Spreading the love with Korean classics, local favorites

Columns Lite Bites

May 31, 2015

Story By: Yu Shing Ting | Photos by: Nathalie Walker

Soonkil Chung celebrates 33 years of marriage to his wife, Chungae, in June, and proudly admits she’s an “awesome cook.” Well, last November Chungae opened Sadie’s BBQ Inn in Pearl City, giving everyone a chance to taste her amazing recipes.

“She’s good at cooking everything, not just Korean food,” says Soonkil. “That’s one of the reasons I kept her, because of her cooking.” Sadie’s, which is named after the Chungs’ 1-and-ahalf- year-old granddaughter, serves traditional Korean food with some local favorites, as well as classic breakfast dishes, sandwiches and burgers. Conveniently located in Pearl City Shopping Center (between Longs Drugs and Ben Franklin Crafts), the eatery also has an okazuya in the front (open from 5 a.m.) with a steady line of customers throughout the morning.

“A lot of people come on their way to work,” says Soonkil. “We see a lot of construction workers, nurses and office workers; and they don’t just pick up their own food, they pick up for their co-workers and colleagues. The bentos are our best-selling, but we also have tripe stew and beef stew that are very popular. We also do a lot of catering.”

As for its lunch and dinner menu, Chungae recommends BBQ Spicy Pork ($13.95), which has been marinated overnight in an original homemade sauce and then topped with a special spicy sauce (that can be adjusted from mild to medium or spicy) and charbroiled.

She also suggests Dol Sot Bibim Bap ($14.95) which features a great assortment of vegetables — carrots, cabbage, sprouts, squash, mushroom, choy sum and daikon — along with bulgogi meat and an over-easy egg. The meal is served over rice in a sizzling hot stone bowl, which makes the rice warm and crispy.

Not on the menu but often available as a special is Steamed Kal Bi ($23.95). It has become a favorite for many regulars because “everybody loves it,” according to Soonkil. “It takes about three to four hours to cook. The meat is soft and just melts in your mouth.”

Originally from Korea, Chungae moved to Hawaii in 1983 with her family, including five older brothers. She gained a lot of her experience in the kitchen at home, preparing meals daily that she would create from scratch.

“My wife strives for total satisfaction for every customer who comes in,” adds Soonkil. “She personally trims all the meats, and makes the marinades and seasonings. She tries to bring out the best quality of food, and she really cares and is committed to customer service. She really takes pride in that.”

Sadie’s BBQ Inn

Pearl City Shopping Center
850 Kamehameha Hwy. (Between Longs Drugs and Ben Franklin Crafts)


Open daily,
Okazuya: 5 a.m.-1 p.m.
Breakfast: 6:30-11 a.m.
Lunch and dinner: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

850 Kamehameha Highway, Pearl City, HI 96782

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best