I can do some take out. They’ve been around for so long that I remember going as a kid and feeling the same way.
Kid-Foodie Favorites: Chow fun, Chow mein with beef broccoli, Boneless minute chicken….this is a must, and the black bean clams
Did we miss your favorite Chinese Restaurant on Oahu? Let us know in the comments below!
Visiting Oahu? Here are a few of our recommended Honolulu tours:
Like It? Click to Pin It!!0