Bring on the banchan

Columns Veg'n Out

November 4, 2013

Story By: Terri Hefner | Photos by: Leah Friel

There are many reasons to love Korean cuisine — but if you’re a veggie lover, it’s the little things that stand out: banchan.

Yes, those tiny tasty dishes of pickled vegetable goodness that are served alongside your entree really make the meal, and the variety of flavors, textures and heat make them so much fun to eat. They complement each dish so well, there’s really no other cuisine that can match it.

And at Seoul Garden Yakiniku, a cozy, truly authentic Korean restaurant conveniently located on Kapiolani Boulevard next to the convention center, those petite plates are just perfect — mini servings of bean sprouts, kim chee, choi sum, mushrooms, potatoes and more, all dressed up and ready to eat alongside your entree.

Speaking of entrees, amid the myriad menu offerings, the quintessential mixed-rice dish Stone Pot Bi Bim Bap ($16.95) is served up hot and fresh here. Fern shoots, carrots,

choi sum, mushrooms, bean sprouts and an egg are arranged atop perfectly cooked rice, which when mixed together while cooking in the hot stone pot becomes a mouthwatering melange of all those flavors. Delicious!

Another popular favorite in this busy little eatery is Vegetable Pancake ($16.95), a large, round egg-based pancake filled with chives, green onions, round onions, carrots, green peppers and jalapenos — a savory and satisfying concoction that’s served hot with soy sauce on the side, and yes, those tasty little banchan. Bring it on!

Seoul Garden Yakiniku

1679 Kapiolani Blvd.
Open daily, 10 a.m.-midnight

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