Paying homage to authentic Korean cuisine
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With each passing year, Hawaii has become host to more Korean residents and tourists than ever before. Understandably, the number of Korean restaurants on the island has also increased substantially. While most places possess a strong local influence both in flavor and cooking style, Seoul Jung’s dishes remain true to authentic Korean cuisine, prepared and cooked the way Koreans have been enjoying their meals for centuries.
Owned by famed airline carrier Korean Airlines, Seoul Jung has been serving the community from the Waikiki Resort Hotel for more than 30 years. Under the direction of newly appointed executive chef Dong Hun Kim, the eatery uses fresh ingredients to create authentic dishes that are healthy, creative and stay true to Korean culture.
“While there are lots of delicious Korean restau rants on the island, many of the dishes have become so localized (that) they are not really an accurate representation of the food in Korea,” says Dante Ku, operations assistant of Seoul Jung. “Our chef takes pride in cooking Korean food the Korean way.”
To educate the public about true Korean cuisine, every three to four months Seoul Jung introduces a new “Chef’s Special” menu for diners to enjoy and try unique dishes. One of the season’s most popular dishes is the Hong Eo Jorim ($25.75), skate fish simmered in a soy citrus sauce. “The dish, which serves two people, is a perfect balance between salty, sour and sweet,” says Ku. “Not only is it incredibly fla vorful, but skate fish is very healthy because it is high in protein, low in fat and known to be good for the skin and joints.”
For yakiniku lovers, the Mo Deum ($52.75) is sure to be a favorite. Comprised of brisket, short rib and beef tongue, the assortment comes from locally grown meat and is never processed. “We cut all our meat in-house instead of buying it that way to keep the quality as fresh as possible,” explains Ku. “As soon as we get it, we marinate the beef twice to capture maximum flavor.”
Customers will also benefit from trying more avant-garde menu items like Ge Sal Mal Yi ($14.25), a wonderfully light yet flavorful dish consisting of crabmeat wrapped in a silky, vegetable-based crepe, only available at Seoul Jung.
“Unlike a lot of local food out there, we tend to use less seasonings like soy sauce and sugar,” says Ku. “We like to make up for such additives through our abundant side dishes, made fresh each day.”
Adorned with traditional Korean-style décor featuring a tinge of modern ele gance, Seoul Jung is the ideal environment for both small and large parties. In addition to the dining space, the restaurant also features two private rooms as well as two banquet halls, large enough to accommodate more than 200 people.
“We offer Korean, Amer-ican and Hawaiian-style food for any event held in the banquet rooms,” says Ku. “Additionally, for a limited time only we will also be offering the use of audio and visual equipment at no extra charge.”
For the dedicated staff members who work at Seoul Jung, the mission of the restaurant is two-fold: to provide Koreans with a taste of home and educate non-natives about truly authentic Korean cuisine. “Most likely when people come here and look at our menu, they will see a lot of dishes that seem unfamiliar like our acorn jelly or double steamed pork,” explains Ku. “It may take some trust, but we guarantee if you try it once, you will love it and want to order it again.”
All Seoul Jung patrons may enjoy free parking at the hotel.
WAIKIKI RESORT HOTEL 2460 KOA AVE., HONOLULU
OPEN DAILY, LUNCH: 11 A.M.-2 P.M., DINNER: 5-10 P.M.