New style of hot pot simmers in Kaneohe
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It was a chilly day when Dining Out stopped in at Kogi Aina — Kaneohe’s newest hot-pot spot — so the sight of warm, bubbling soups and endless choices of sides were overwhelming in every good way possible.
Co-owner Tomas Paek brings out a few choices of broth, the first two being the new eatery’s most popular selections: Kogi Aina Shoyu House Spicy ($4.95), which is made with house broth, shoyu, mirin and chili peppers, and Oxtail ($4.95), which is made from boiling oxtail and ginger into a flavorful stock. There even is a “Korean” broth section, which lists soups that embody the flavors of Korean culture, such as Kimchee ($4.95).
After choosing a broth, diners make their way to the fully stocked refrigerators packed with different-colored plates (to differentiate prices) of fresh vegetables, such as bok choy, mustard cabbage, a variety of mushrooms and beans. There also is a mélange of noodles and seafood, as well as mandoo, pork meatballs and arabiki sausage. Almost any ingredient you can dream of, including some you’d never expect, Kogi Aina supplies.
And, although kogi means “meat” in Korean, as you’ve gathered, there are tons of non-meat items to choose from. However, diners won’t want to miss out on the eatery’s meat selection, as Paek explains, “We don’t leave the meat options in the fridge because we want to cut it right when customers order it so that it stays fresh.”
Pork Belly ($4.75) and Ribeye Beef ($5.75) are a few options, and all meats are thinly sliced — but not too thin.
With Hawaii’s finicky weather, you may not always be in the mood for hot pot, which is why Kogi Aina also offers incredible lunch plates from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. On this menu, you’ll find local favorites like Chicken Katsu Curry ($13.95) and Oxtail Soup ($14.99), as well as Korean must-haves like Kimchee Fried Rice ($9.95). Another non-hot pot item, which is available during all hours of operation, is Bibim Plate (prices vary), a traditional Korean rice dish cooked with various ingredients in a hot stone bowl.
Kogi Aina definitely is not like other eateries, and when asked what makes his hot pot place stand out, Paek replies, “(It is) Korean-inspired. The broths are way different. A couple of the soups are spicier, because of the different spices and herbs we use.” Plus, the restaurant serves Dave’s Ice Cream in flavors such as Mac Nut, Green Tea and Mango Sherbet ($2.75 each). Don’t forget that Kogi Aina is BYOB as well, and there’s a delicious sauce bar with homemade sauces to help make your meal even better.
46-138 Kahuhipa St., Kaneohe
Lunch: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Dinner: Sunday-Thursday, 5-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday, 5-10 p.m.