Wok & Roll

July 1, 2014 | By Waikiki Magazine Team

Q&A with Philip Chiang, Co-Founder of P.F. Chang’s

Philip Chiang is no stranger to Asian fare. Born in Shanghai and raised in Tokyo, his mother pioneered San Francisco’s The Mandarin, one of the first U.S. restaurants to serve Chinese cuisine, in the ’60s. Chiang’s “passion for food runs in the family,” so he channeled his B.F.A.-trained creativity from canvas to plate. After several restaurant stints, Chiang opened his namesake Chinese chain in Scottsdale, Arizona in 1993. P.F. Chang’s now has over 200 locations worldwide, including Waikiki.

What are some of the unique dishes on the menu at P.F. Chang’s Waikiki?

Try some of the P.F. Limited Time Offerings Menu items. Our Waikiki P.F. Chang’s local chef created them with Hawaiian flavors in mind, like the Crispy Coconut Prawns.

How can diners taste or sense Hawaiian culture at P.F. Chang’s Waikiki? Hawai‘i has such a large, diverse Asian culture that has merged with the native Hawaiians to create their own style of, what I see as, a unique fusion based on ingredients that are available in the islands. The menu at P.F. Chang’s covers more than just China, very much like the diverse Asian culture one finds in Hawai‘i, so one will find some similarities with the local food culture—especially if you pair it with one of our tropical beverages.

Who or what inspires your cuisine?

I like street food wherever I go for its simplicity and unfussy nature. I enjoy tasting the natural flavors … chefs that produce simple, delicious dishes that aren’t contrived and fussed over inspire me.

Photos: Courtesy P.F. Chang's

Photos: Courtesy P.F. Chang’s

What are your favorite Hawaiian foods?

I love fresh seafood that seems to be abundant in Hawai‘i.

Advice to Waikiki visitors?

Certainly try our food and beverages at P.F. Chang’s before and after shopping. Come to our Happy Hour, sit outside if possible, order some appetizers and a cold, refreshing beverage and watch the throngs go by.

What do you envision for the future of P.F. Chang’s Waikiki?

At P.F. Chang’s, we make every effort to continue to improve our service and food and keep our fingers on the pulse of what Waikiki has to offer.