Sometimes, you want a lot of food. Other times you want a lot of food. These moments are usually preceded by a long hike up a mountain, a great surf session, a particularly hard workday, or just because. They might also be in preparation for a beach picnic, a celebration, or a family gathering. On the day that I decided to check out BBQ Hut in Kunia Shopping Center, it was the latter. My godmother and her family wanted to stop by my family’s house to hang out for the first time since the pandemic started. So I thought it would be a great idea to purchase food from here as my contribution to a mini potluck.
I phoned in my order, and although the staff at BBQ Hut didn’t pick up the first time I called, they briskly picked up the phone the second time. The order was set to be ready in 10 minutes, and I was on my way. The restaurant is on the middle level of the shopping center; when you’re driving on Kupuohi Street going towards the North Shore, turn left into the first driveway. Neighboring shops include Auntie Pasto’s, Kunia Chinese Restaurant, and Ohana Ramen. There are a couple of designated parking stalls for phone orders right in front of the shop, making it super convenient. My order was ready upon arrival. The aroma of the food was comforting, as I drove home with the plates. Needless to say, I was excited to partake in the meal once our guests arrived at our house!
I found that the combo plates were a great deal. They are massive and come with a choice of four sides and a ton of rice. The side choices are extensive! There are 14 to choose from: long rice, tofu, bean sprouts, choi sum, cabbage, broccoli, kimchi, cucumber, seaweed, daikon, potato salad, shoyu potato, macaroni, and corn.
First up was the Pearl’s Special, #15 on the menu. It comes with four strips of kalbi (Korean shortrib), two pieces of BBQ chicken thighs, BBQ beef, and 1 piece mandoo. The vegetables I chose to complement this were bean sprouts, choi sum, kimchi, and shoyu potato. I found the kalbi to be tender and juicy. I appreciated the char marks on the chicken, indicating that the chicken was well-done, however, the chicken meat was on the drier side. The beef was well-done with a sweet-savory marinade. As for the mandoo, I didn’t actually get to try it as it was swooped up by someone else in the family. The veggies were all refreshing, an ample amount to offset the heaviness of the meats. Although the chicken was dry, I’d get some variation of this combo again with the same exact veggies I chose.
Second was the #18 combo with meat jun and fish jun. The sides I chose for this plate were seaweed, daikon, potato salad, and macaroni. Both the ribeye meat and the fish meat were savory and a little sweet. For the salty profile that one might be looking for in the meal, the shoyu-based dipping sauce is where it’s at. The egg batter that covers the meat makes this plate even more filling than it already is, so it’s a solid choice. As for the sides, the seaweed and daikon were refreshing, but the potato salad and macaroni were too heavy for my taste. They were loaded up with lots of mayo. I mean, I’m not much of a potato salad or macaroni fan to begin with, but if you like rich flavors, BBQ Hut’s potato salad and/or macaroni are for you!
Next up was something on the other menu, the bibimbap! If you’re not familiar with this dish, it’s a rice dish served with heaps of veggies, marinated beef, and a fried egg with gochujang (Korean sweet-savory red chili paste). It’s best enjoyed by mixing all of the toppings together. This happens to be my favorite Korean dish and is also my mom’s favorite. She’s usually one to save a portion for me even if we have a common favorite food, but I’m sad to say that she got to the bibimbap before I did… and there were no leftovers! As I expected, mom said that she thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to trying BBQ Hut’s bibimbap for myself next time!
One side dish that I got to try was the cheese crab wonton. One order comes with five pieces. The way that these were wrapped up was reminiscent of little flowers. Although the wrapper was crispy, the amount of filling in the wontons were too small for my liking. I do wish that there was a way to add more filling without the wonton bursting open completely. I also didn’t like the fact that there was way more crab than cream cheese, so the wonton itself was dry for my taste. If you like little shots of crab meat, I think you’d be satisfied with BBQ Hut’s take on crab-cream cheese wontons, but I personally wasn’t a fan.
Overall, the food at BBQ Hut was decent. The portions were generous and it was a good price for the value. The plate lunches hold well over longer periods of time, something that is much appreciated for potluck parties when food tends to sit out for up to a couple of hours. They sure do hit the spot to celebrate a successful hike, surf sesh, or life in general. Their food is bound to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters, as there is a range of choices not showcased in this blog post. The best part is that it is bound to induce a kanak attack! If I’m heading to or coming from a beach on the west side, I would pick up food from here.
How about you? What would you want to try? I’d love to read your thoughts!
Hours: Monday through Saturday from 10:30 am-9:00 pm, Sunday from 10:30 am-8:30 pm
Address: 94-673 Kupuohi Street, Waipahu, HI 96787
Phone number: (808) 678-1188