web analytics

“Pic Your Plate” at Sunny Chinese Restaurant

When I was a little boy, my sister was in high school at Kamehameha, while during that time back in the early 70s, the top “boy bands” of the time were The Osmonds and the Jackson 5. What I remember most about that, was her bedroom, where she had posters of them, literally, WALL-TO-WALL. I kid you not, every square inch of wall space in her bedroom was covered by either a picture of Donny Osmond and his brothers, Michael Jackson and his brothers, plus a few other young male heartthrobs of the time. I think David Cassidy of the Partridge Family was also one of them.

Well enter Sunny Chinese Restaurant, where instead of the likes of Justin Beiber and Zac Efron, there’s foodie photos, again, literally WALL-TO-WALL of just about every Cantonese dish you could throw a Chow Funn noodle at.

So yes it’s true, you can figuratively “pic your plate” at Sunny Chinese Restaurant! Check it out…

Is that CRAZY or what?! Dude, talk about “counter freeze”! I don’t whether to pick #7, #17, or the Kung Pao Shrimp, pictured at the top wall corner, next to the air conditioner. “See, the one over there.” LOL!

And just when you thought the wall-to-wall dish photos are overwhelming with options, check out the menu!…

That’s 167 regular items, plus 49 “family pack” (catering) items, plus 20 fried rice combos, plus 7 breakfast items, plus 6 “misc.” plates, plus 4 different family pack combos, making that a total of 253 different items to choose. DANG! You know what, forget it. I’m so confused, I’ll just head down the street and grab a Cold Cut Combo from Subway. lol

Actually, I had already covered the subject about how Chinese restaurants typically have 100 ways to serve beef, 200 ways to serve pork and 300 ways to serve chicken, fish, rice and noodles in a previous post named “Chinese Combo #1005“. Which not surprisingly, also featured Sunny Chinese Restaurant.

This was actually the first time I visited Sunny’s myself, and let’s just say it’s quite “amusing” being in that restaurant, with all those photos of the food staring at you everywhere you turn. I’ve never seen anything quite like that before. Total trip! lol

Anyway, believe it or not, we actually did make up our mind on what to get, ordering takeout of their Sweet & Sour Pork, plus a combo of their Black Bean Beef and Charsiu…


Sunny Chinese Restaurant Sweet & Sour Pork (squint your eyes and you’ll see Justin Beiber lol)


Sunny Chinese Restaurant Black Bean Beef (squint your eyes and you’ll see Zac Effron lol)


Sunny Chinese Restaurant Charsiu (squint your eyes and you’ll see RuPaul LOL!)

So what I plan to do is print out the pictures of the plates I ordered shown above, and plaster it on my bedroom wall, continuing to do that with every Chinese dish I order from here on, until the every square in of wall and ceiling space is completely covered with Chinese food photos. I think that would make my bedroom decor look fabulous, don’t you? Then I’ll probably have “sweet dreams” every night of Kung Pao Beef and Honey Walnut Shrimp. LOL! Nah, just kidding, hell no would I do that!

Seriously, how was the grindz? Awesome sauce! EXCELLENT Cantonese style Chinese takeout! It’s also worth noting, both the Sweet & Sour Pork and Black Bean Beef were made to order in a hot wok (I got a peek at the cook back in the kitchen making it), not precooked and kept in warming pans. Seriously, if they were closer to where I live, I’d definitely go back again and again for more, what we ordered was that fantastic! As it is, Sunny Chinese Restaurant is located in the heart of Kalihi, a.k.a. “God’s Country”, a.k.a. “The Center of Hawaii’s Food Universe”, on the makai side, right past the Kapalama Post Office, next to the Old Saimin House.

Sunny Chinese Restaurant
1311 N. King Street #F-3
Honolulu, Hawaii  96817

Tel. (808) 843-1199

Open Monday to Saturday 11am to 11pm, Sunday closed

The Tasty Island rating

(5) Superb. Worthy of repeat visits or purchases. (Broke Da’ Mout’!)

The Tasty Island related links:
Kalihi Eats: The Old Saimin House
Chinese Combo #1005

20 thoughts on ““Pic Your Plate” at Sunny Chinese Restaurant

  • October 28, 2016 at 6:29 pm
    Permalink

    The only thing is bell pepper instead of the traditional onions and a cabbage such as won bok.

