Chinese New Year At The Mandalay

Fresh dim sum is always available at The Mandalay, which is gearing up for next month's Chinese New Year celebration that includes a special Sunday brunch. Jo McGarry photo

Just when you thought plates of exquisite entrees, desserts and endless days of celebration were over, Chinese New Year approaches.

Sunday, Feb. 10, is a mere four weeks away, and plans are already under way at most top Chinese restaurants to welcome the Year of the Snake.

At The Mandalay, an elegant Chinese restaurant on Alakea Street, the celebrations will include Sunday brunch in addition to special banquet menus for lunch and dinner, and plenty of family gatherings. With seating for 350 people and enough banquet rooms to host several functions at one time, The Mandalay is a popular choice for year-round celebrations.

“We are able to host many different parties and family gatherings,” says The Mandalay owner and party coordinator, Linda Chan. “Because of our large banquet rooms, private dining rooms and second level upstairs, there are many options for our guests.”

Part of the restaurant’s appeal lies in its elegant décor and ability to cater to almost any guest.

Need a quick takeout lunch? The Mandalay has an express line right inside the restaurant where dozens of entrees including Char Siu Gon Lo Mein, Sweet and Sour Spareribs, Garlic Chicken, Mongolian Beef and Black Bean Fish Fillets are served as part of dozens of daily options starting at around $5.50 per plate.

“So many people working downtown need something fast but good for lunch,” says Chan. “Our Express option works very well for them. They don’t have to wait, and the food is the same standard, with no MSG and high-quality ingredients just like we serve in the dining room.”

There are dim sum options, too, offered daily and cooked fresh to order.

“Dim sum is actually best served fresh and cooked as it’s ordered,” says Chan, “and our chefs are able to quickly prepare hundreds of dim sum orders each day.”

Somehow, the busier the kitchen, the easier it is to keep the dim sum hot and fresh. Specialties of the restaurant include Dried Shrimp Puff, Shrimp with Nori Rolls and Vegetarian Spring Rolls. Bitter Melon with Chicken Rice Rolls, Scallop Rice Rolls, White Turnip Cakes and BBQ Pork Rice Rolls give an idea of the variety in dim sum. And for vegetarians, The Mandalay offers some of the best, most-interesting little bites in Honolulu. For those always looking for creative menus, the dim sum alone may be worth the visit.

But it’s when parties happen and celebrations abound that The Mandalay really comes into its own. Chinese New Year will be celebrated with a banquet menu and individually designed menus in the days leading up to this important weekend, and will culminate Feb. 10 with a Sunday brunch.

Make reservations now, because this elegant restaurant is sure to fill up, despite its gargantuan dining room.

“We can accommodate lots of different groups in all sizes,” says Chan, “but it does help if people make reservations as early as possible.”

The Chinese New Year Sunday brunch menu will be available online, but if you can’t get yourself to the restaurant, check out the catering menu, where regular and large pans of everything from Kung Pao Chicken to Baked and Steamed Dim Sum trays are available, starting at around $26.

“There’s something for everyone,” says Chan. “Especially during celebrations.”

Happy Eating!

The Mandalay 1055 Alakea St. Honolulu 525-8585