Turning Over a New LeafColumns Lite Bites
June 23, 2013
Story By: Yu Shing Ting | Photos by: Nathalie Walker
For any business, repeat customers are always a good sign that you’re doing something right. At Korean Hibiscus BBQ in Kaimuki, some of the old-timers I met said they come back for the good food and friendly service.
I agree, The food tastes fresh, the flavors are orignal and customer service is No. 1.
Originally located in Aina Haina Shopping Center for 14 years, co-owners Shirley and Raymond Kodani closed their popular Korean takeout restaurant after their lease was not renewed in 2010. In Jan. 2012, they reopened at Kaimuki Shopping Center. It’s been a year-and-a-half, and according to Raymond, many regular customers from the old location have found their way to the new restaurant slightly hidden on the lower level of the shopping center next to Times Super Market.
The menu features many of the same tasty dishes from before, as well as some new items, such as Spicy BBQ Pork with Kim Chi Stir-fry ($10.50), which you won’t see on the menu but is available by request. The dish, which is known as Jayook Pokum in Korea, consists of pork stir-fried with a sour kim chi, and served with four choices of vegetables and two scoops of hapa rice (a mix of brown and white rice).
Also new is Grandma’s Special Bulgogi Pokum Plate ($10.50) which is what Shirley makes for her grandchildren consisting of marinated beef ribeye stir-fried with sweet potato noodles, carrot, and round and green onion.
A popular dish on the regular menu is the all-time local favorite Chicken Katsu ($7.75 mini, $9.25 regular). “We marinate the chicken first in a (family recipe) barbecue sauce,” notes Raymond. “And then we flour it, panko it and deep-fry it.”
There’s also Stir-Fried Squid ($9), which can be ordered at any level of spiciness. Regular lunch and dinner plates are served with four choices of vegetables and two scoops of hapa rice. The vegetable choices are the standard selection you would find at a Korean restaurant, however, Raymond notes that as much as possible many of the vegetables they use come from local farmers, such as cabbage, choy sum, daikon, bean sprouts, cucumbers and won bok.
Many customers order takeout, but there are some chairs inside for those who want to dine-in. There’s also plenty of free parking, and be sure to bring cash as they accept cash only.
Korean Hibiscus BBQ
Kaimuki Shopping Center
3221 Waialae Ave.
Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.