    Reply
  • October 28, 2016 at 8:24 pm
    Permalink

     
    Pomai,
     
    I don’t think I’ll be visiting Sunny Chinese Restaurant as their selection is limited. They don’t offer egg rolls, crab rangoon or fried wontons nor do they offer beef or chicken teriyaki. There are a lot of Chinese cuisine dishes they do not serve that I like to eat however they do serve clams in black bean sauce which I love.

    Reply
  • October 28, 2016 at 10:12 pm
    Permalink

    Not that I’m stalking you but were you over in Don Quijote on Thursday around noon? It was kind of weird seeing a face you think you recognize somewhere unexpected – like running into a cousin at an airport far from home.

    Reply
  • October 29, 2016 at 7:14 am
    Permalink

    @ Jody A – Yup, that was probably me. Sounds about the time I was there on that day. You should have stopped me and said hello! I’ve actually ran into several of my readers at Don Quijote, of all places; one reader all the way from Australia!

    @ Ken – Whew, for a second I thought you weren’t going to visit Sunny’s because you assumed the sodium levels were too high. LOL!

    @ pat – are you referring to the bell peppers in the Sweet & Sour Pork  (“Shee Sha’u Poh”)? If so, I don’t ever recall that dish having onions and won bok cabbage in it. Must be a Kauai thing.

     

    Reply
    • October 29, 2016 at 8:42 am
      Permalink

      Pomai, here is something a bit more like I remember and envision the dish.

      http://asiasociety.org/files/beefblackbeansauce.jpg

      Note, tomatoes  and all peppers are relatively recent additions to Chinese cuisine. Tomatoes and Bell peppers much later than the chili pepper which arrived in China via the Portuguese about 1650 or so. The other two appear to have been incorporated into Chinese cooking in the late 1800s. Likely via Hong Kong. BTW, many of the most famous Chinese dishes served in American restaurants were invented in Hawaii.

      Reply
  • October 29, 2016 at 11:01 am
    Permalink

    Pomai, crab rangoons and most Chinese restaurants like my cousins do not

    serve it for it not really Chinese.  It was created by American Chinese type

    places.  Fried wonton is indeed Chinese I help long time ago wraping it.

     

    Sunny restaurant seem like a great place to head to (not to let my cousins

    know) since they are at Waipahu) for some quick Chinese food.

     

     

    Reply
    • October 29, 2016 at 6:47 pm
      Permalink

       
      @Amy,
       
       Thank you for enlightening me on the fact crab rangoon is an American-Chinese invention and not true Chinese.
       
      I lived in Hong Kong for close to 6-months and it was a very rude awaking to me and my relationship to Chinese cuisine as what was being served in American mainland has been Americanized Chinese food and not true Chinese cuisine.
       
      My friend’s father operated the oldest Chinese restaurant in my city and was proud to travel to Hong Kong to refresh his authentic chefs almost yearly cooking the 5 Chinese disciplines of cuisine so it was very easy to get caught up in thinking what was being served in the restaurant was from China.
       
      My friend’s father passed away and now he is operating the restaurant going on over 60 years in operation and still imports his chefs from Hong Kong like his father did.

      Reply
  • October 29, 2016 at 3:59 pm
    Permalink

    @ Amy – Yes, I know Crab Rangoon is an American-Chinese invention, as is the Fortune Cookie; the latter of which believe it or not was fashioned after the Japanese Tea Cookie.

    I’m sure WaipaHU! has some great Chinese restaurants. Every neighborhood on the island has one. ;-)

    @ Pat – thanks for the info and image link on Black Bean Beef. I’m a huge bell pepper fan, and local Chinese Beef Tomato (my fave!) would be totally amiss without it! I really loved the big chunks of bell peppers in the Sweet & Sour Pork. When I made my own previously, I just added Daikon and Carrots. But from now on, Bell Peppers will be in there too!

    What I want to know is how in the heck that cook at Sunny’s can remember how to prepare all 260 dishes. That’s a lot of ingredients and recipes! I do notice many look to share the same sauce base, just with different veggies and/or meats in it.

