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Filling up on kimbap

By Rachel Breit Photos By Rachel Breit
April 12, 2015

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Sheets of dried seaweed stuffed with rice and thin slices of vegetables rolled up as a handy snack. Ever heard of it?

No, it’s not sushi. And while its roots stem back to Japan, kimbap is purely Korean.

A haven for traditional Korean fare, Million Restaurant pays homage to the popular Seoul street food with its version of Little KimBap (75 cents per roll). Manager Diana Paik would-n’t reveal the methods behind making the rolls, as they’re secret. Traditionally, though, sesame oil is used to season the rice — the same way vinegar is used in sushi making. Million fills its kimbap with a vegetable medley of carrots, pickled daikon and chives. “Everything, we make here,” Paik says. They’re fresh-tasting and good for bringing along on trips, she adds.

Similarly, packed up and ready to eat, Million’s to-go containers of Jap Chae ($4) — translucent rice noodles soaked in a mild nutty-tasting sauce, and mixed with thin slices of mushroom, carrots, bell pepper, onions, chives and marinated beef — will hit the spot as well.

When it comes to the restaurant’s kalbi, “a lot of people say it’s the best,” says Paik, describing her mother’s secret recipe. Only Paik and the rest of the family know what all goes into creating the overnight marinade for the flavor-rich short ribs, but it’s what keeps plates of Kalbi ($13.95 lunch, $15.95 dinner) flying out of the kitchen. That and the allure of smoky, charred bits from the grill.

With its tender beef interior, sweet eggy exterior and tangy dunking sauce, Meat Jun ($11.95 lunch, $13.95 dinner) also is a no brainer when it comes to Korean classics.

The thin pieces of barbecued ribeye are lightly dredged in flour before getting an egg bath. Green onion, shoyu, vinegar and other seasonings come together to create the tempting sauce.

Can’t get enough of these savory goodies? Don’t fret. All of these items are available for catering, a new service the restaurant is providing, with orders starting at $20.

Million Restaurant

626 Sheridan St., Honolulu
596-0799
Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-midnight