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Jade House - Less Means Best

By: Kotoko Chinen

Date Posted: 1999-04-02

During the 14th century, trade between Okinawa and China flourished to the extent where Okinawa adopted many Chinese customs and eating habits we still see today. These cultural exchanges also saw the rise of the Chinese restaurant, which now dot the island in their hundreds. And no matter where you go on-island, you'll always find a good Chinese eatery or two, always comfortably crowded with regular customers enjoying a lunch or a dinner. One such establishment is the newly opened Chinese restaurant, Jade House, and one very likely to be added to the island's "favorite Chinese restaurant" list very soon. The exotically named, yet informal Jade House offers a relaxed, casual and friendly ambiance, and a menu featuring all those favorite Chinese dishes such as sweet & sour pork, spring rolls, and dumplings.

What you'll also notice is the limited number of dishes, but don't misjudge the lack of choices as a shortcoming. In fact, the menu reflects the commitment to excellence owner/chef Yokumei Ryuu has set himself. As the sole chef at Jade House, Ryuu insists that it is better to serve piping hot, freshly cooked meals, than feature a menu loaded with literally hundreds of choices. "We were planning to add more items to our menu in the future, but at this point, we're concentrating on serving quality Chinese food," said Ryuu.

So I ordered, then after a short wait steamed dumplings, fried rice, sweet & sour pork, and lemon chicken, arrived at my table. First I tried the fried rice and sweet & sour pork. The fried rice was delicious - scrambled eggs, vegetables, chunks of BBQ pork, and rice - with a dash of specially seasoned chaashuu only adding to its flavor. The sweet & sour dish was a delight to behold! Green peppers, carrots, onions and tender pork were all bite-sized and not as heavy as often in other Chinese restaurants.

What should not be missed is the lemon chicken, the most requested item among American customers, and steamed dumplings. Sliced chicken and lemon sauce combine very well together, and is so light your appetite for more will only increase. "Eat it with one gulp so you can indulge the juicy pork inside the dumplings," Ryuu advised as I raised one of the piping hot dumplings to my lips. The mouth-sized dumplings were excellent and can be enjoyed in small quantities (・500 for 4) or for the bigger eaters, or groups, you can order nine dumplings for only ・700. It should be no secret that Ryuu's devotion and enthusiastic approach to cooking plays a big factor.

For example, Ryuu's Steamed Dumplings are made from scratch on the premises, while it takes him three to four hours to roast the pork. And these are just two of his many daily routines. He also makes good use of a special roaster he brought from the family's home in Hong Kong. Lunch is served from 11am-2pm, with set menus of a main dish, rice, soup, and a soft drink ranging from ・500 to ・600. Jade House is open from 11am to 10pm. Menus are written in English, and English-speaking staff are only too happy to help with selections. Another bonus is the parking lot nearby, which offers discounts to Jade customers, so don't forget to ask for a coupon when you pay your bill.

As I showed the coupon to the parking attendant, he asked if I had eaten at Jade House. "Yes" I said, as I paid the parking fee. "How was the food there?" he inquired. "Quite good" I answered. Handing me the change he said: "Yeah, that's what everybody says." I guess Jade House is already becoming one of the most popular Chinese restaurants in town. Both yen and dollars are accepted.

Directions: Take Route 58 and head for Kadena. When you reach Kadena Circle, turn left at the first narrow street, called " Shin-machi." About two blocks ahead, you'll see Jade House on your left. For parking, turn left just before Jade House. About one block ahead, you'll see the public parking on your left. For more information, call 957-0361

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