    Reply
    • October 30, 2016 at 9:48 am
      Permalink

      Well this got us in the mood for Chinese food. So we ordered Duck and Watercress, Eggplant stuffed with Pork Hash, Chicken Tofu, and Salt and Pepper Squid. All Take out, of course.

      Reply
  • October 30, 2016 at 10:45 am
    Permalink

    @ pat – What Chinese Restaurant on Kauai is your favorite and/or the one you went to today?

     

    @ Ken – I’m surprised you didn’t know Crab Rangoon is an American-Chinese invention. I’m willing to bet Honey Walnut Shrimp is as well, as Mayonnaise — its key ingredient — is clearly western.

    Didn’t know you lived in Hong Kong for 6 months. You’d fit right in there, looks-wise. Probably folks there would think you’re from Macau (Portuguese-Chinese mix).

    What are the “5 Chinese Disciplines of Cuisine”? I tried Google-Fu’ing it, to no avail.

    Let me take a shot at the “5 Chinese Disciplines of Cuisine” just for fun:

    1.) “When in doubt, deep-fry it.”

    2.) “100 different ways to cook beef, pork and seafood is great, but 300 ways to cook chicken is best, because it’s the cheapest.” And with that, “Have at least 400 menu items.”

    3.) “Hire your sister, brother, aunty and uncle from Hong Kong to work in your restaurant; in the long run, their labor cost is the cheapest and most reliable.”

    4.) “I Wok, You Roll… the money my way”

    5.) “All-You-Can-Eat Chinese Buffet diner’s time limit: 3 hours and 59 minutes.” After that, “You here 4 hour! You go now!”

    ;-P

    Reply
    • October 30, 2016 at 3:38 pm
      Permalink

       
      Pomai,
       
      I lived off and on for 6 months on mainland China side of Hong Kong proper in Kowloon when I was in Vietnam. Yes I know, lot of real Chinese people mistake me for Chinese as so with Japanese as well as my ability to blend into populations in Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Hawaii.
       
      “5 Chinese Disciplines of Cuisine” are Cantonese, Szechwan, Hunan, Mandarin and Shanghai cooking according to my close friend John Chan who gets his Chinese chefs from Hong Kong for his restaurant.

      Reply
    • October 30, 2016 at 4:56 pm
      Permalink

      We have only two in Lihue : Ho’s and Garden Island Barbecue. The former is a one family outfit at the mall, a popular and very filling lunch spot. The latter boasts a full Cantonese style menu like Sunny’s does here. But it seats a lot in an informal manner. I mean like 25 or so tables. We tried a new dish: Salt and Pepper  Squid, which was really like a wonderful calamari that my spouse and i agreed was as good as any Italian, with a unique sprinkling of very finely chopped vegetables and the squid was the very flavorful small California variety we used to use for bait. Will order again.

      Reply
  • October 30, 2016 at 11:24 am
    Permalink

    Honey walnut prawns which lot recipes does not have honey in it.

    It was created in Hong Kong fusion dish

     

    Reply
  • October 31, 2016 at 11:05 am
    Permalink

    @ Amy – Huh? Honey Walnut Shrimp doesn’t have Honey? Not according to this Panda Express recipe. And this recipe. I was actually surprised to learn it’s made with Mayonnaise. Such an unusual “breading” coating. Never would have guessed that. Whatever the case, HWS is definitely one of my Chinese restaurant fave!

    Interestingly, one person who said they lived in Hong Kong for several years claims they’ve never seen Honey Walnut Shrimp in any restaurant there. Go figure. Chalk that up for yet another Chinese-American (and sometimes Chinese-Hawaii) “invention”, along with Fortune Cookies and “Cake Noodle”.

    @ pat –  That Salt & Pepper Squid sounds awesome.I’m still curious in trying Jellyfish, which some Chinese restaurants here serve. Speaking of using squid for bait, this one dude I met not long ago while shoreline fishing was using Aku, with the skin on so that it resembled a tiny fish, and he was HOOKING UP! Hanapa’a!

