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Scoop up these ‘souper’ specials at authentic Korean eatery

A La Carte

March 4, 2018

Story By: Yu Shing Ting | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO

Kalbi and Vegetable Soup ($9.99 special, $12.95 regular)

New Shilawon Korean Restaurant in Honolulu is having a “Tang, Tang, Tang” (soup, soup, soup) sale from March 13 through the end of the month. Enjoy three of its popular soups for just $9.99 each from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Choices are Ginseng Chicken Soup (regularly $15.95), Kalbi Soup (regularly $13.95) or Kalbi and Vegetable Soup (regularly $12.95).

According to manager Jandy Lee, Ginseng Chicken Soup is typically a summertime soup in Korea, but because it’s summer weather in Hawaii all the time, the soup is popular here year-round.

Ginseng Chicken Soup ($9.99 special, $15.95 regular)

“Koreans eat something hot when it’s hot,” she explains. “It’s supposed to cool you down. This soup is especially good if you’re feeling under the weather.”

A traditional Korean dish, Ginseng Chicken Soup is served in a stone pot and consists of ginseng, and chicken stuffed with sweet rice, jujube (date) and garlic.

Kalbi Soup ($9.99 special, $13.95 regular)

Kalbi Soup, which is boiled for about 12 hours, features large chunks of kalbi in a flavorful kalbi bone broth. “We don’t add anything in there, no MSG, just salt, pepper and daikon, which makes it extra refreshing,” notes Lee. “It’s also our daily special on Wednesdays ($13.95 regular), and we have this couple from Mililani that comes every Wednesday just for this soup. The meat is so soft, it just falls off the bone.”

Kalbi and Vegetable Soup is similar to the Kalbi Soup, except that there’s a little bit of chili paste in it and, of course, more vegetables, such as Chinese cabbage, onions, jalapeno pepper and green onion.

The soups come with three to four assorted banchan (Korean side dishes), such as fresh kimchee, marinated sesame leaves, soy bean sprouts, gim (dried seaweed) and radish kimchee.

Known for its authentic Korean cuisine, including all-you-can-eat yakiniku and shabu shabu, New Shilawon offers an expansive menu (with more than 60 items), and a comfortable setting reminiscent of a meal at your mom’s house.

The restaurant originally opened in 1994 as Shilawon Korean Restaurant, but reopened in 2014 when Lee’s parents, who are from Korea and worked at the restaurant, took over ownership and operations.

“My mom makes the banchan fresh every day, and our kimchee is homemade too,” explains Lee. “Customers tell us they can’t find these banchan at other Korean restaurants.

“My dad is the meat specialist, and my mom does everything else. A lot of the dishes are her recipes/creations. It’s what she’s been doing all her life,” she adds.

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