Libby Manapua Shop Revisted

The next Chinese New Year takes place on Monday, January 26, 2009, but for the rest of us living by the international calendar, it takes place tomorrow. Yet in the same spirit — especially for us Hawaii folks — today’s New Year’s eve is filled with a number of cultural and family-oriented festivities; the Chinese tradition of setting off fireworks to chase away the evil spirits perhaps the highlight of them all.

In light of that, I bring to you yet another great contribution to humanity courtesy of the Chinese: Manapua and various other dim sum, once again from Libby Manapua Shop in Kalihi. This spread, courtesy of Diner C and AC. Mahalo!

Eight steamed charsiu manapua, 4 chicken manapua, half-dozen pork hash and half-dozen halfmoon

Like everywhere else, the prices have gone up at Libby’s, yet they’re still one of the lowest in town in comparison to its main competitors. A steamed Charsiu Manapua is now $1.10 each, which ain’t bad considering that’s just 15 cents more than they were two years ago. This in comparison to Chun Wah Kam, who’s current rate are $1.45 each. The Pork Hash are now 55 cents each, up just 10 cents from 2006.

Gon Lau Mein

Chow Fun

Shrimp Paste with Curry Sauce Spring Rolls

Libby Manapua Shop plate 12.08 – Steamed Charsiu Manapua, chicken Manapua, Curry Shrimp Spring Roll, Halfmoon, Pork Hash, Gon Lau Mein and Chow Fun

Whoah, whoah, whoah, stop the press! OK, that chicken manapua looks great. And it was great. In fact, we liked it even more than the Charsiu Manapua! But what is up with that Charsiu Manapua? You may remember not long ago I mentioned Libby’s having a reputation lately for lacking in the charsiu filling department, and it appears, they’re still playing “Pake” on us. Wassup wit’ dat?

This, in comparison with Char Hung Sut, where as you see by this very recent example (from a box we had just this past month) who are still filling their Manapua adequately…

Steamed Charsiu Manapua from Char Hung Sut, 12.08

Also, the Chow Fun had more cabbage than actual Chow Fun noodles in it. Perhaps they should rename it Chow Choi. lol Ono flavor though. Hopefully there’ll be more chow fun noodles in the mix the next time around.

Another thing lacking from BOTH Manapua shops, in case you haven’t noticed, is the red color of the charsiu. Look at the photo of the Char Hung Sut Manapua that’s adorned this Food Blog’s masthead from the start, and you see back then it was much more red. Is food coloring becoming expensive, too?

Regardless of the lacking Charsiu filling, red color, and Chow Fun noodles in the Chow Fun lol, Libby’s is still overall my favorite Manapua shop due to their superior (and now abundant) buns, with Char Hung Sut a close second.

And New Year’s eve is all about making resolutions, so let’s hope the good folks at Libby’s turn over a new, less Pake leaf in 2009 and start filling their buns with more Charsiu.

Hey, speaking of which, folks continuously comment here asking how they can get either Libby or Char Hung Sut (or any authentic Oahu-made) Manapua shipped to them on the mainland. To which I called Libby’s up to ask if they would provide that service, which they do! Guess how much though? $72 for one dozen manapua. Yup. almost 3/4th of a hundred buckaroos for these. Reason being is that they need to pack them specially in dry ice in a cooler and send it 1-day air via Fed Ex. I think you’re better off saving up a few hundred dollars more and just taking a Hawaii vacation to pick them up in person. You can take these on an aircraft as hand carry. And the folks at Libby’s are trained to know how to pack their Dim Sum for air travel, as they’re a popular place where folks stop by to get Omiyage for friend and family back home on the neighbor islands and abroad. Especially since they’re located within close proximity to HNL.

Speaking of Chinese Dim Sum, my sister and ohana just got me this fantabulous cookbook for Christmas titled DIM SUM APPETIZERS and Light Meals…

Guess what the first set of recipes are on? Manapua!…

For risk of Copyright infringement, I can’t show you the blown-up version of the content, but this gives you an idea what’s inside.

Oh, I am so going to try this out in the near future. And you know you’ll see and hear about it right here first!

Of course, there’s many other delicacies in the Dim Sum genre, including various styles of Siu Mai…

And other steamed goodies…

And not to forget, after Turkey (Thanksgiving), there’s Jook!…

This looks like one cookbook I’ll be making plenty of use of. If you see a copy in the store, pick it up. Highly recommended.

Anyways, to all of you and yours…

Kung Hee Fat Choy,

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou,

Shinen Omedeto Gozaimasu,

Happy New Year!


14 thoughts on “Libby Manapua Shop Revisted

  1. I picked up a dozen this morning from libbys, and I must say you have bad luck, because although mine aren’t choke, they do have a lot more pork then your photos.

    Yum Yum, make them last libbys will be closed next week for new years.

  2. Oh gosh – I almost forgot about Libby’s! We need a Libby’s in Kona – there is no decent manapua, rice cake, half moon & pork hash (pepeiau – sp?) or chow funn over here. Mahalo – I will definitely pick up the cookbook. Also, we do not have decent saimin or won ton min. I still remember the days of the manapua man carrying the weight of the 2 cans full of steamed kaukau – I think I’ll write a blog today about that!
    happy new year

  3. Nice box o’ manapua but yeah, what’s up with da manini portions of pua’a inside? And even tho’ da red food coloring has no flavor, seeing brown char siu filling makes me think I’m eating chicken or something.

    Looking forward to seeing your homemade manapua!

    Oh hey, someone asked me on my blog if I knew of anyplace that sells the buckets of those ginger rice puffs that that Chinese pastry shop down on Maunakea used to make (before they closed down). Do any of your readers know?

  4. Pomai,
    I always felt sorry neighbors islands have a hard times getting things we in Honolulu take for granted. From your last entry on Maui it reason why some these special food is a good business for other islands.

  5. Aloha, question regarding dim sum. Do you have any idea how to make the delicious sauce that is poured over look fun? I can’t identify any of the flavors. Thanks and Happy New Year.

  6. Been to neighbors islands. It is hard to get certain things Honolulu have some many of. Hope one day businesses see it a good market in neighbor islands sales of many products they do not have.

    That sauce is depend on every Chinese families recipes. My family use soy sauce green onion but it like tea house style with beef called Dry Fry Rice Noodle. Look fun could used oyster sauce with soy sauce and sesame oil ,green onion, carrot, celery, eggs sheets ,cabbage ect. There no wrong way in cooking .

  7. That first photo nearly made me fall out of my chair. Thank goodness my husband is on his way home and had picked up some hambao in Seattle Chinatown today. When I first moved up here I asked for “manapua” and would receive nothing but blank looks. Up here it’s commonly called “hambao” or, as we say in Cantonese, “char siu bao.”

    The one thing we can’t get here, though, is the nice, big, chewy steamed manapuas that’s so common in Hawaii. You can get them steamed at dim sum but they’re small and delicately sized (as most good dim sum items should be). If you get them at a Chinese bakery, they’re always baked. No happy in-between. We need a Libby’s up here!

  8. OMG! The last time I was in Libby’s was six years ago. There’s no place to get manapua here in Po’dunk, USA. I miss it BIG TIME!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s