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Authentic Chinese Restaurant Ready To Boom Among Gourmets

By: KC

Date Posted: 2001-06-08

Zee Sai Lik, the Shanghai-born chef of Suika-Rou, spent years in Hong Kong and New York before finally settling to Okinawa 25 years ago. Six months ago Zee opened his new restaurant in Kadena Town’s Shinmachi Street, and once people discovered his place, he has won raves from gourmets who swear that his restaurant serves the best and most authentic Chinese fare on this side of Shanghai.

Last year, Zee was leading the team of Chinese cooks in Busena Terrace hotel that prepared meals for VIPs and other special guests coming to Okinawa before and during the G-8 Summit. Before the Summit, he worked at a Chinese restaurant in Ginowan City. He learned his trade mostly in New York’s Chinatown where he served some of the most demanding Chinese customers anywhere.

One of the secrets behind the quality of his dishes that Zee is not shy to share with anyone is that he imports himself most of his Chinese vegetables from Taiwan. He explains that most of those vegetables are not even available at local markets here. “Chinese vegetables look fresher, taste sweeter and smell better after they are cooked,” Zee says. He often personally recommends some special vegetable dishes to his customers whenever they are available and in season.

A perennial favorite among his customers is Peking Duck. Zee even bought a special oven from Hong Kong to prepare it. The duck is cooked only when the customer orders one in order to ensure that it tastes fresh. Another favorite dish is Prawn Donburi that consists of boiled prawns and bacon roasted together and served on rice bed with peanuts. “This dish was served often in the royal Peking courts in the old times,” Zee says. Other favorites include various dumpling soups. All in all Suika-Rou’s menu has over sixty different dishes to choose from.

One testimony to Suika-Rou’s quality is the number of customers who keep coming back. Some tourists from the mainland, Japan and Taiwan to Okinawa, once they found the restaurant, even have made special trips to Okinawa just to eat Zee’s culinary delights. Zee says that those people just fly to Naha, take a taxi at the airport, and come to the restaurant directly after their arrival.

Zee is currently preparing to open a new restaurant in Heiwa Dori public market area in Makishi, Naha City, where many Taiwanese and Japanese tourists visit for the fresh meat, fish and vegetables. The name of the restaurant will be Bika-en, and opening is planned for the first or second week of June.

How to get there: From Kadena Rotary turn sharply left just before Highway 58 leaves the Rotary towards Nago. Suika-Rou is about 300 meters from the Rotary on the left. It is easy to recognize for its yellow and red signboard. Paid parking is available around the corner.

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