Tasty On The Go
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Judging by the crowd at Aja Sushi & Bento, you know the food has to be good.
Since opening its first restaurant on Fort Street Mall in 1999, the family-run business has become popular for its Korean sushi and bento boxes featuring a mix of Japanese, Korean and local favorites, including its signature Garlic Chicken, Shoyu Chicken and Pork Adobo. Throughout the years, the local eatery added a shop in the Bank of Hawaii Ala Moana Building, moved its Fort Street Mall operation to University of Hawaii and opened a restaurant in Ala Moana Center’s Makai Market Food Court.
Many of the recipes are original to Celine Yoo, also known as “Grama” or Mama. However, there also are menu items inspired by requests from friends, family, employees and customers.
Just the smell of Aja’s Garlic Chicken will make your mouth water. Made with boneless chicken thigh, it’s a Korean-style garlic chicken that is tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside, and has just the right blend of flavors. Order it a la carte ($4.49 small, $7.49 large), as a family pack ($15.99, serves about five people), or a catering party platter ($45.99, feeds 15 to 20).
There also is a great selection of ready-made Mini Bentos ($7.49) that are especially popular for a grab-and-go lunch or dinner, as well as for sports games and meetings. Main dish choices include shoyu chicken, Korean spicy chicken wing, roast beef, pork adobo, meat jun, furikake panko fish, salmon, saba, tofu veggie stir fry, nishime, garlic chicken, mandoo and shrimp tempura. It also comes with rice (white or brown), and two options of veggies.
Aja Sushi & Bento
Ala Moana Center, Makai Market Food Court
(Also located at University of Hawaii Campus Center and Bank of Hawaii Ala Moana Building)
Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; extended holiday hours: open until 10 p.m. Dec. 18-23