Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, May 22, 2005

Buffets, events help raise funds for ORI

Carmen Thepsanavong and Gary Yu make sure that chafing dishes are full during the lunch buffets.

Photo by Randy T. Fujimori

Helemano Plantation

Where: 64-1510 Kamehmeha Hwy., Wahiawa

Call: 622-3929

Hours: Lunch buffet is served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays, and from 11 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays

The troops from the 65th Engineer Battalion were out in full force last week at Helemano Plantation, trading in their combat boots, artillery and ammo for rubber slippahs, paint brushes and cans of paint.

"Look at them all out there," said Ann Higa, Helemano Plantation's chief operating officer for the past 23 years. "They've been painting all the building walls all day long."

And their reward was a special banquet feast of kalbi, fried chicken and Helemano Plantation's signature pineapple pies, which is one of the dishes that the soldiers missed the most while deployed in Iraq, according to Higa.

Since Susanna Cheung founded Helemano Plantation's Opportunities for the Retarded Inc. (ORI) back in 1982, the then-fledgling non-profit organization has enjoyed the generosity and camaraderie of military troops.

"Their support has been vital to the organization," Cheung said. "They've done a lot for us throughout the years."

This includes frequenting Helemano Plantation's affordable daily lunch buffet, which costs only $8.50.

"It's mostly Chinese dishes," Cheung said. "But we do have rotating items, such as tacos, spaghetti, lasagna and pizza.

The buffet's mainstays include beef broccoli, sweet-and-sour spareribs, crispy chicken, garlic shrimp, mu-shu pork, garden-grown vegetables and, on weekends, dim sum tid-bits.

"But we can also do special menu items for special occasions," Cheung said. "Our slow-braised short ribs, for example, are broke-da-mouth."

Regular banquet menus are available, including the "Kamaaina," which requires a minimum of 100 guests.

For $8.50 per person, the lineup of dishes features tossed salad, fried rice, chow mein noodles, Jell-O and three entree selections from among such dishes as pork cutlet, beef teriyaki, baked chicken, sweet-and-sour fish, chicken or beef stirfry and meatballs dipped in a tangy barbecue sauce.

A more lavish menu costs $11.50 per person, for also a minimum of 100 people.

This "Royal Deluxe" menu offers a choice of three salads, starch, beverage and almond cookies for dessert.

Entree options (a choice of three) include lemon or oyster sauce chicken, baked ham, Chinese-style spareribs, sweet-and-sour pork, meatball teriyaki, spicy shrimp and fish fillet with tartar sauce.

If choosing to have a party at the restaurant or the banquet hall, a $150 set-up and clean-up fee does apply. For a garden wedding or courtyard event, a $225 tariff will be assessed.

"Sales from all buffets and events go directly back into the program," Higa noted. "This allows us to continue our training for our clients."