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Korean food in Phoenix? Hawaiian style groceries?

Hi,
I'm looking for a good Korean place in Phoenix...I am in Central Phx but am willing to drive if I have to. I'm talking about a place with bulgogi, kal-bi, meat jun, chap chae, bi bim kook soo, mandoo, kim chi, daikon, etc.

I am also looking for a store where I can buy products from Hawaii. I've tried 99 Ranch and Fujiya in Tempe, but they are too country-specific and don't have hardly any products from Hawaii. I know there's gotta be someplace around here, since there's a big Hawaiian student population at ASU.

Any suggestions will be much appreciated!

Mahalo!

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  1. We love Takamatsu. The have other locations, but this one is the best. Very authentic, and populated by many Korean families. Don't let the Japanese name fool you...it's the real deal. You can order from the menu, or you can sit at one of the "grill it yourself" tables and do your own bulgogi. We aren't Korean, but my wife grew up in a very Korean neighborhood and eats many of the things that most non-Koreans are scared of.....so they always love it there when she asks for the "real" stuff.

    It's located at 43rd Ave and Dunlap, I think.

    Just got back from your neck-of-the-woods, by the way. Great chow in Maui. Mahalo to you!

    1 Reply
    1. re: ejs1492

      Adding a place-link:

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      Takamatsu Restaurant
      4214 W Dunlap Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85051

    2. There's also Hodori and Manna Cafe in Mesa.

      1. Is Seoul-Jung in Glendale still open (just off the 17 and Dunlap)? I've not been for a couple of years but my Korean friend in NW Phoenix thought it was authentic and I was quite happy getting stuffed there. I tried looking it up and saw a couple of posts on some other sites mentioning their location was bulldozed (or somthing similar) but also saw later reviews - so maybe they moved?

        1. The choices for Korean food in the Valley, either BBQ or otherwise, is really really poor.

          There are some decent joints serving BBQ -- in Mesa and Chandler (e.g. Chuhgajib or Chodang) -- but nothing that will knock your socks off. And the panchan served at these places are not only sparse in variety, but more often than not taste as if they were store-bought from jars.

          I have yet to find a place that serves mandu, or even a place that pretends to serve mandu ...

          8 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Agreed.. the choices in the Phoenix area are poor.. I just got back from Gardena, Ca for work and they had so many places to chose from. Ended up at at Lee's Soon Tofu.. now where can I get some spicy tofu soup here?

            1. re: xanderbear

              Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name, but there's a Korean restaurant that I've heard good things about across from ASU West (Thunderbird and 43rd Avenue area). Also, a good Vietnamese place there that I have eaten at as well.

              It should be interested what types of restaurants, businesses, etc. Mekong Plaza attracts when they open later this year as well.

              1. re: brianroaz

                There's a Korean place there? Nice.. Pho Avina is in there as well.. cant wait to check it out.. Mekong Plaza will be fun!

                1. re: xanderbear

                  Hodori in Mesa specializes in Soon Dobu (tofu) that you were talking about. Probably not as good as the one you had in LA though. Another good reason to go there is Asiana Market - the largest Korean market in the Valley.

                  Hodori
                  1116 S Dobson Rd
                  Mesa, AZ 85202
                  (480) 668-7979

                2. re: brianroaz

                  Its called cjg korean bbq (I can't pronounce the full name)... the website is at http://www.cgjkoreanbbq.com/ they have some awesome beebimbap. I haven't had anything else there yet!
                  Another great little palce that does sushi and korean bbq is off of Bethany Home and 43rd Ave called Table Top Grill and Sushi... They serve a great kimchi platter as an appetizer and the dishes we've tried there we've never been disappointed with. Haven't tried the sushi.

                3. re: xanderbear

                  It's not even fair to compare LA Korean to Phoenix Korean. Sort of like saying that my Bentley is better than your Yugo. Just not fair, nor apt.

                  Park's BBQ, Ondal 2, Soot Bull Jeep in Los Angeles' Koreatown are some of the best Korean (bbq or otherwise) here in the U.S.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    lol; it's true. It's like saying you can't get "French" food in the US like you could in Paris.

                    LA has the largest Korean population outside of Korea anywhere in the world and the same folks who have restaurants in Korea also opened restaurants in LA where prices of ingredients are lower, making the prices significantly lower than they would be in Asia (incidentally, and randomly, for this post; the Hong Kong dim sum places in the San Gabriel valley are similarly pedigreed, and for $1.95/dish is an unbeatable and unheard of value).

                  2. re: xanderbear

                    Xanderbear; try making your own... Ask on the home cooking board for recipes. It's shockingly simple and much much better for you (even the "best" places in LA are really heavy handed with the MSG in the tofu soup).

                4. LeeLee's has the biggest selection of Island-style products. That's where the people at Moki's get their stock of Hawaii's Own and lots of other stuff. There's a lot missing, I miss the rows of fresh mandu goodies like you still find at Uwajimaya's up in Seattle or back home.

                  I will second Takamatsu for Korean food.

                  --a converted desert island girl, fifteen years removed.

                  1. You can get all sorts of groceries at Lee Lee's market on Dobson and Warner rd in chandler.

                    1. I just posted about moving back to Phoenix after decades of living in L.A. asking for a great Korean BBQ place like Soot Bull Jeep in L.A..'s Koreatown. Now, I'm unbelievably sad that it seems none exists. But thanks to everyone for your suggestions!

                      I'm surprised that there's a 99 Ranch Market here, but will make sure and check it out. Does anyone know if it has the live fish and the plants like the L.A. ones do?

                      Where is this Mekong Plaza going to be located?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ValleyGal

                        The Chinese Market at COFCO is not a Ranch 99 (i.e., the chain in LA and Southern Cal). It is a Ranch Market that resembles Ranch 99. From asking around, it used to be part of the Ranch 99 chain, but later separated to be its own market. No connection whatsoever now.

                        Mekong Plaza -- great place, even better market; it's in Mesa, near Dobson and Main http://mekongplaza.com/

                        1. re: ValleyGal

                          99 Ranch market does have live fish (and bullfrogs, and eels, and crabs and whatever else) in tanks in the back. They also do a brisk business cleaning and frying up fish for take-out. Not sure about the "plants" you refer to - they have the inevitable bamboo stuff in the gift section. I think it's about the same size as LeeLee's just more convenient for us because it's just off the freeway. There's also a relatively decent Dim-Sum restaurant in the 99 Ranch plaza, I can't remember the name but it's to the east of the grocery.

                        2. There's a brand-new "Hawaiian" place by ASU that's basically fast-food Korean (Paradise Hawaiian BBQ, 580 S. College Ave #103 Tempe). I'm not a connoisseur, but thought it was tasty for its genre. I also like Mai Island Grill a couple of blocks away. Neither is what you're looking for, BUT both places have very, very friendly owners you could chat with about local shopping (if you avoid the ASU lunch rush, anyway).

                          -----
                          Ma'i Island Grill
                          705 S Forest Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281