Food La La: Dining and dancing at Japengo

Jan. 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

BY LINDSEY MURAOKA / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Last Saturday I went to check out Japengo, a restaurant in the Hyatt Regency Waikiki that features Southeast Asian and Pacific Rim Cuisine. It’s a fairly new restaurant (it opened three months ago) that took the place of Ciao Mein.

This is one of their private rooms.

The lounge area and sushi bar area in the back. The sushi bar serves traditional and specialty items.

The outside area is brighter and there is a pool in the back.

Our dinner reservations were at 8 p.m. because we wanted to check out the grand opening of Japengo’s new weekly party, “Capital,” which started at 10 p.m. The awesome part about eating dinner right before the party is that you can keep your table for the rest of the night.

Japengo’s cocktails have an Asian twist to them. I ordered the Kai Breeze ($10), which is one of their popular drinks. It has coconut water, coconut flavored sochu, mint, and lime juice. It was very refreshing, smooth and easy to drink.

My friend, Lynn Cheng, ordered the TY KU Fire, which contained soju and fresh strawberry ($10), while my other friend, Toby Tamaye, tried out a beer from Thailand called Chang ($6.50). Japengo serves a variety of Asian beers.

Lynn and I with our drinks. I wanted to steal that giant strawberry from her! She said it tasted very sweet.

Japengo has a interesting and unique selection of sushi rolls. This one is called the Tootsie Roll ($21) and contains soft shell crab, snow crab, avocado, and shiitake mushrooms. It’s very filling and all the flavors come together well.

The scallop butter yaki ($16) was incredible. I don’t usually care for scallops but this one tasted extremely moist and soft — I savored every single bite. The black tobiko and shiso leaf complimented perfectly with the scallop. The tobiko had a nice subtle, smoky flavor.

This is one of their specialty items, Singaporean chili crab with man tou buns ($48). A huge plate of succulent crab was covered in a sweet and spicy chili sauce. I loved dipping the bun into the sauce.

For dessert we got the coconut crème brulee with chocolate shavings ($10). The crème brulee was super creamy and had shredded coconut in it.

After dinner it was party time! We ordered Ichiko bottle service ($60 a bottle) and had a good spot to see all the people in line outside.

Ichiko is really good on the rocks or mixed with Oolong tea and lemon. It’s one of my favorite drinks.

At times like this, I wish I were a guy. Just kidding!

One of the bar areas at the party.

Cheers!

Japengo is located on the third floor of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki; call 923-1234 for reservations. For VIP lounge seating at “Capital,” email VIP@potentproductions808.com.
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Lindsey Muraoka blogs about food and drink for the Pulse. Contact her on Twitter or via email at foodlalablog@gmail.com.

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