I’m a sucker for China Bowl’s Orange Peel Scallops. I won’t lie to you—I’ve eaten them before, and they were the major motivation behind my seemingly innocent pitch to review the somewhat recent addition to the Fairway Shops in Ka`anapali. Conflict of interest? Perhaps, but that’s a practical matter far less significant than the mystical combination of seafood and citrus.
In the interest of fairness, my dining buddy and I reluctantly decided against a four-course scallop meal. Passing on the advertised daily vegetable specials of Sauteed String Bean with Pork (confused me, too) and Sauteed Bok Choy with Garlic, we opted to start with the Minced Chicken Lettuce Wraps and Shrimp and Cream Cheese Wontons, which buddy had tried once before, in Mazatlan, of all places.
“They were good?” I asked.
“Real good. Epic, actually.”
Both appetizers were solid, if not quite epic. The wraps, served as an order of two, packed enough flavor to compensate for the somewhat small serving size. The wontons—though also small in stature—were absolutely delicious, though my buddy expressed disappointment in the cream-cheese-to-crab ratio.
Surveying the dining room between courses, we noticed and appreciated the attention to detail the owners (who also operate China Boat in Kahana) had paid during renovations. Red track lighting illuminated the natural stone floors below, and the entire restaurant radiated a clean, warm, open atmosphere—apparently too open for my buddy: “I’m not sure about the exposed kitchen.”
“You’re kidding, right?” I said. “It’s spotless. I actually think it should be a requirement.”
What came out of that open kitchen next truly was epic.
Ignoring the requisite China Bowl Chicken Special (which comes with no less than five vegetables and a dark ginger sauce and, after the dust had settled, I was told turned out to be actually quite good), I dominantly reached for the plate of Orange Peel Scallops (fish, chicken, or pork can be substituted if one was so inclined). Proceeding to devour my main course while grunting like Billy Bob Thornton in Sling Blade, I somehow managed to attempt to scribble a few professional, though mostly unintelligible notes, including:
“Peels singed like good marshmellows.”
“Good. Really, really good. Really good.”
“Sweet. Tangy. Yum.”
Wiping the carnage from my jovial face, I apologized to buddy for going caveman and suggested that the Orange Peel Scallops clearly deserved the title of “China Bowl Special.”
“I’ll have to take your word for it,” my buddy replied sarcastically, if not downright dishonestly. (I’m fairly sure I’d insisted on sharing at least a scallop).
“I wouldn’t lie to you,” I said.
And I wouldn’t. Not convinced? Consult my fortune cookie:
“You have an ability to sense and know higher truth.”
I’m big on truth. And China Bowl’s Orange Peel Scallops are the truth. MTW