First Taste: Kin Wah Chop Suey in Kaneohe

Contrary to the title here, this certainly isn’t my first-ever visit to Kin Wah Chop Suey, as I’ve been here countless times during the 80’s when I lived in Kaneohe. I mean COUNTLESS times; like at least once or twice a month, as this was my parent’s favorite neighborhood family restaurant. Mr. Chang, the original owner and cook who hailed from down the street at Mui Kwai Restaurant, has since since retired, and Kin Wah is now operated by his niece.

I’m naming this review “First Taste”, as while good, I don’t consider the spread we had for lunch on this visit a “Complete Kin Wah Experience”. What I mean by that is having a full course FEAST like we always used to do for dinner.

We’re talking the works, including Abalone Soup, Salted Duck Egg, Egg Fuyong (one of my favorites!), Beef Broccoli, Mongolian Beef, Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs, Kau Yuk and Bun (Charsiu Bau), Sweet and Sour Shrimp, Roast Duck, Cold Ginger Chicken, Crispy Gau Gee, Crispy Wunton, and my sister’s all-time favorite, their cake noodle.

Completing the “Kin Wah Experience” was our regular waitress who spoke as much English as I can speak Chinese, which is barely to none at all. In her heavy Chinese accent she would take our order, then after writing it all down, she would repeat what we’re getting like this (provided with English translations):

“Kay, you foh geh wuh oh’da Abba’ Soo, Bee’ Baw (O.K., you folks are getting one order Abalone Soup, Beef Broccoli), Mah’goh Bee’, Shee Shau Spay Wee (Mongolian Beef, Sweet & Sour Spare Ribs), Kau Yuk Buh, Shee Shau Shee’, Woah Dock, wuh o’dah Saw Duh Eh (Kau Yuk and Bun, Sweet & Sour Shrimp, Roast Duck, one order Salt Duck Egg), Kou’ Gee’ Chih, Aye Foo-yuh, Keepee Gau Gee, Keepee Wontuh and Kay Nooh’ (Cold Ginger Chicken, Egg Fuyong, Crispy Gau Gee, Crispy Wonton, and Cake Noodle).”

I kid you not! I am not making that up. She NEVER pronounced the entire name or word. It was always cut short like that. Right down to the “Fai’lai” (Fried Rice) or “Wai’ Lai” (White Rice) to the “Eye Wah” (Ice Water). I swear, I used to fall off my chair rolling everytime we went there! LOL! Really sweet lady though.

And in all fairness, had that been me working in an American Restaurant in Hong Kong trying to read off the menu in very broken Chinese, I don’t think I could get past the first item or sentence. I mean, we did understand what she was saying, at least!

Anyhow, fast-forward to yesterday (March 17, 2010), here I was picking up a takeout plate from Kin Wah Chop Suey, where I happened to stumble upon an old family friend of ours who invited me to have lunch with him and his daughter. A very simple affair of single dishes ordered for each person versus the family style system as mentioned above.

With that, Uncle Eddie, who is a retired aircraft mechanic for United Airlines, ordered the Ap To Mein (sp?), a.k.a. Pot Roast Duck Noodle Soup…

Kin Wah Chop Suey – Pot Roast Duck with Noodle Soup. $7.75

His lovely daughter “Diner D” ordered the Tofu with Vegetables and Chow Mein Noodles…

Kin Wah – Tofu with Vegetables and Oyster Sauce (and Black Bean Chili Paste). $6.50

And yours truly ordered the Kin Wah Special Plate “B”…

Kin Wah – Special Plate “B”: Kau Yuk, Spareribs, Beef Broccoli, Crisp Gau Gee, Fried Shrimp and Rice. $6.75

Wow, that’s a ton of food for just $6.75!

Here’s another angle of plate “B”…

As for the taste, it’s just like I remember Kin Wah to be from back in the day. The  Crispy Gau Gee (“Keepee Gau”), Fried Shrimp (“Fai Shee) Kau Yuk (Charsiu) Sweet & Sour Spareribs (“Shee Shau Spay Wih’) and Beef  Broccoli (“Bee’ Boh) were all really good. I especially love their Crispy Gau Gee (“Keepee Gau”) that’s packed generously with pork, encased by a very tasty golden brown ‘n crispy (“keepee”) wonton wrapper…

Dip that buggah in da’ shoyu and coleman’s mustard ,and winnahz!

Summing it up, I give Kin Wah’s Special Plate “B” 4 SPAM Musubi, adding an extra point for superb value.

Uncle’s daughter gave a thumbs-up for her Tofu with Vegetable and Chow Mein dish as well…

While it looks rather plain as is, it’s served with a Black Bean Chili sauce on the side that she used to dip the stuff in as she ate it.

As for Uncle’s Pot Roast Duck with Noodle Soup, he thought it was, “eh, ok”…

The broth was just “eh, ok” and so was the duck.. just “eh, ok”. That’s all he had to say about it, which means Kin Wah’s Ap To Mein gets 1 SPAM Musubi.

Our table also ordered a couple Jin Dui…

Although I didn’t eat any Jin Dui, as I was stuffed, having not even being able to finish half of my Plate “B”.

As said earlier, I had come here to pick-up a takeout plate, which is what we have here with Special  Plate “A”….

