Bella Banh Mi Café – Honolulu, HI

I love myself a good banh mi. I love the mixture of salted meats with the pickled daikon and carrots…creamy mayonnaise, crunch of the fresh cucumber and to top it all off…the cilantro. I know get people who don’t like cilantro, just give me your cilantro and call it a day. Anyway, my only experience with banh mi in the past has been with Bale. Nothing wrong with that but I think you’re really missing out if you don’t try it at different places and I think I found my favorite place thus far….Bella Banh Mi Cafe!! They are located on Liliha Street and open on the weekdays and luckily now on Sundays! I called in my order beforehand and pick-up was a breeze.

Had to open it up to show you the innards. They include fresh jalapenos! No worry, not too many seeds so wasn’t too spicy though I may not be a good judge on if something is not spicy.

Saigon Special | $8.50
combination sandwich – pate, vietnamese ham, pork belly, pork floss, mayonnaise, parsley, cucumber, pickled carrots & daikon

Oops their description doesn’t include jalapenos but you’re welcome for that information. I’ve had combination banh mi sandwiches at other places and I was always disappointed because it was always too salty. Not here! This sandwich was perfect, and the bread was nice and toasted but not hard and chewy like I’ve had elsewhere. I would definitely recommend this and can’t wait to get it again!

BBQ Pork Bun (Noodle Bowl) | $9.00
lemongrass & vietnamese fish sauce, vermicelli noodles, basil, mint, cucumber, pickled daikon, and peanuts

Another winners dish. I love the sauce for the noodles and the BBQ pork had the perfect charcoal/grilled taste, really enjoyed it! Love a cold noodle dish.

Shrimp & Pork Summer Rolls | $7.75
shrimp, pork, rice paper, vermicelli noodles, basil, mint, cucumber, lettuce

Awesome summer rolls, and you know what I like most? No raw bean sprouts. I can’t stand raw bean sprouts and some places put them into their summer rolls….so thank you Bella for not using bean sprouts. I think it’s a great deal for this dish and the dipping sauce is delicious! What is the ice cream stick for? Not sure, I just dipped the rolls right into the sauce.

Just wanted to show you a shot of the roll inside! Nicely wrapped together, was delicious. In fact, this is inspiring me to make summer rolls at home. To be continued.

Mixed Plate Friday

How’s these loaded tots I made? I think I made this back during the super bowl weekend even though none of us watch the super bowl and this was really just an excuse to make junk food. I think I just baked the tater tots as instructed on the package and then add the toppings and threw it back in the oven for maybe 5 minutes to melt the cheese.

Top tray is thinly sliced beef cooked in Halm’s Hawaiian Bar-B-Que Sauce topped with some some shredded cheese. Second tray is topped with pulled pork I got from Sam’s Club, nacho cheese sauce and sliced fresh jalapenos. The first tray was the heavy favorite, can we be any more Asian? I guess kids aren’t huge fans of pulled pork, was eaten but slowly. Sigh…

Got these noodles at H-Mart a while back. Yes, I saw a video about it on TikTok and got super curious. I love a sauced noodle and these were wonderful. A bit pricey (think I paid $14) but so good. Love the texture of the noodles and the sauce. It is spicy (hello sichuan pepper) but I like the spice. I think since it is popular, H-Mart hiked the price up to almost $17. No thanks, I can wait for the price to go down again. This brand has other flavors too which taste good too so give it a try!

Just a funny follow-up post to my Gulick visits. Upon V’s recommendation, I just made these damn rolls myself. No need pay like almost $3 for HALF A ROLL. ANNND I gave myself two takuan sticks instead of one. Oh and added furikake. It was a very enjoyable week of lunches. I think this is one of the few dishes I can eat a lot of and never tire of. Weird right?

Lam’s Kitchen – Honolulu, HI

Who doesn’t enjoy beef brisket noodle? If you answered no, you may want to skip this read. I think Lam’s Kitchen serves up some of the best on the island. If you are willing to make the trek out to Chinatown, find your own parking, and wait out the line, give them a try!

Cheong Fun (Look Fun Roll) | $5.50

This meal is major carbo loaded. We couldn’t help ourselves, they serve up such great look fun. The menu is a bit confusing, I just wanted a small portion of it so I tried to get the side order of it which costs $1.00 or $1.50, I honestly don’t now what the difference is. The waitress turned over my menu and pointed at this one for $5.50 so I just said…okay. I guess this is the one you have to get for dine in? I don’t know. It’s fine. It’s delicious. The sauces are on the table, spread some of that peanut sauce and hoisin sauce on top and you are golden. Delish!

