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Korean Food in Honolulu

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This is spurred by another discussion in the Hole in the Wall posting. What are your favorite Korean Restaurants and what do you order there? Is it upscale or more a mom and pop kind of place? The first Korean food I ever had was at Kim Chee II in Kaimuki, and I used to like it... not any more. I don't know if their quality went down or I just developed a more discriminating taste for Korean food..... Places I like include

Ginas BBQ: "Hawaii style" but still pretty authentic, mostly take out. Very reasonable prices

Cafe Milliion: a local style Kal-Bi place, I'm not sure I've ever been before about 1 in the morning, late meal after going out on the town with friends. I thought it was really good.

Sorabol: Probably the best known upscale Korean Restaurant here.

Cho Mark: Only ever been with lunch, favorite of a friend of mine who is hapa-korean/haole. Not cheap, but not real pricey either.

There used to be a place on Kalakaua between Young and Beretania called Suns. It was really good. Loved their nakchi bokum (fried squid in kochu sauce). It's been gone a long time now.

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  1. I lived in Korea for more than 10 years and on an island other than Hawaiian where there were numerous first generation Koreans running restaurants. Needless to say, I was severely disappointed when I got here and thought it would be easy to find good Korean food. I mean good as in un "dumbed down" with full flavor of sour, hot, spicy, etc. etc. The food here has been adulterated with excessive sweetness e.g. teriyaki and a tendency to blandness. The only place that I will spend money at a Korean restaurant (rather cook it at home) is Choi's Garden on Rycroft.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Yoshio

      Yoshio would know!

      1. re: Yoshio

        I've seen it, never been, will have to give it a try... thanks

      2. Yah, Choi's Garden. Everything is good, the meat is of a superior quality to that found at Sorabol. And I got turned on to it by the manager of KBFD. One night, the wife of the owner of Yummy's was there...

        1 Reply
        1. re: HIeats

          sorabol the chain??? i've been to some sorabols on the mainland, and not so good.. is that a common name???

          and man, i have LOTS of catching up to do on these boards! sheesh... hahahah

        2. Sorry brah, just returned from teh islands and Sorobol wasn't the best in my personal opinion. The kalbi was dry and a little tough. The best thing was that the napa kim chee was very good. Ate at Kim Chee II the night after and in my opinion, the kalbi was much tastier and tender. The side dishes were below average from the last time we were there though. The cabbage kim chee was terrible made from plain head cabbage and flavorless. No more Korean food next time we're in Honolulu. I think I'll stick to LA instead.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Clinton

            better in LA.

            1. re: spang

              Amen! Can't remember the name of this fancy place on Olympic and Western where they had valet service, but it was very popular with the locals. It may have been Chamsutgol BBQ? We were guests on this occasion somewhere in LA Koreatown and probably had the best Korean food to date. Anyway, back to the islands for more grinds...