IMR: Places: Restaurants: Ken Fong

[ Ken Fong ]  
Ken Fong
Honolulu, Hawai`i 96813
(808) 537-6858

[ VERDICT: 3 Stars ] [ Food: **** ] [ Service: * ] [ Ambiance: *** ] [ Value: **** ]

The service here is laughably bad — incredibly rude, rather than simply incompetent — but some of the gems on the menu are so good, I'd be willing to put up with a poke in the eye to eat them.

It's one of the few Chinese places I know where the fried rice isn't heavy, oily, and sad. No matter what I'm eating as a meal, I almost always order a plate of their sweet-sour Canton shrimp. Another great light dish is their garlic shrimp and snap peas. And my wife's favorite is the oyster sauce chicken on cake noodle — which miraculously is also one of the weekly specials ($5.50 on Tuesdays).

I'm more fond of their shrimp and chicken dishes than their vegetable and beef dishes, the latter tending to be overdone and heavily sauced.

As I mentioned, though, the good grub comes at a price. The proprietors know they've got a good thing going, and thus don't bother with the "service" elements usually observed in the service industry. One of my coworkers, notably, was actually mocked by her server when she made a mistake in her order. The server knew it was a mistake when the order was placed, but seemed to take actual glee in delivering it as is.

My boss likes this restaurant in particular, but his fondness is only partially because of the food. Ken Fong tends to attract some of the movers and shakers from downtown and Chinatown — making it a place to see and be seen.

Expect a crowd for the lunch hour, particularly on Friday. The largest table seats ten, and to get it reservations are recommended.

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© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 15 August 2001 · Last Modified: 15 August 2001