Kalbi, kimchi, meat chon and mandu are some of the delectable Korean dishes we love in Hawai‘i. But did you know that some of these dishes are unique to Hawai‘i in the way they are prepared and served?

Food writer Joan Namkoong, a second generation Korean American, draws on her island heritage to explain the Korean kitchen in Hawai‘i, distinctly different from a Korean kitchen in Korea. The ingredients, the seasonings, the textures, and flavors in Hawai‘i bear the history of Korean immigrants who came to the islands in the early 1900s. Succeeding generations and more recent immigrants have put their mark on Korean food in Hawai‘i, a popular cuisine that has evolved over the past century.

Korean food is a healthy cuisine that relies on many vegetables, grains, fermented foods, and simple cooking techniques that require little fat. Meats are served as a small part of this vegetable-centric cuisine that focuses on many tasty side dishes on the table. It’s a cuisine islanders love for its robust flavors and varied dishes.

Noted food writer Betty Shimabukuro of The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and cookbook author Muriel Miura have teamed up to present Hawai‘i Cooks, a series of cookbooks featuring the Island’s influential cuisines. Next in the series includes Portuguese, Okinawan, Japanese, and Chinese cooking.


About the Author

Namkoong was born and raised in Hawai‘i where her father had a Korean restaurant in the early 1950s. She has been part of the culinary scene in the state since the mid 1970s, as the co-founder of The Compleat Kitchen retail stores and then as the food editor of the Honolulu Advertiser. As a freelance food writer, author, and consultant, she has written numerous articles and books and has been involved in establishing farmers markets in Hawai‘i.




Ssal / Rice 

Pibimpap / Mixed Up Rice Bowl

Ttok Boki / Spicy Rice Cakes

Ttok Kuk / Rice Cake Soup

Yak Pap / Steamed Sweet Rice

Silu Ttok / Layered Rice Cake

Ttok Pokkum / Rice Cake Stir-Fry


Kuk & Tchigae / Soups & Stews 

Kkori Komtang / Oxtail Soup

Yukkaejang / Spicy Beef Soup

Minari Kuk / Watercress Soup

Kimchi Tchigae / Kimchi Stew

Miyok Kuk / Seaweed Soup

Piji / Soybean Dreg Stew

Kong Namul Kuk / Soybean Sprout Soup


Kimchi / Pickled Vegetables 

Kimchi Party Dip

Paechu Kimchi / Won Bok Kimchi

Oi Kimchi / Stuffed Cucumber Kimchi

Tongchimi / White Radish Kimchi

Kkaktugi / White Radish Kimchi


Chon / Pan-Fried Foods 

Kaji / Eggplant

Hobak / Zucchini

Saengson / Fish

Kogi / Beef

Zucchini and Ground Beef

Nrum Juk / Skewered Meat and Vegetable

Korean-Style Meatballs

Pindaettok / Mung Bean Pancake

Pa Chon I / Green Onion Pancake I

Pa Chon II / Green Onion Pancake with Egg

Kimchi Chon / Kimchi Pancake


Kogi & Haemul / Meats & Seafood 

Basic Korean Sauce

Kalbi Tchim I / Braised Short Ribs I

Kalbi Tchim II / Braised Short Ribs II

Kalbi / Barbecued Beef Short Ribs

Chang jorim / Soy Braised Beef Cubes

Pulkogi / Barbecued Beef Slices

Song Do Tchim / Braised Meats and Vegetables

Taeji Pulkogi / Spicy Barbecue Pork

Tahkkui / Korean Barbecue Chicken

‘Chicken Alice’ Chicken Wings

Tahk Tchim / Braised Chicken

Taegu / Spicy Shredded Codfish

Seafood Stew

Spicy Sardines

Popcorn Shrimp

Poke I

Poke II

Taegu Tchim / Braised Codfish

Namul / Vegetable Dishes 

Oi Namul / Cucumber

Sigumchi Namul / Spinach

Kaji Namul / Eggplant

Sukchu Namul / Mung Bean Sprouts

Kong Namul / Soybean Sprouts

Fresh Ogo, Cucumber and Crab Salad

Lettuce with Hot Chili Dressing

Shrimp-Vegetable Salad with Pine Nut Dressing

Kosari / Fresh Fern Shoots


Kuksu / Noodles 

Chopchae / Vegetables and Noodle Stir-Fry

Naengmyun / Noodles in Cold Broth

Pibimkuksu / Sesame Noodles

Kuksu / Noodles in Hot Broth


Panchan / Side Dishes 

Cho Kochu Jang / Spicy Table Sauce

Cho Kan Jang / Mild Table Sauce

Mustard Sauce

Kochu Jang / Chili Pepper Paste

On Jin’s Chili Paste Sauce

Kelvin’s Table Sauce

Kim / Toasted Seaweed

Ssam / Lettuce Wrap

Muk I / Mung Bean Jelly I

Muk II / Mung Bean Jelly II

Tubu Chorim / Pan-Fried Bean Curd


Special Dishes 

Mandu I / Korean Dumplings I

Mandu II / Korean Dumplings II

Kujeolpan / Nine Ingredient Appetizer

Pancakes I

Pancakes II




Beef or Chicken


Sujunggwa / Persimmon and Cinnamon Punch

Shinsollo / Korean Hot Pot




Author: Joan Namkoong