Tagged: New


I’m not a bad daughter. In fact, I fancy myself as quite the opposite. Despite the distance and years between us, my parents and family in Korea are constantly in my thoughts and everyday actions. I am, for lack of better way to put this, my father’s daughter. As a child, I cringed and pouted when people would tell me I either was or looked exactly like my dad. “I want to be like umma, not appa,” I’d repeatedly whine. With this, my younger sister followed in my footsteps and we’d compete to claim inheritance of mom’s svelte and gorgeous physical features. As we’ve grown older, however, we’ve come to realize that while my sister may look more like my dad than I do, she acts more like my mom. Me? I am exactly like my dad.
From our stubby toes and absent-mindedness to our love for foreign languages and moments of silence, we are one and alike. My dad similarly bestowed upon me an appreciation for food in all forms. At the young age of 4 or 5, I had my first taste of gourmet cheese. I will never forget my dad in the kitchen, gingerly cutting the wrapped lump of German Butter cheese (Butterkäse) into generous slivers and placing each over slices of apple with his stumpy, callused hands. The first bite is one I will always remember, soft and buttery flawlessly paired with crisp and subtly-sweet. This flavor was only to be sharply, beautifully contrasted with the various salumi, or cured meats, he then allowed me to try. In addition to the more simplistic joys I grew up eating (instant mac & cheese, spaghetti with meat sauce, or spam, eggs, kimchi, and rice), the more complex and matured flavors of cheese and meats also have the ability to take me back to my not-so-distant, treasured childhood. And though it is always an honor and pleasure cooking for you, appa, if you were here for this upcoming Father’s Day, I wouldn’t think twice about taking you to Salt Kitchen & Tasting Bar. For memories sake. Continue reading

Jin Din Rou

After months and months of elated anticipation, Jin Din Rou officially opened their doors to a mob of famished and impatient customers  about a month ago on an already restaurant-laden and culinary-active South King St. Notwithstanding the hegemony of Pan-Asian cuisine in Hawaii, Jin Din Rou immediately enthralled locals and tourists alike for their Taiwanese specialty xiao long bao or soup dumplings (surprisingly, not-so-featured nor readily available in Oahu).

The chaotic and overpopulated restaurant  mirrors the atmosphere of China, while the interior decor and architectural aesthetics embodies the essence of Japan. The initial impression is that of a sensory overload (at least in sight, smell, and sound). The structure of the rather small restaurant is simple yet refined, making it visually appealing despite the manifest lack of space and privacy between cramped tables (minus the more spacious booths for parties of 4 or more, an unfortunate discrimination against couples, which I happen to travel in!). The window displaying their dainty kitchen and industrious chefs combined with the savory fragrance of steaming dumplings only arouse further eagerness and hunger for what’s to come, drowning out the commotion of an equally excited crowd around you. But, alas, is all this hype about Jin Din Rou reprehensible? I know that I, for one, have certainly rescinded my enthusiasm and expectations for the seemingly promising restaurant and its dining experience. Continue reading

A Fresh Start.

I suppose food for thought can always be fresh, right?  Although this endeavor may, perhaps, not be as fresh. Yet again… another food blog. However, I have excitedly assimilated myself into the blogging community (an achievement for which I am overtly ecstatic about). Despite being an avid follower and student of anything pertaining to food, I’ve been outdated and behind. Let’s just say I’m a little old-fashioned. After what seems like an eternity of pondering and procrastination, I have finally decided to put my gastronomical adventures to good use. More importantly, I think my lazy fingers have finally decided to exert the exercise my diligent mouth and stomach have been doing all along.

Each morning I look forward to a day of either cooking or eating out. If I’m lucky, both. Recently, I have been taking pictures of every dish I have prepared or every dish my friends and I have ordered. To be honest, this is actually because one of my New Year’s resolutions was to begin this food blog. As we can see, a third of the year has flown by and finally, we have a first post.

Anyway, as a food lover living in Hawaii, I have access to a wide range of cuisines and ingredients. Luckily for now, my Korean-American palate has found a ‘home away from home’ in this cultural melting pot where I have been exposed to and have become aware of so many different tastes and textures. Therefore, as a tribute to Honolulu along with my food-loving family and friends, I present to you “Hungry to Happy”, just another food blog to record my learning journey here and to hopefully help enlighten the culinarily curious everywhere.