Digging in at Choi’s Garden
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The blossoming trend toward eating healthier means that folks are becoming more conscious about what they put in their bodies. And many are discovering that not only is eating lighter, vegetable-rich meals good for you, but vegetables actually taste great! Even first lady Michelle Obama is working to plant the idea in people’s minds with her organic garden and her commitment to encouraging everyone to eat right for optimal health.
Stemming from this is that more and more restaurants are offering more low-fat, meat-free options.
When it comes to Korean food, however, healthy eating is longstanding. Koreans put a big emphasis on health, and attach importance to each component of a dish. At Choi’s Garden, a yakiniku restaurant that specializes in traditional, home-cooked Korean cuisine, there are two meat-free dishes that are quickly growing in popularity.
Ho Pak Pumpkin Mochi Rice ($15.95) has customers coming back for more. A half kabocha squash is filled with mochi rice topped with a mix of walnuts, pine nuts, raisins and dates, which brings out the sweetness of the kabocha. It’s a fun dish, since you can actually eat the bowl. Can you dig it?
“It’s very popular for vegetarians,” says cashier Tammie Chang. “You can really taste the sweetness of the pumpkin.”
Choi’s Garden has cultivated quite a following for its hot stone pot dishes as well. Healthy Hot Stone Pot Rice with Dates, Beans and Sweet Pumpkin ($12.99) is a colorful concoction of purple rice, dates, sweet pumpkin and six different varieties of beans. According to Chang, each type of bean is considered healthy for different parts of the body. The purple rice — which, like brown, is more nutritious than white — sticks to the bottom of the hot pot, so when hot tea is added the crispy bits become a rice soup to top off your meal.
And, of course, they come with a variety of spicy banchan.
With these dishes, Choi’s Garden really lives up to its name. Just dig in.
- 1303 Rycroft Street
- Honolulu, HI 96814
- (808) 596-7555
- Open Daily
- 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.