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Food La La: 678 Hawaii opens on Kapiolani
BY LINDSEY MURAOKA / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Last week I went to check out a new Korean yakiniku restaurant called 678 Hawaii. It’s part of a franchise owned by popular Korean comedian Kang Ho Dong. You can see his picture everywhere throughout the restaurant. It’s located at 1726 Kapiolani Blvd., across from the Hawaii Convention Center.
The atmosphere is very lively and bright. The servers are friendly and helpful. All the utensils and dishes are made of metal which gives the place an old school feel. I almost felt like I was in Korea.
678 in Korean is “yuk chil pal” which translates to “fresh quality meat.” This place totally lives up to its name!
They have an assortment of beef and pork to choose from here. My friends and I were craving pork so we chose the small pork combo which comes with three different types of pork and an array of side dishes and soup. The small combo is $43.99 (for 2 to 3 people) and the large combo is $73.99 (for 3 to 4 people).
The pork combo comes with premium seared pork belly, premium pork jowl and marinated spicy pork belly. It also comes with unlimited refills of egg, cheese with corn, sweet potato, onion, kimchi and your choice of either doenjang jjigae (bean paste stew), kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew) or soondubu (soft tofu stew).
Actually, I have a confession to make. I like this place so much that I went back again three days later and ordered the same combo. But doing so made me realize the small combo is not enough for three hungry people but it is definitely more than enough for two people.
The three thick pieces are the seared pork belly and the others are the pork jowl.
What makes this place different from other yakiniku places in Hawaii is that the grill has side compartments to cook the egg, cheese corn, kimchi, and onions. It takes awhile for the egg to cook, but it is worth the wait. There are also vents above the grills that suck up all the smoke!
The servers are really friendly and helpful. They will come around and help cook your meat for you. The pork belly is very tender and flavorful.
Next was the pork jowl. It has a very distinct and strong flavor so it doesn’t need much seasoning.
The spicy pork marinade tasted like the same type of marinade used for kalbi. It’s a good but I feel like it overpowers the natural flavor of the pork.
The type of kimchi they serve is tangy and sour. It’s perfect for grilling.
They give two different types of salad to eat with the meat.
This is mool kimchi (white radish kimchi) soup. It’s cold with a slightly tart and vinegary flavor. It’s great as a palate cleanser.
The doenjang jjigae is really good and has a nice spicy and garlicky flavor. There are all kinds of treasures in the soup: pork, enoki mushrooms, clams, and dduk (Korean mochi).
My friends and I were still a bit hungry so we ordered the doshirak (Korean lunch box) for $6.99. It comes in a metal container that you shake it to mix up all the ingredients before you eat it. After eating this I felt very content and happy.
It’s a mix of rice, egg, kimchi, fish cake and anchovies.
I think 678 has become my new favorite yakiniku place!
678 Hawaii is open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Call 941-6678.
Lindsey Muraoka blogs about food and drink for the Pulse. Contact her on Twitter or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.