Takeout TreatsColumns Foodie Fare
December 16, 2012
Story By: Christina O Connor | Photos by: Nathalie Walker
For those of you who have been wondering what ever happened to Korean Hibiscus BBQ, the restaurant that served up all of your favorite takeout treats, don’t worry — it’s still here. It just had a location change earlier this year. So, loyal customers, you can now find Korean Hibiscus BBQ at its new venue in Kaimuki, where it found its new home last January.
The husband-and-wife owners Raymond and Shirley Kodani took a couple of years off to spend more time with their family, but now they’re back. And their food is just as good as ever.
Raymond describes the restaurant’s food as a “compromise” and a “hybrid” of both traditional Korean foods and local flavors.
“We are not doing all of the regular, standard Korean meals, but we are doing some of the traditional ones. But then we also have ‘hybrid’ ones, because some of the tastes we adapt for the local crowd,” he explains.
Like at its former location, the restaurant focuses on takeout. Raymond estimates that most dishes take just about 5 to 8 minutes to prepare.
“We can do pretty much anything for takeout, even the soups and the catering (dishes).
People can just call in their order, and we will get it ready, and they can swing by and pick it up. It is pretty fast and straight forward.”
Korean Hibiscus BBQ lives up to its namesake, as Raymond says that the barbecue items are among the most popular. These include BBQ Beef ($9.50) and BBQ Chicken ($9) — both tasty, tender dishes.
If is seafood you’re after, look no further than Saba Fillet ($9), a light, flavorful fish.
But if you can’t seem to decide on just one entree, no problem. The restaurant offers a variety of combination meals. There are the three entree combinations, including Korean Hibiscus Sampler ($11.50), which includes kalbi, barbecue beef and barbecue chicken.
The Two-Combo Plate ($10.75) allows you to choose from 10 different items. Possible combinations, for example, are the Two-Combo Plate Fish Jun and Zucchini Jun ($10.75) and the Two-Combo Plate Meat Jun and Spicy BBQ Chicken ($10.75).
With its regular or combination meals, customers also have the option of selecting four side dishes out of 13 options, including various types of kimchee, long rice, macaroni salad, corn, seaweed, daikon, choi sum and sweet potato.
“This gives our customers a lot of variety,” Raymond says. “Even if two customers order the same thing … each meal will be uniquely designed for the individual because you are choosing what you want.”
Raymond says that with all of the restaurant’s combination meals, there are 50 different options total.
On the Side
Korean Hibiscus BBQ comes to Kaimuki from Aina Haina Shopping Center, where it had been for 14 years before closing its doors in 2010. But to the delight of many diners, co-owners Raymond and Shirley Kodani re-opened Korean Hibiscus BBQ at its new location on Waialae Avenue in January.
“A lot of our customers actually come from Aina Haina now, and they remember us,” Raymond says. “I guess when you have been somewhere for 14 years, you kind of grow up with a family, and you become part of their family.”
Before opening up their Aina Haina restaurant, Shirley worked at a variety of restaurants, primarily in counter service, and Raymond worked in electronics. But Shirley, who learned to cook from her mother, had a longtime dream to open up her own place. Not long after Korean Hibiscus BBQ opened, Raymond decided to come aboard and help his wife with running the restaurant.
“All the recipes, all the seasonings — it’s all hers,” he says of his wife.
Raymond hopes that more of their regular customers from their other location come and visit them, and grab a tasty bite to eat.
“We have seen a lot of our former customers,” he adds, “and it’s nice to see those familiar faces.”
Korean Hibiscus BBQ
Kaimuki Shopping Center, Lower Level
3221 Waialae Ave.
Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.8:30 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m.7 p.m.