Creative Cuisine At East Village

Butterfly Shrimp (top left) and Peking Duck (lower right)

With its combination of fresh food, creative preparations, sizeable portions and very reasonable prices, East Village Chinese Cuisine in Kapa’a is a great place for hungry people.

Located on the corner of Kuhio Highway and Pouli Road across from the fire station, East Village is a relaxing and spacious dining spot. It seats 60 people with tables far enough apart that your conversations can remain private, yet you can easily wave hello to friends in other areas of the restaurant.

On my friend Helen’s recommendation, we ordered the chef’s special of Peking Duck for dinner. It’s a three-plate presentation of thinly sliced, juicy, flavorful duck with crispy skin served with a side of sliced green onions and cucumbers, a tangy sauce and palm-sized sweet “pillows,” similar to manapua, with which we made small sandwiches. The duck was the most tender I’ve ever had and our little sandwiches were yummy and filling, and the special sauce is a must.

East Village Chinese Cuisine owner Patty Stanfield says the Peking Duck takes awhile to cook, so she recommends either ordering it as soon as you sit down “or call ahead to say ‘I’m on my way.’ ” Tip: Don’t look for Peking Duck on the menu. It’s usually on the board on the wall along with other daily specials.

East Village owner Patty Stanfield serves Helen Bice

We also enjoyed the Fried Butterfly Prawns, a creative dish of shrimp cooked with bacon and eggs, sort of like a shrimp omelette in a sweet chili-flavor sauce. The sauce recipe is the secret of Stanfield’s brother and chef, who brings 20 years of cooking experience to East Village Chinese Cuisine.

We rounded out our meal with a good-sized portion of Stir-Fried Mixed Vegetables that were just the right balance of crisp-tender.

Many Chinese food favorites such as Beef with Broccoli and Kung Pao Chicken are on the menu along with some creatively named dishes such as Ants Climbing a Tree, a classic Sichuan dish with pork and grilled chicken over cellophane noodles, and Aloha Noodle Soup. Four types of rice are offered in addition to steamed white rice; brown rice is available upon request.

Appetizers begin at $4.25; six types of soup are priced at $4.75 and up. The rest of the menu is priced quite moderately from $6.25 for noodle dishes up to $12.95 for sizzling king prawn and scallop dishes, with the average price around $8 for beef, chicken, seafood and vegetable selections.

The restaurant does not yet have a liquor license, so guests are invited to bring their own beer or wine.

Stanfield opened East Village Chinese Cuisine in May. She says business has been good and she would like more people to know about the restaurant’s very affordable make-your-own combination lunch specials, starting at $7.99 for a choice of one item from the menu plus salad, rice and a drink.

A Peking Duck sandwich

She and her family realize this might be a tough market in which to open a restaurant, but “we wanted to give it a try,” she says. “You have to start it somewhere.”

Stanfield, who is always in motion, says it seems like she’s either working or thinking about the restaurant 24 hours a day. “I even dream about it sometimes,” she says. “What makes me feel good is when customers are happy with the food. It makes my day no matter how many hours I’ve worked.”

East Village Chinese Cuisine, 4-733 Kuhio Hwy, Kapa’a; 822-0168. Open Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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