    It seems most of the Chinese immigrants in Hawaii situated themselves on Oahu, as we have so many more Chinese restaurants (the best, arguably) than any other island. Not to mention many (local) Chinese Doctors, Dentists and Attorneys. Now I’m curious what the Hawaii Census stats are like for 2016, and how the demo’ breaks down from island to island. One interesting fact that was in the news not long ago, is that there’s more people in Hawaii who claim their part Filipino than any other race. So Filipinos in Hawaii are the master race! Ha ha! Me? Nope, no Filipino blood whatsoever, unless you consider every gal I’ve dated were all part Filipino. To me, the most beautiful women in the world. ;-) I know Kekaha on the west side of Kauai get plenty Filipinos, settled there from the sugarcane plantation days.

    @ Ken – I think you set a new record for shortest comment yet… and it’s still a long one! lol

    See, you air force jocks, all you did other than your brief stints dong air recon’ in ‘Nam was stay in fancy Hong Kong hotel rooms, bar hop and womanize. Otherwise, totally useless to the war effort. LOL! j/k Actually, yeah, your “kind of asian” looks was probably an asset in how you could blend in with the culture there, so you could totally be a spy and no one would know. ;-)

    Shouldn’t it be “5 Chinese Regions of Cuisine”? When I think “discipline, I think more the creed and proper practices, not areas. If your friend John Chan gets all his chefs (cooks) from Hong Kong, I’d think they all cook mostly Cantonese style. I’m definitely not into the spicy-hot Szechwan style (or as you say, “discipline”).

    What’s funny is, when I asked the gal who works the front and owns Sunny Chinese Restaurant “what style they cook”, she looked at me confused. I then asked her if their dishes are Cantonese, and she still didn’t know what I was talking about. So I then asked her if she’s from Hong Kong, and only then did that register with her. And she immediately replied, “Yes, we cook Hong Kong style!”. Go figure.

    On the flip side, Jamie Lum, owner of On On Chinese Restaurant on Kapahulu immediately knew what I asked, and confirmed she cooks Cantonese style, where she’s actually from Guanghzou province, to the Northwest of Hong Kong Island. Which makes sense geographically in culinary influence. That said, I cook “Waikiki style”. lol

     

    Reply
  • October 31, 2016 at 11:07 am
    Permalink

    The “Honey” in Honey Walnut Shrimp is on the Walnuts. Therefore the name “Honey Walnut”.Walnuts have a bitter taste so the  fried walnuts are tossed in Honey or if they go El cheapo, tossed in a thick simple syrup. The Special Sauce for the shrimp is a combo of condensed mild and mayo.  Talk about high calories. Sweet and Fat=recipe for spare tire.

    Reply
    • October 31, 2016 at 11:13 am
      Permalink

      Dan,

      Ah, the Walnuts are coated with Honey. I thought the shrimp was as well. Speaking of “spare tire”, they should try do Honey Walnut Pork Belly! As in like 50/50 pork meat and fat. Add condensed milk ‘n Mayo’ to the equation? Dude, I bet that would be BOSS!

      Reply
  • November 1, 2016 at 8:41 am
    Permalink

    Pomai,

    Honey Walnut Pork Belly would be Winnahs!  LOL  Fried Lightly battered pieces of pork belly tossed in a creamy sauce of condensed milk and Mayo with Honey Walnuts. OOOH yeah!

    You should try have your friend at ON ON to experiment with that one since they allow for substitutions.  You might just create a new dish.  Pork Fat Rules!

    Reply
    • November 2, 2016 at 4:48 am
      Permalink

      Dan,

      Next time I hit On On, I’ll ask Jamie or her husband Albert if they can try make the Honey Walnut Pork Belly for me. If not, guess I’ll have to D-I-Y it.

      I also still want to try making Pork Belly Tonkatsu, using the thinly-sliced pork belly they sell at Palama Market. Deep-fried pork belly fat battered in Panko with Tonkatsu Sauce has GOT to be a winnah!

      Reply
      • November 2, 2016 at 8:07 am
        Permalink

        Get the Salt and Pepper Squid as a back up.

        Reply
  • November 6, 2016 at 9:58 am
    Permalink

    You didn’t try the “Wing Ding with Ham fried rice”?

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *