New pupu at Wang Chung's
Of course when I first learned about Waikiki karaoke bar Wang Chung's, I had to wonder, "Is that named after the 1980s song?"
Don't lie, you know the one, that goes: "Everybody have fun tonight, everybody Wang Chung tonight."
Nobody knew what that meant then, and nobody knows what it means today, but the song is forever associated with the cheesy, party-all-the-time ethos of the time, and when it came time to name his bar, Danny Chang just thought it was a great directive to head to a physical space called Wang Chung's and forged ahead, even though his friends warned him it was the stupidest name ever.
Silly as it may seem, Wang Chung's proves memorable and last night launched a new bar menu created by chef Randy Sanchez, fusing Mexican and Asian ingredients in just the right measure. And prices are reasonable at an average of only $5 to $7 per item, and a max of $10 for Uncle Juan Tachos, kalua pork on won ton nachos created in honor of Sanchez's uncle, Juan Tachos.
There are some racist tones in a menu that features "flied" instead of "fried" pickles, and offers a "drinkie drinkie" menu, but I suppose being Chinese himself, Chang can get away with the tease.
Originally from San Francisco, Chang is an engineer by education, but in a state where who you know is all-important, he wasn't able to find work in his field.
Well, engineering's loss is our gain. Wang Chung's is a colorful place with a friendly vibe, fun food and libations, with pupu beautifully served atop pages of Chinese newspaper wrapped with waxed paper that doesn't come cheap.
Chang explained he approaches Chinatown vendors with an offer to take old newspapers off their hands, only to be told he still has to pay full price. Aw!
Wang Chung's is in the Stay Hotel, at 2424 Koa Ave., and is open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Call (808) 921-9176.
Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage is in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.