Camellia Buffet Cooks Up Family FeastFeatures Inside Feature
January 4, 2015
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: Nathalie Walker
Just in time for the turning of the calendar and the ushering in of a new year, Camellia Buffet is adding yet another must-try buffet item with a host of superb sushi.
The “thrill of the grill” keeps generations of diners flocking to Camellia Buffet as they have done for the last 30-plus years, and the popular establishment continues to attract customers of all ages with quality Korean-influenced cuisine prepared yakiniku style at every table. And, with 2015 now underway, the popular buffet features freshly made sushi selections crafted by a chef with more than 20 years of experience.
As manager Kelly Park explains, customers may choose from a variety of maki sushi — including California, Spicy Ahi and Rainbow Rolls — as well as maguro, salmon and tako nigiri sushi, and even inari (cone) sushi. The lunch buffet features assorted maki, while dinner patrons may choose from all the aforementioned selections.
“If you have a big appetite, you’ll get your money’s worth,” Park says. “Unlike other restaurants with set menus, diners may select their favorites and eat whatever they want!”
The spacious restaurant, which appropriately is named after a stunning flower that remains in bloom through all seasons, is situated conveniently at 930 Mc-Cully St., and offers ample free parking. The bountiful buffet is available daily during lunch (10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) and dinner (2:30 to 10 p.m.).
As loyal diners have learned over the years, the allyou-can-eat buffet remains affordable for the whole family, and offers an enjoyable experience for all patrons, whether it’s dinner for two or a large birthday party, wedding celebration or special gathering. The lunch buffet is available for just $17.95 and $25.95 for dinner, while children ages 4 to 8 receive discounted rates of $13 and $15, respectively.
“When you say yakiniku, it refers to the Japanese term for table-top cooking, but we offer a wide range of traditional Korean-style dishes,” explains Park. “Some people like their meat cooked a certain way, and with the grills at each table, you go to the buffet, pick what you want and prepare each item the way you like it.
And you can keep going back for more — eat as much as you like for one price. We have plenty of space, so large families and big groups can get together.”
More than 50 selections grace the buffet line at Camellia Buffet, including kalbi spare ribs, barbecue beef, barbecue pork, spicy chicken, Korean pancake, teriyaki chicken and multiple kimchee varieties. The dinner buffet also includes ribeye and flat steak, calamari, spicy fried chicken and various desserts, including ice cream from the ever-popular self-serve machine.
Park states that diners rave about Pork Belly available as part of its lunch and dinner spreads. It’s similar to bacon, although it is usually enjoyed lightly grilled so the meat remains tender and soft — and the pork belly’s natural salt content makes it a great pair with your favorite beverage. Beef brisket also is a recent addition to the dinner menu, and pairs well with an array of fresh vegetables including bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini and garlic.
Camellia Buffet serves up local favorites including fried rice, orange chicken, mandoo and even onion rings, which are made fresh in-house and are very popular among children, as well as those young at heart. Park also reveals that chow mein is another favorite for the keiki to enjoy while meats are cooking on the grill.
“The onion rings and the orange chicken go really quickly — those are easier to munch on while the meat is cooking,” says Park. “We also make our sauces with traditional Korean recipes and flavors that we pass on through many generations. We use high-quality meats. Customers will tell me that they can taste the difference, and they say ‘You guys are the best,’ and keep coming back.”
In addition to a plethora of meat, the buffet lineup also features plenty of side dishes that bring unique flavors and textures to the dining experience. Diners may select from fresh and hot soups, including seaweed soup, miso soup and red bean porridge, as well as pickled onions, soybeans, green salad, seaweed and macaroni salad. The eatery also offers beverages from its full bar, and customers can indulge in Korean sweet tea, a popular after-meal drink that’s made fresh and served daily.
“If you’re looking for a different kind of dining experience, I say you should come in and give us a try,” Park says. “If you haven’t been here in a while, we have some new items on the buffet line, as well as our original favorites. We’ve been able to keep our prices low without sacrificing the taste. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy the all-youcan-eat experience.”
As a reminder, patrons celebrating birthdays eat for free when joining a party of 10. This can’t-miss offer is not combinable with any other discounts or promotions.
930 McCully St., Honolulu
Open daily, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (lunch) 2:30-10 p.m. (dinner)