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by Pei-Ling Wang, JOUR 3000

The Tiki Café is one of the closest to HPU, located on Hotel Street near its intersection with Fort Street Mall. It serves Taiwanese-style sandwiches and plate lunches, and changes the plate lunch every day. The lunches often combine local favorites with a Taiwanese touch, according to the Tiki’s owner, Selina Lu, who said that many people come to the café for a new taste sensation.

“ We serve Taiwanese-famous pearl bubble tea, in popular honeydew, strawberry, and taro favorites, or one can even custom make a drink from our wide selection of flavoring,” said Lu. She added that she and her husband were both HPU students.

“ After graduating,” Lu said, “we decided to live in Hawai‘i and open a shop near the HPU campus. We wanted to open a shop that serviced food that had the feel of home, for those Taiwanese students who study here, and we also wanted to introduce the locals to Taiwanese food.”

Another popular Taiwanese restaurant is Shou-Lan Kitchen, located in the Chinese Culture Plaza. The shop offers a variety of Taiwanese noodle soups, and their popular favorites are beef noodle soup and won ton noodle soup.

“ You have to come and try our beef noodle soup,” said the owner, Mr. Lin, who added that the secret to the soup’s popularity is “our secret spices, which make it more flavorful than others.”
Lin and his wife emigrated from Taiwan, but after a few years here they missed their hometown flavors. Since Mrs. Lin was a chef in Taiwan, they decided to open a shop that provides Taiwanese cuisine to whoever wanted to comfort a homesick stomach.

Shou-Lan Kitchen also offers some traditional Taiwanese dishes, such as steamed fried tofu, and pig intestine stew, dishes which Westerners may find strange, but which actually are quite tasty.

A third popular Taiwanese restaurant is K.C. Kitchen, which is located on the Nuuanu River channel side of the Chinese Culture Plaza. The “K.C.” in the Kitchen is for Mr. K. Chen, the owner, who has a typical Taiwanese personality, which means he treats everyone like family or close pals, so customers can feel welcome and enjoy a home-style warmth on entering.

K.C. Kitchen specialties are meat sauce and pork chops on rice, which are like a Taiwanese katsu don. When someone orders a dish, the waitress will ask if he or she wants to add a stew boiled egg for 50 cents. Chen is especially proud of the egg, and of the price, since once he went to Las Vegas where adding an egg cost ten times as much.

“ Moreover,” Chen added, “the little eggs need to stew at least 24 hours with special ingredients,” so they are a time-consuming creation for him.

The K.C. Kitchen also offers stir-fry rice noodles and Zong-Zi, which is made of mochi rice, pork, mushroom, peanuts, and shrimp and wrapped in bamboo leaves which provide a light aroma to the mochi rice. One can eat it with hot sauce or a traditional meat and radish sauce, considered a Taiwanese delicacy.

Honolulu provides lots of opportunities for people to try Taiwanese food. Even though it may not taste as good here as it does in Taiwan, the experience of trying can be memorable.

Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.

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