Camellia Buffet Cooks Up Foray Into Flavor

Features Inside Feature

September 22, 2013

Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo

Generations of diners flock to Camellia Buffet as they have done for the last 30-plus years, and the popular establishment continues to thrill customers with quality Korean-influenced cuisine prepared yakiniku style at every table.

The eatery, which is appropriately named after a stunning flower that remains in bloom through all seasons, is situated conveniently at 930 McCully St. and offers plenty of free parking. The bountiful buffet is available daily during lunch (10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) and dinner (2:30 to 10 p.m.).

The all-you-can-eat buffet remains affordable for the whole family and offers an enjoyable experience for all patrons, whether it’s dinner for two or a large birthday party, wedding celebration or special gathering. The lunch buffet is available for just $17.95, and $25.95 at dinner, while children ages 4 to 8 receive discounted rates of $13 and $15, respectively.

“When you say yakiniku, it refers to the Japanese term for table-top cooking, but we offer a wide range of traditional Korean-style dishes,” explains manager Kelly Park. “Some people like their meat cooked a certain way, and with the grills at each table, you go to the buffet, pick what you want, and prepare each item the way you like it. And, you can keep going back for more — eat as much as you like for one price. You really get your money’s worth.”

More than 50 selections grace the buffet line at Camellia Buffet, including Kalbi short ribs, Barbecue Beef, Barbecue Pork, Spicy Chicken, Korean Pancake, Teriyaki Chicken and multiple Kim Chee varieties. The dinner buffet also includes Ribeye and Flat Steak, Fresh Shrimp, Spicy Fried Chicken and various desserts, including ice cream from the eatery’s self-serve machine.

Park explains that Camellia Buffet recently added Pork Belly to its lunch and dinner spreads. The offering is similar to bacon, although it is usually enjoyed lightly grilled so the meat remains tender and soft — and the pork belly’s natural salt content makes it a great pair with one’s favorite beverage.

Camellia Buffet also serves up local favorites, including Fried Rice, Orange Chicken and Mandoo, which are all made fresh and in house, and have grown in popularity, especially among children. Park also recommends one of Camellia’s noodle dishes such as Chow Mein as another popular keiki option.

“We’ve added new items to give customers more to choose from,” says Park. “We also make our sauces with traditional Korean recipes and flavors that we pass on through many generations. We use high-quality meats. Customers will tell me that they can taste the difference, and they say, ‘You guys are the best,’ and keep coming back.”

The buffet lineup features an array of side dishes that add unique flavors and textures to the dining experience as well. Diners may select from fresh and hot soups, including Seaweed Soup, Miso Soup and Red Bean Porridge, as well as a host of additional offerings such as Pickled Onions, Cucumber Kim Chee, Soybeans, Green Salad, Seaweed and Macaroni Salad.

The eatery offers beverages from its full bar, and customers can indulge in Korean Sweet Tea, a popular after-meal drink made fresh and served daily.

“If you’re looking for a different kind of dining experience, I would ask customers to come in and give us a try,” Park says. “If you haven’t been here in a while, we have some new items on the buffet as well as the original favorites. We’ve been able to keep our prices low without sacrificing the taste — you don’t have to spend a lot of money, and you get to enjoy as much food as you want.”

In addition to its vast assortment of buffet selections, Camellia Buffet also has a takeout menu. Diners may choose from an assortment of local favorites, such as Kalbi ($11.95), Bulgogi ($9.95), Spicy Pork ($9) and Bibim Kooksoo ($10), a popular spicy cold noodle dish.

Stop in to Camellia Buffet and get grilling today!

Camellia Buffet

930 McCully St.
Open daily, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. for lunch, 2:30-10 p.m. for dinner

Honolulu, HI 96826

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