Dim SUM Hawaii FIVE-o Style

I can’t say I’m the all seeing eye when it comes to Dim Sum, but my taste buds have done the global rounds from three star Enoteca Pinchiore in Florence to anonymous roadside lomitos in Patagonia.

Words & Photos: DUNCAN QUINN

I can’t say I’m the all seeing eye when it comes to Dim Sum, but my taste buds have done the global rounds from three star Enoteca Pinchiore in Florence to anonymous roadside lomitos in Patagonia.

At least until I get to Hong Kong in the near future my benchmark for Dim Sum has been and will remain Royal China on Queensway in London.  Like all legit “ethnic” food places its the one you’ll recognize as you’re the only non Chinese person there.  It didn’t do any harm that after years of Sunday brunches in the 90’s Gordon Ramsey recently went to try to meet the tough standards in the kitchen and failed.  He simply wasn’t good enough to make Dim Sum as perfect as they demand it be to make it onto the trolleys and onto the floor.

On a recent trip to Hawaii I wasn’t sure what to expect – I’d read about the Luaus and all that good stuff but somehow Dim Sum in the form of Legend Sea Food Restaurant made it onto my agenda.  And man am I happy that happened.  So happy it led to two trips in three days.

Its in what looks like a 70’s concrete gulag in Waikiki’s Chinatown and inside its as if time stopped somewhere around 1973.  The decor and seating is comedy all the way to the brightly made up matron who commands the payment desk at the back.

Two bespectacled gents who look as if they’ve been doing the meet and greet for fourty years will give you a ticket (if its busy and you need to wait) or sit you down and then your saliva glands can get going overtime.

By the time you’ve had a cup or two of the hot black tea one of the ladies with a steamer trolley will have arrived to offer you her wares and stamp your card to memorialize what you’ve had.

The theme here ended up being pretty much shrimp and pork for me, in the form of buns, “look”, steamed dumplings, and even sweet puddings, interjected with some chilli sauce and other good stuff.

Everything was cracking but the pork buns were off the clock.  Royal China has the edge when it comes to the gelatinous white gloop called “look” here at Legend but known as cheun fun at RC, but its really just an edge and that was in the sauce.

The fact I had to come back for more two days after my initial try probably says it all.  Well, that and the fact that I over-ordered deliberately so I could have some scooby snacks for the road…

Location: Gulag 5
Decor: 70’s out of 5
Food: A steaming success

Words by Duncan Quinn Photos by Duncan Quinn