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Grindz of the Day: On On Chinese, Brian’s Hawaiian Kitchen & More


On On Chinese Restaurant Lunch Plate: Sweet & Sour Spare Ribs, Beef Choy Sum Noodles, Crispy Gau Gee and Steamed Rice

Mark this as a “first” on this food blog for a consecutive “Grindz of the Day”. Yet hey, it is another day, right? Where today we start from where? Da’ beginning! Don’t you love when I peel away your time saying these things? lol

Enough “fluff”. We’re here today — which actually was yesterday — at On On Chinese Restaurant on Kapahulu Avenue, just a step away from Leonard’s Bakery, and also right across the street from the awesome Kapahulu Safeway. Here for some “Pake” priced lunch time grindz, in the form of their Lunch Plate, which includes Sweet & Sour Spare Ribs, Beef Choy Sum Noodles, Crispy Gau Gee and Steamed Rice. All that for a thrifty $8.50 cents.

Please now allow me now to translate that into “Canton-English” for you: “Shee Show Spay Wee, Bee Choy Suh Noo-oles, Kee-pee Gau, Why Lye. Aye Dollah Fitty.” Roger that? OK, good. LOL!!!!

Next up, we have the same plate, except it’s all “Shee Show Spay Wee” (Sweet & Sour Spare Ribs), which was by design per my mom’s request. She LOVES this stuff.

Now you may be wondering where I’m getting this heavy Cantonese accent, which would be from none other than the absolutely GORGEOUS owner of On On Chinese Restaurant on Kapahulu, Mrs. Jamie Lum…


Jamie Lum, owner of On On Chinese Restaurant on on Kapahulu Avenue ~ 10.09.16

Jamie tells me that she’s originally from the Guangzhou province of China, nearby Northwest of Hong Kong, hence her heavy Cantonese dialect and cooking style, as are most Chinese restaurants here on Oahu. I asked Jamie what “On On” means, and she quickly answered, saying it means “Comfortable”. NICE! On On = “Comfortable Chinese Restaurant”. Love it!

And Jamie really is a darling. Very sweet, saying how much she loves the people in Hawaii, and that she wouldn’t want to live anywhere else but right here, doing what she does, cooking delicious Cantonese food for the folks who drop by her restaurant on bustling Kapahulu avenue.

Here’s On On Chinese Restsaurant’s most current takeout menu…

Next up, we’re at Brian’s Hawaiian Kitchen in the Ward Warehouse Food Court…


Brian’s Hawaiian Kitchen Mochiko Chicken (dang, that’s a tongue twister!) with Sweet Chili Sauce. $8.50

And? Well, this was actually Diner K’s plate, as she loves her chicken, however I tried a piece and thought it was pretty good. Especially when dipped in the sweet ‘n sour sauce, which I appreciate they gave not just 1 or 2, but three to make sure the dish is complete from start to end. Dig that. The Mochiko breading had a nice glutenous mouth feel, while the chicken within was fairly moist ‘n tender. The Mac was decent. Not “creamy mellow” great, but decent. I like my Mac to be creamy and low key. This one was a bit loud, but not too loud. Know what I mean? lol

Still at the Ward Warehouse Food Court, right  next door to Brian’s Hawaiian Kitchen, we have a Kalbi plate from Korean BBQ Express


Korean BBQ Express Kalbi plate. $11.00

As usual, you get 4 choices of Banchan at Korean BBQ Express, where with this Kalbi plate Bean Sprouts, Mac Salad, Korean Potato Salad and Japchae. And? Excellent, especially for the price. I still can’t believe Yummy’s is charging almost $20 for a takeout plate of Kalbi. Sheesh.


Live Mirugai (Geoduck) Clams from Ke’eaumoku “Koreamoku” Super Market ~ $29.99/lb.

Speaking of loud, next up we have food fodder from Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign, made ever so clear from last night’s debate with Hillary. Nah, just kidding. That’s just “locker room banter”. lol

Actually, these are live Mirugai (Geoduck) Clams from Ke’eaumoku Super Market, not surprisingly, on “Koreamoku” Street, right across McDonald’s. It’s a pretty cool Korean market with really good prices, similar to Palama Market, right around the corner. Dang it. I so wish they named it “Koreamoku Super Market”. That would have been WAY more cool! LOL!!!!

