At Hawaiian Banchan Company, it’s all about the premium side dishes
TThe bottom flooring of a low-rise workplace constructing on Kapiolani Road, subsequent to a hair salon and a veterinary clinic, looks as if an unlikely location for a banchan retailer. However that is the place Hawai’i Banchan Co. will be the key. If it had been in a neighborhood in Seoul. In South Korean cities, the place many younger folks could not prepare dinner, banchan outlets are a neighborhood staple. In Honolulu, the place it is extra restricted, this new store distinguishes itself with an excellent choice of kim chi and different facet dishes usually introduced in from the motherland.
Whereas we’re extra accustomed to Palama supermarkets and H Marts with aisles of ramyun noodles, gochujang paste and marinated BBQ meats, Hawaiian Banchan strikes a stability between Korean specialty delicacies and comfort retailer fare. It is high-end, proper all the way down to the appear and feel. Its darkish partitions distinction with the shiny chilly containers lined with frozen meals on the correct and refrigerated items on the left. The wood containers comprise rigorously organized baggage of colourful dried greens and fruits. The usage of monitor lighting, slightly than the sterile look of typical fluorescent tubes, is lush for the Banshan retailer.
A small choice of soups contains seaweed soup and kim chi cheeji; They’re manufactured domestically utilizing merchandise offered within the retailer. Half the choices are kim chi and banchan made by Mishan, a 30-year-old banchan model present in Lottemart and different shops throughout South Korea, and carried twice weekly. Open the doorways to bowls of kim chi—reduce complete cabbage, kale, and cucumber—plus soy sauce-marinated crab and shrimp. Within the case of banchan, I discover half-pound containers of facet dishes starting from fried anchovies to braised lotus roots and marinated perilla leaves. You’ll be able to put collectively an entire meal with sides from right here. Simply add rice.
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Additionally within the cooler case: doenjang soybean paste, naengmyeon noodles, and cheeji stew kits, in addition to sachets of espresso and fruit drinks poured into small outlets dotted over ice. On the opposite facet of the shop there’s numerous frozen and imported seafood as properly. I picked up some frozen chive and zucchini fritters and Daduk Mandu to crisp up within the air fryer at dwelling. Good for snacking with a light-weight beer within the night. There are additionally variations of the frozen kimbap rice rolls, that are extremely popular at Dealer Joe’s.
The rigorously curated choice stands out in comparison with different native Korean markets and makes a giant distinction. Hawai’i Banchan is just not a lot a competitor as a fill-in-the-gap retailer for specialty items. I do not suppose I’ve ever seen cold-pressed sesame oil and perilla oil, nor a liter bottle of Jeju honey, on the market elsewhere on Oahu.
What I captured:
- Braised lotus root ($6.83)
- Marinated pickled cucumbers ($6.89)
- Ssamjang in tube ($5.99)
- Chige Soup Paste ($3.29)
- Frozen Zucchini and Chive Pie ($8.99)
- Vegetable and dried fruit chips ($4.99)
- Dehydrated Candy Potato Chips ($4.99)
On-line critiques in Korean declare that Hawai’i Banchan Co. It is the closest style to dwelling, and inexpensive. We have been instructed that the choice continues to be within the pilot part as extra rigorously chosen discoveries are launched.
Open every day 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., 1347 Kapi’olani Blvd. Suite 105, @hawaii_banchan_co