Kin Wah – Special Plate “A”: Beef with Broccoli, Go Lo Mein, Lemon Chicken, Crispy Wun Ton & Rice. $6

I took this home for my girlfriend to have for dinner, to which she gave it overall 3 SPAM Musubi, Noting it probably would have got a higher rating had it been eaten freshly-made right then and there at the restaurant. She really liked their Crispy Wun Tons, which also was one of my sister’s favorites from Kin Wah back in the day.

Kin Wah Chop Suey is still located in the same place after all these years, which actually add up to decades now. That would be in a tiny business plaza across from Windward City Shopping Center, with Masa and Joyce Okazuya as their nextdoor neighbor. The decor inside still looks the same as well.

Looking forward to when I can come here again with a large group in tow for a “Complete Kin Wah Experience”, wokin’ ‘n rollin’ some “Keepee Gau Gee” and “Shee Shau Shee”!

Kin Wah Chop Suey
45-888 Kam Highway
Kaneohe, Hawaii  96744
Tel. 247-4812

Business hours: Open daily 10am to 9pm

Menu (<—click to download PDF (2 pages)

The Tasty Island rating (for “first tasting”):

(3) Very Good. Considerable of another visit or purchase. (Supah’ Ono!)

Related links:
Kin Wah Chop Suey – Yelp user reviews

Local Kine Grindz hosts’ Lina Girl and Braddah Sam Visits Kin Wah Chop Suey…


A little more Chinese restaurant humor for your entertainment….



16 thoughts on “First Taste: Kin Wah Chop Suey in Kaneohe

  1. Mahalo for the 96744 post! Still claiming my squatter’s rights! Anyone who tastes the Boneless Minute Chicken with Cake Noodle, Beef with Salted Cabbage or Roast Pork (only on weekends) will be willing to make the drive. Crispy Gau Gee also makes great UH tailgate grinds!

  2. Ryan, I once owned a web domain that loosely referred to Kaneohe’s 96744 postal zip code. Kaneohe will certainly always have a very special place in my heart as well!
    I noticed in that ‘Local Kine Grindz’ video that the Minute Chicken with Cake Noodle is a top seller. I’ll have to try it.  Now that you mention bringing a pan of Kin Wah’s Crispy Gau Gee to a tailgate party, I think that’s a great idea! I’d add a platter of their Cold Ginger Chicken, with their excellent Chinese style “pesto sauce” to boot!

  3. ahh the memories of kin wah…living in the mainland the one i miss the most is cold ginger chicken. not as easy to duplicate the chinese way of doing it. anybody get good recipe on that?

    pomai – looking at your index, i cannot believe you never did likelike. I wonder if Saturday, they still have the roast suckling pig? when you have a free saturday, try and sample a plate for me – let me dream through your words! mahalo!

  4. Wow I haven’t been to Kin Wah in a long long time. Used to go there often growing up.

    The combo #5 video takes me back, too! Great post full of memories for me.

  5. Pomai, wow you got a Chinese food entry and it been a while I seen any from your blog. I guese you know Mui Kwai mean Rose in Chinese ( my mom is Chinese). Now we cooked a lot Chinese dishes but really all kind of food at home. Mom feeling right now making dim sum after reading this entry and dad sweet adnd sour pork what ever from entry too.

  6. Another great post Pomai. Their minute chicken with cake noodle is the bomb. Be sure to try their walnut shrimp too!

  7. Hawaiian Girl, funny you mention Walnut Shrimp. Panda Express is running a national TV ad campaign right now promoting their new Walnut Shrimp. They sure make it sound and LOOK good!
    Kelike, I never mentioned it in my write-up, but because I was so “overdosed” with Chinese food thanks to going to Kin Wah almost EVERY WEEKEND, as an adult I suffered Chinese food “burnout”. Yet, you know what? Now that I’ve finally gone back to Kin Wah years later, I’m now a reborn Chinese food lover! Ha ha! So you’ll probably be seeing many more Chinese restaurants that I’ll be visiting in the coming year! Thumbs-up once again to Chinese food, thanks to Kin Wah!
    Dale, you grew up on the Windward side too?
    hiyn_boy, my girlfriend went to Like Like Drive Inn a couple times recently, and both times left very disappointed. Still, I’ll have to give them a try myself. After all, that place is truly a landmark institution. Their old neon light sign is still out in front!

  8. pomai – my wife too! i bring her all the way from WA and she’s heard about this place since we were on the plane. she wasnt impressed. said it tasted like any other of the Triple D’s…but where else can you still get a meal with salad AND soup AND drink AND dessert included?

  9. Pomai, I’m Chinese and I find the video hilarious. But, strangely enough, I wouldn’t want to repost it for my haole mainland friends because THEY would probably be offended. It is exactly how Frank DeLima always explained it: Local people in Hawaii make fun of each other’s ethnicities because it’s done with respect and we’re all laughing WITH, not AT, each other. This is something very unique to Hawaii and I do miss cracking the occasional ethnic joke on the very PC mainland.

    Your description of the waitress cracks me up: I know exactly how she sounds when she reads backs your order because that’s how a lot of my relatives speak English. Isn’t it strange how you understand everything she says even though nothing sounds the way it should?

  10. Kin Wah!!!! Yum yum… Pomai you totally cracked me up with the waitress “speak”…. spot on! bhahaaha… Love their food, haven’t been able to eat there for a while, but since I’m back home, I was able to eat there recently. Ahh.. I missed it! Beef broc, crispy gau gee, cake noodles, and chinese chicken salad are my faves….

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