While we’re on foods with an interesting appearance, above is Rambutan, a fruit I tried from Frankie’s Nursery at the KCC Farmers Market. As you can tell, it’s a close relative to Lychee, with the same type of flesh and seed within. However it turned out not quite as sweet and juicy as locally-grown Lychee. Still good, but no can touch locally-grown Lychee. Always da’ bes’!


Ke’eaumoku “Koreamoku” Super Market Kalbi plate $11.00

So there above is “Koreamoku’s” take on Kalbi, for a very nice price, and pretty dang good Kalbi, FWIW. Same for the banchan: Kimchi here is super tasty, and so was the Mac Salad, hitting all the right “cool ‘n creamy simplicity”, fresh-tasting points. Pickled Gobo, good stuff, too. All for $11, sweet deal.

Finally, still at “Koreamoku” Super Market, like any other market filled with imported groceries, their freezer case was no exception, stocked to the hilt with all kinds of crazy Korean ice cream bars, with crazy names. As for example this one above called “BABAMBAR”. Not sure if Emeril Lagasse has interests in this, but if he doesn’t, he should! lol Seriously, soon to come on this blog, I’ll  be reviewing these imported North Korean (nah, just kidding, it’s South Korean) ice cream bars from “Koreamoku” Super Market, and give you my American palate’s take on it.

Until then, don’t forget to vote! Trump? Hillary? None of the above? lol

8 thoughts on “Grindz of the Day: On On Chinese, Brian’s Hawaiian Kitchen & More

  • October 10, 2016 at 11:14 am
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    I wanna kiss those spareribs and grab it by the p**sy!!!

    Reply
  • October 10, 2016 at 11:35 am
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    So I take it On On will make a main dish into a plate lunch, is that correct? Same price and how does one order?

    Reply
  • October 10, 2016 at 11:47 am
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    Pat,

    Jamie seems very flexible, as I overheard her telling other dine-in patrons that “can can, we can do that” for custom orders. In fact, my order was customized, where one plate was modified with just spare ribs, substituted for the Beef Choy Sum, per Mom’s request. Of course, it will depend on the preparation of the dish, whether that’s feasible.

    I must note, the dining room itself is quite nice and cozy, so you might want to consider dining in at On On.

    Reply
  • October 10, 2016 at 1:26 pm
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    Pomai, Lum is a big name in Hawaii.  I am also Lum.  Cantonese love sweet

    and sour dishes and it different from Northern Chinese for the Northern use

    more rice vinegar and no ketup in sauce.

    Reply
  • October 11, 2016 at 7:41 am
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    Funny the way I say sweet and sour pork spareribs is Tim Seen Pile Kwhat.

    Reply
  • October 11, 2016 at 10:36 am
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    Is On On related in any way to the old On On that was in McCully?  IIRC, that one served northern Chinese cuisine.

    Reply
    • October 11, 2016 at 2:41 pm
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      Kyle,

      Jamie, the owner in the photo above, told me she arrived in Hawaii from her home town province of Guonghzou, which is Northwest of Hong Kong Island, in 1986. And that area is still far from the north of China. So I’m going to guess no, it’s not the same owner. However you can call her at the number on the menu to confirm. She understands and speaks relatively good English.

      Amy,

      Is “Tim Seen Pile Kwhat” the proper Cantonese way of saying Sweet & Sour Spare Ribs? I’m just used to the way the waitress at Kin Wah Chop Suey used to say it: “She Sha’u Spay Wee”. LOL

      Yup, if you look in the Oahu phone book’s white pages (do they still print those?), there’s almost 2 pages of residents by the name LUM, with quite a few being either dentists or doctors. Same for LEE, CHANG, CHING, CHONG, CHOY, and on and on and on. Then you get the Chinese name combos, like Johnny Lum Ho (the awesome Kumu Hula from the Big Island).

      Reply
  • October 11, 2016 at 9:16 pm
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    Pomai,

    I think we need an article on Sweet Sour Spareribs. With a number of tasters, including your mother. The usual haunts like L&L and ChinaTown Express (Ala Moana food court), but also On On and other places that have it every day. We need ratings. Your Alpha team might have to mount up and Mom draw up a battle plan. Might take a couple weeks.

    Reply

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