Beef Flank & Tendon Look Fun | $8.99

My dining companion does not like tendon so she asked for beef flank only. Well, I’m used to this now but the wait staff always gives pause when she orders it like this. I guess for us Chinese, tendon is like gold! Why say no? Hahaha but everyone has their own tastes right?

Beef Chow Fun (Dry) | $8.99

Why oh why do I get the beef chow fun here? Yes, it’s just such a basic dish but I really enjoy the way they make it. Hard to explain but they have a way of seasoning it…is it the char of the wok they use? It’s a taste I remember from really good chow fun I had back in China so I just eat this right up. Yes, I left the plate CLEAN. Great stuff.

Recipe: Black Bean Noodles (Jjajangmyun)

I hope Honolulu Aunty gets a chance to read this post! I know you mentioned liking these noodles so I wanted to show how easy it is to make at home! Recipe credits goes to Maangchi completely! Enjoy the pictures, I tend to put step by step pictures.


Looks good ah? Restaurant style!

150622-02Black Bean Paste, no substitutions!

150622-03Gotta get the noodles made for jjajang, it makes a difference.

150622-04Korean Radish (Daikon), Onion, Zucchini and Pork Belly.

150622-05Chop the pork up – I think I used about 4 slices for this recipe.

150622-06Korean Radish (daikon)



150622-09Fry up the bacon until they are crispy, then drain most of the oil away. I learned that I don’t care for the hard bits of pork in my jajangmyun so if I make this again, I’ll leave the pork out. That would make this dish vegetarian!

150622-10Then you start adding veggies to cook, you should add the vegetables according to how long it takes to cook down. I added the Korean radish first. Stir-fried for about 2 minutes and then added…

150622-11Zucchini! Another 2 minutes…

150622-12Onions! And yes, there is no garlic in this dish. Shocking right? But if you have had these noodles, you’ll know that the flavor is very mild.

150622-13Black Bean Paste!


Add water and let it simmer on medium heat.

150622-15After about 10 minutes, make the potato starch slurry and add it to the sauce. Simmer it a few minutes more to cook out the starch, look at how shiny the sauce gets! Once it’s about done, add sesame oil.

150622-16Noodles ready to be drenched in the sauce…

150622-17No matter what root vegetables you add, it’ll all look black…lol.

150622-18Delicious! Ahhh…so good. I hope you get to try it!

Credit: Maangchi’s Jjajangmyun Recipe

Hong Kong Noodle House – Chinatown, HI

On a rainy day, we decided to have ourselves a nice steaming bowl of noodles. I’ve seen reviews here and there for the Hong Kong Noodle House and was impressed that the owner/chef makes the noodles in house. Then I saw that he uses an old school traditional method and knew I had to get in on this. So we did! It’s a nice place, as other have mentioned, it is very clean. The wait staff is very nice, seems like a family run business.


Pan Fried Gau Gee – $4.00 – delicious! Homemade! I burned my tongue trying it because it was hot off the pan! The filling was also very juicy…yummy.

150128-01Look Funn in Soup – Combination Stewed Beef and Roast Duck ($7.75)

150128-02Soup Noodle – Combination Fish Balls and Roast Duck ($7.75)



Soup Noodle – Combination with Won Ton and Roast Duck ($7.75)

This was my bowl. As I mentioned, it very a very nice bowl of noodles. I thought the noodles were good! The roast duck, average. Not the best I’ve had, then again – this is a noodle house. The won ton were good but nothing special. The only reason why I’m not singing praises is because I did get an upset stomach after this meal. I don’t think it was their food though, was probably just me. My dining companions were totally fine after eating their noodles. I guess I was still getting over my sickness this day.

Ireh Restaurant, Keeaumoku, HI

Ireh Restaurant! Gosh I hadn’t been here in a while and now wonder why! They specialize in vegetarian food but have many other dishes as well! Very healthy Korean cooking, and delicious. I used to come here to eat their topokki or the rabokki. So topokki is the rice cake sticks in the sauce and veggies…they also offer a version that is topped with cheese. Rabokki is the same dish but with ramen noodles added. I love that one. One time, I asked if they could make it rabokki with cheese. They said no. Why? I couldn’t tell yah. I should just bring my own cheese and sprinkle it on top…ha okay I probably won’t.


140723-02They are a bit sparse in terms of ban chan. This was it, kimchee and this onion/pepper vinegar pickled side. I like both and I’m fine with the lack of ban chan…although I wouldn’t take this little from other Korean restaurants!

140723-03Oh yes, metal silverware is the only way to eat Korean food!


