The crispy Chinese duck, served atop soft Japanese white bread with five-spice gravy and garbanzo mash, was unexpected, and robustly savory. “It’s like Asian Thanksgiving,” my dining companion said as she mopped up the gravy and I extracted the delicately crunchy pieces of duck at Honolulu’s light-filled, elegant MW Restaurant. “Something for everyone.”
That could also describe what’s happening with the recent wave of Honolulu restaurants, which take inspiration from farmers’ markets and Hawaii’s Asian heritage, but with novel takes from high-end chefs with impressive fine-dining pedigrees. The cornucopia of farmers’ markets all over Oahu has helped fuel this latest round, since local ingredients — once scarce, with just about everything flown in from the mainland — are increasingly available to island chefs.