New Shilawon still going strong
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When the owners of Shillawon Korean Restaurant wanted to sell their business after being open for about 10 years, their chef, Jae Keun Lee, seized the opportunity to keep the restaurant going, and reopened it as New Shilawon Korean Restaurant in December 2014.
Located on Amana Street near Ala Moana Center, the popular Korean eatery is known for its all-you-can-eat yakiniku and shabu shabu, but also offers an a la carte menu with more than 40 traditional Korean dishes to choose from.
Among the a la carte favorites is Beef Bulgogi in a Stoneware Pot ($19.95), which is Korean-style teriyaki beef with soup, long rice and mochi rice cake.
“It’s lighter and more savory than the bulgogi that you grill,” explains chef Lee’s daughter Jandy Lee, who serves as general manager. “And the stoneware pot keeps it warm. Koreans believe if it’s a hot day, you eat something hot to cool you down.”
Lee also recommends Spicy Steamed Butterfish ($28.95), which is very different from typical Japanese miso butterfish. This authentic Korean dish features soft, boneless butterfish that is very flavorful and served with large pieces of Korean-style daikon (radish). For lunch (10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.), there also are special dishes available, such as Acorn Jelly Rice Soup ($10.99) served cold and topped with kim chee and seaweed.
“We make our own acorn jelly every night,” says Lee, noting that her parents are originally from Korea and moved to Hawaii about 30 years ago. “It’s healthy and a popular Korean dish. In Korea, it’s a traditional food you eat at Grandma’s house. During lunchtime, we get a lot of elderly customers (from Korea), and it’s a dish that reminds them of their hometown.
“My parents wanted to share with people what we enjoy and what they think others would enjoy. My dad cuts the meat fresh to order, and my mom makes all the ban chan (Korean side dishes). Sometimes my aunty is here, and my brother also comes to help once a week, so my dad can have a day off.”
All a la carte dishes are served with an assortment of ban chan, such as kim chee, fish cake, broccoli and bean sprouts. The casual, family-friendly restaurant also has two private rooms that can accommodate up to 12 people in one and up to 18 people in the other. Free parking is available in the garage below the restaurant.
New Shilawon Korean Restaurant
747 Amana St., Honolulu
Sunday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-midnight