Dining Review: Hanai – Vancouver, Canada
Good Hawaiian food has been tough to find so when I stumbled upon Hanai, I knew this would be a good addition to our Vancouver food tour. This spot started as take-away only and due to popularity, they were able to move to a full service restaurant which is where it resides today.
It was a Monday so grabbing reservations was a bit easier than on the weekends. There is both indoor and outdoor seating and when we arrived, we were brought to the outdoor portion of the restaurant.
The menu is set up with a dozen options where the smaller plates are towards the top of the menu and go up in size as you make your way down. Things are meant to be shared so we were told for two people that somewhere between four to six options would be good depending on how hungry we were or how many big and small plates we ordered. We did a once over of the menu and thought we had a solid game plan. We ran the plan by our server who agreed we were good to go.
We started with beverages and the instant I finished reading the description of The POG I was there. POG typically refers passionfruit, orange, and guava juices. This POG contained ketel one vodka, passionfruit, orange, guava, orange bitters, and spiced honey. Kevin ordered the French guy surfin’ which had buffalo trace, camapri, sweet vermouth, and passionfruit which he really enjoyed.
Somen Noodle Salad – earth apple veggies, spam, egg, kamaboko
This was such a gorgeous looking plate. When it was brought out, we were told to pour the broth over the noodles and let it soak for several minutes. It surprised us that the noodles were cold since we assumed the broth was warm. This was an outstanding dish! All the elements on top the noodles were delicious as were the noodles. If this was the only thing we ate, I think we would have been very happy.
Wild Argentinian prawns – paprika flour, pan seared prawns with garlic and butter
Fun rice – house made furikake, seasame crunch
Something about the simplicity of garlic shrimp – it really makes the shrimp shine. These shrimp were very large and succulent swimming in the garlic. And the addition of the “fun rice” was the perfect side dish to sop up all the garlic butter juice. Great dish!
Huli Huli Chicken – ½ organic chicken, sweet shoyu sauce, green papaya, finadene sauce
This chicken almost did not look real. The glaze looked like it was covered in a candy. The chicken was perfectly cooked and ate like a rotisserie. I know the menu said half a chicken but we were still a bit surprised at how big this portion was – definitely the best bang for your buck with the dish.
Charred summer vegetables – Chropthorne farms rotating vegetable, creamy miso tahini vinaigrette
Zucchini! This has been the summer of zucchini and we are here for it. I do not know why I can never get my zucchini to taste as amazing as the ones we have had this summer but even just by itself. The vinaigrette was delicious and paired nicely with the zucchini. The addition of some panko on top was a nice way to add a crunchy texture. Happy to always have vegetables available on vacation!
Overall we really enjoyed our meal at Hanai. It was not over the top or extravagant and that is not what it is trying to be – this is a spot for home-cooking Hawaiian inspired food and it definitely delivered. Simple dishes deliciously executed!