Can’t go wrong with these bentos, snacksA La Carte Columns
March 15, 2016
Story By: Caitlin Basilio | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
Find peace and satisfaction amid the hustle and bustle of Ala Moana Center’s Makai Market Food Court at Aja Sushi & Bento. Aja, meaning “go for it!” in Korean, is exactly what owner Lauren Yoo and her family did when setting out to open Aja Sushi & Bento’s first location about 15 years ago in Downtown Honolulu.
Today, Aja offers a plethora of food coming from Hawaii’s melting pot of diverse cultures. “Ethnically, we’re Korean, but we’re very influenced by Japanese culture,” says Yoo. “When you see our recipes, you can think of it like a local family get together, a potluck.”
With Korean, Japanese and Filipino dishes, just to name a few, Aja is the perfect place to get your local-food fix. Take its Three-choice Plate Lunch ($14.99), for example, which includes three main entrees of your choice and sides. Pictured here are Garlic Chicken, Roast Beef and Salmon.
“The garlic chicken is my Korean grandma’s recipe. It’s very crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside with a lot of flavor,” explains Yoo. The salmon is freshly cut, and the roast beef is topped with homemade gravy. On the side, enjoy your choice of white or brown rice (at no extra charge), kimchee daikon, choy sum and kimchee.
If it’s your first time visiting, try Aja Pac ($11.59), a carefully packed bento with Aja’s most popular menu items. It comes four different ways, including a vegetarian option. One popular Aja Pac features Meat Jun, Garlic Chicken and Beef and Vegetable Dumplings.
There also is a “grab-andgo” section with foods such as Korean Sushi ($4.25 for 10 pieces), Onigiri ($2.25 each; ume, konbu or pickled salmon varieties) and Spam Musubi ($1.89).
With all of this to choose from and more, Aja Sushi & Bento is sure to become one of your favorite food stops.
AJA SUSHI & BENTO
Ala Moana Center,
Makai Market Food Court
1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu
Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-7p.m.