140723-05Kimchi Hand Cut Noodle – $11.95
Hand cut noodles, the noodles are made with sesame leaves. You can totally taste it – it was very good!


Bean Noodle – $10.95
This is what I wanted to come for! One of my guilty pleasures is watching mok bang, and one of those people eats this a lot. I was so curious about the taste! This white broth is basically a really thick soy milk. I knew it was going to be a bit bland…but I had to try it at least once.

140723-07Sliced cucumber, boiled egg and a light sprinkling of peanuts…and some noodles peeking through!

140723-08So how was it? Delicious! Much better than I thought it would be! Yes, the flavor is a bit simple but it has a clean taste. I can see why people would eat this while they are sick, very mild and easy to eat. It has just a slight taste of ground sesame/peanuts. I think the combination of this dish with the kimchi hand cut noodles helped us feel properly full. Give them a try! I also recommend their pan fried dumplings, so delicious! I saw that the price of the dumplings are now $11.95, a bit pricey but give it a try at least once.

Dagon – Moilili, HI

My friend told me about Dagon restaurant a few weeks ago and I just had to try it! They specialize in Burmese cuisine and I have never had it. The pictures on Yelp look amazing so I was very excited to give this place a try. It’s located on South King Street in front of Kokua Market and across the street from 7 Eleven. How was it? I’ll let the pictures do the talking!

140517-01It’s “dagon” good! Yes, I went there. I apologize.


140517-03Dagon Tea Leaf Salad – $10.99
All the pictures on Yelp are of the Tea Leaf Salad so I was really excited to get it…not realizing the one I ordered would look so different. No regrets though, this salad tasted fantastic. The menu says it’s spicy but it is pretty mild. Here are the pics of the regular tea leaf salad: here and here.


140517-05Burmese Samusas – $7.99
These are a lot like samosas, they are filled with flavorful vegetables and deep fried. My friend described this best, it tastes like apple pie but not. Confusing? A bit, but once you taste it – you’ll get what we mean. And what we are trying to say is that there is a lot of nutmeg…but it’s great!


140517-07Burmese Beef Curry with Potatoes – $13.99
This dish does not come with rice, it was good but I think it’s a bit overpriced.


140517-09Pumpkin Chicken Stew – $13.99
Once again – no rice and I don’t think it’s a great deal. Both curry dishes also contain a lot of oil. I tried a pumpkin from this dish and felt it was undercooked so I wasn’t a big fan.


140517-11Burmese Indian Rice – $5.99
Isn’t this dish of rice beautiful? I love all the colors! The rice itself didn’t have any real flavor or spices in it – it’s only when you got a bite of the raisins or any of the other toppings that you would get a new flavor.


140517-13Nan Pia Dok – $10.99
Flat flour noodles with a chicken curry sauce and yummy toppings. I loved this dish so much! I wasn’t too impressed when it was first placed at our table…but I mixed it up, took a bite and I was in coconut curry heaven. I love coconut milk so this dish was perfect. What’s great was that the flavor was fairly mild yet not at all bland. If you enjoy coconut curry, give this dish a try!

All in all, it was a great meal! They have almost non-existent parking…but I scored a spot right up front in the street. I really did enjoy the tea salad and my noodle dish a lot. I’d love to go back to this restaurant soon. It was pretty busy in there so the food took a little while to come out. They only had one waitress for the whole restaurant so it was a bit hard to flag her down after or order was taken. Anyhow, please give it a try!

Garlic Noodles with Chicken Breast

This is going to be another bean thread vermicelli recipe post! This time I wasn’t that great at taking pictures of the steps but took a final picture…lol. It’s okay, I’ll post the recipe below after the pictures anyway!

140420-01Yes, another bulb of garlic. You really shouldn’t be surprised by now.

140420-02This time, I actually poached the garlic with my chicken breast. Once the chicken breast was done, I mashed up the now soft garlic in a bowl and added some salt and sesame oil.

140420-03Okay this picture might not look it, but this chicken breast is TENDER and MOIST. I used a method I watched on a youtube video, I’ll share the link below. He boils the water, then switches off the heat and throws the breast in and covers it with the lid. You let it sit for about 20 minutes and voila, they are done. Some may be worried it won’t cook through, but mine always does. As long as you don’t have to keep reheating this dish, the chicken breast will be so tender.

140420-04I gotta rewind! I mixed the chicken breast in the garlic mash and then threw it into my stir fry to incorporate. Then I added the rehydrated noodles to coat and voila!

140420-05Yummy noodles. This dish is actually pretty healthy for you! I added some chili sauce to kick it up a notch, that is option of course.

