Opakapaka Canoe House

Opakapaka Canoe House

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Vicki Butts (lazyme)


This was the signature dish of the Canoe House at the Mauna Lani Hotel (Big Island), where Chef Alan Wong worked before opening his own restaurant. The opakapaka fillets are placed on a seared Chinese noodle pillow and bathed in a sauce of ginger, lemongrass, vegetables, clams and shrimp. The dish resembles an Asian bouillabaisse.

I haven't made this at home but did have the pleasure of having it at the restaurant - it's truly delicious.


☆☆☆☆☆ 0 votes

25 Min
40 Min


  • 16 oz
    dry chinese egg noodles
  • ·
    peanut oil for frying
  • 4
    opakapaka fillets (pink snapper), or other white-fleshed fish fillets
  • ·
    salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • ·
    olive oil for searing fish

  • 2 Tbsp
    peanut oil
  • 12
    littleneck clams or other small clams, scrubbed
  • 1 c
    diced onion
  • 1/4 c
    minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp
    minced garlic
  • 1 stalk(s)
    lemongrass, white part only, cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 c
    chinese fermented black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 c
    dry sherry
  • 1/4 c
    thai chili paste
  • 1/2 c
    chicken stock
  • 12
    sugar snap peas, halved diagonally
  • 1 c
    fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1
    tomato, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 c
    garlic butter
  • 4
    fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish
  • 4
    green onions, julienned and placed in ice water (for garnish)

How to Make Opakapaka Canoe House


  1. To make the noodle cake:
    Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and add the noodles. Return to a boil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until tender. Drain. Heat a 5- or 6-inch nonstick skillet or sauté pan over high heat. While the noodles are still hot, place one-fourth of the noodles in the hot skillet, forming them into a pillow shape with a spatula or slotted spoon. Sear for 30 seconds, or until browned; loosen and flip the noodle cake. Sear on the second side. Remove with a slotted spoon or spatula and place in an ovenproof pan. Repeat with the remaining noodles, making a total of 4 cakes. Place the noodle cakes in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Set aside; keep warm.
  2. To prepare the fillets:
    Preheat the oven to 350 F. Season the fillets with salt and pepper. Heat a large ovenproof sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil and heat until rippling, then add 1 fillet and sear on each side for 30 seconds. Remove the fillet with a spatula and place on an ovenproof dish. Repeat with the remaining fillets, adding oil as needed. The fish will be seared on the outside, and very rare inside. Bake for 15 minutes; set aside and keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile, make the sauce:
    Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the clams, onion, ginger, garlic, lemongrass and black beans. Sauté for 1 minute, or until the vegetables are slightly translucent and beginning to brown. Pour the wine into the pan and stir to loosen the brown bits from the bottom. Add the chili paste, stock, peas, corn, tomato and butter. Stir, cover and cook until the clams open, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove any clams that have not opened and discard.
  4. To serve:
    Place a noodle cake in the center of each of 4 large shallow serving bowls. Lean a fish fillet against each cake. Spoon clams and sauce over and around the fillets and cakes, dividing the clams equally among the bowls. Garnish each with a cilantro sprig and a green onion curl.

Printable Recipe Card

About Opakapaka Canoe House

Course/Dish: Fish
Main Ingredient: Fish
Regional Style: Hawaiian/Polynesian

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