Garlic Noodles with Chicken Breast

1 package of Bean Thread Vermicelli (here is the one I buy – click here), rehydrated according to package directions. After I rehydrate the noodles, I get a pair of kitchen scissors and roughly cut through the noodles. If you don’t do this, the noodles will be LONG
1 bulb of garlic, peeled
1 bunch of garlic chives, sliced into 1 inch strips
1 small head of cabbage, chopped
2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1 t salt
1 T sesame oil

2 T of corn/canola/vegetable oil
2-3 T of oyster sauce
Hot Sauce to taste (optional of course and added when you eat!)

Set up a big pot of water ready to boil; about 8 cups of water. Throw in the peeled garlic and turn the heat on high. When the water comes to a boil; throw the chicken breasts in whole, put on the lid and turn off the heat.  Let the chicken breast poach in the liquid for at least 18-20 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken. Take the chicken breasts out to cool, shred by hand when chicken is cool enough to handle.

Remove the garlic from the water and mash it in a bowl with the salt and garlic. Once the mixture has been properly mixed, add the chicken breast strips and mix. Reserve at least 1/2 – 3/4 cup of the chicken broth for later.

Heat up oil in a wok/deep skillet. Add the cabbage and stir fry until a bit browned and a bit tender, about 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic chives and stir fry for another minute. Add the chicken mixture in and mix it all together. Add the noodles in and incorporate it all together. Add the oyster sauce and the reserved chicken broth if the noodles are too dry for your liking. Taste the noodles and add more oyster sauce to your liking. I find that this dish is mild in taste but in a good way. To me it’s not bland because of the flavors but it’s definitely not in your face (even if there is a bulb of garlic…hehe).

Chicken Breast Cooking Inspiration: runnyrunny999 – Cold Pasta with Sesame Dressing (skip to 2:20 if you only want to see chicken breast method)

Recipe: Glass Noodles with Lup Cheong and Chives

Recipe sort of. Sorry guys! I did such a good job of taking pictures of the ingredients but totally forgot to take pictures of the finished product. To me that’s not a full recipe but I’ll have to make do and let you use your imagination.

140417-01Buttload of garlic…

140417-02Buttload of garlic chives

140417-03Sliced lup cheong ready to be cooked…

140417-04Won bok!

140417-05Bean Thread Vermicelli – rehydrated in hot water and drained

Glass Noodles with Lup Cheong and Chives

1 package of Bean Thread Vermicelli (here is the one I buy – click here), rehydrated according to package directions. After I rehydrate the noodles, I get a pair of kitchen scissors and roughly cut through the noodles. If you don’t do this, the noodles will be LONG
1 bulb of garlic, minced
1 bunch of garlic chives, sliced into 1 inch strips
3-4 lup cheong, sliced diagonally (prettier this way)
1 won bok, cut up bite sized

2 T of corn/canola/vegetable oil
4-5 T of oyster sauce
Hot Sauce to taste (optional of course and added when you eat!)

Heat up a wok/big skillet on high with the oil. Add the garlic and stir fry until fragrant. Add the lup cheong and stir fry for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic chives and continue to stir fry until the garlic chives start to wilt (about 1 minute or 2). Add the wonbok and continue to stirfry for about 1 minute. Lower the heat to medium and cook until the won bok is tender but still firm (sorry if that’s confusing – it’s really to your liking). Add the bean thread noodles and stir to combine, keep it on the heat until everything is heated through. Serve and eat! This keeps pretty well for leftovers too. Enjoy!



Have you ever had Jjajjangmyun?  Well if you ever watch Korean dramas, you will inevitably see them order delivery noodles.  Then you watch as they stuff their faces with shiny glossy black noodles into their mouth.  I’m a huge fan of noodles so it really piqued my interest.  I learned that it was considered a Northern Chinese dish and there was this whole Chinese cuisine in Korea!  Well I didn’t know where to get these noodles in a restaurant so I found a recipe online and made it myself at home before and I thought it was delicious.  They have instant cup noodles of it now and I also learned there are Korean restaurants in Hawaii that are Korean Chinese restaurants and serve these dishes.  Is that confusing?  I’ll bet it is.  Anyhow, one place I go to get this is Eastern Paradise Restaurant.  As far as I can tell, this is a Chinese restaurant owned by Chinese people that serves Korean style Northern Chinese food.  I’m probably blabbing nothing but wrong information so here’s a picture of what I ate…lol.

130911-01Jjajjangmyun – just pour the thick black gravy over the noodles…mix and eat!  Delish!