Korean Restaurants (Directory Included)

CONTRIBUTED BY JAMES PARKER

Editor’s Note: James knows where to find a LOT of Korean restaurants on Okinawa. Here he shares a few of his favorites, and he’s also been kind enough to include a directory of others around the island. See where it takes you! (And if you have one to add, let us know!)

Korean Restaurants l Okinawa Hai!

My wife is from Korea, and I lived in Korea for a total of 10 years while stationed there with the U.S. Army, so we love Korean food and we were very excited to find so many wonderful Korean restaurants here in Okinawa.

Out of the Korean restaurants that we have eaten at so far, we placed Mi Jeong among our favorites based on the combination of food taste, atmosphere, and location. Mi Jeong is located just one block away from the famous International Street in Naha, and the decoration and atmosphere inside the restaurant puts your mind and stomach in the mood for some delicious Korean food. Our favorite dish there is the “Sam Gye Tang,” which is a combination of chicken and ginseng in a pepper-flavored rice broth. I like to pour the broth over a bowl of rice and let my rice soak in before eating the rice. It comes with a little salt and pepper mix to dip the chicken in or sprinkle in the broth.  

Mi Jeong l Okinawa Hai!
Mi Jeong

The word Annyunghaseyo is Korean for “How are you,” and the name of another of our favorite Korean restaurants in Naha. My wife and I were very impressed by the hospitality of this restaurant from the moment we entered until we left. We had our 1-year old daughter with us and they were quick to make sure we sat at the most comfortable table for our daughter. I recommend the “Galbi Tang”, which is a beef rib soup. That’s what I ate there and it was very delicious, especially if you put your rice in the soup.

The first Korean restaurant we ate at in Okinawa was Insadong, which is the name of a popular tourist district in Seoul flooded with traditional Korean shops and restaurants. The food at Insadong in Naha was very good, but we were surprised that they charge extra for the various side dishes, called “ban chan” in Korean, that normally are included with every meal free of charge in Korea. However, that seems to be the norm for Korean restaurants in Okinawa.

Insadong l Okinawa Hai!
Insadong

Suraksan is my favorite restaurant out of all of the Korean restaurants we have been to so far. The entrance feels like you are entering a Korean family’s home. That’s mostly because you are entering an actual home, which one side is used as a restaurant and the family that lives in that house/restaurant all work there. So if you want to experience a real Korean “home-style” meal, this is the place to go. I had the “Bulgogi” here and it was delicious. They also have a young boy that played with our 1-year old daughter while we ate dinner, giving my wife and I some much needed time to enjoy our meal. The only downside is the place is a little difficult to find without a good GPS or iPhone.

Suraksan l Okinawa Hai!
Suraksan

Last but not least on our list is GEJOL, which means “season” in Korean. It’s in Ginowan, so you don’t have to drive too far from base to get there, and the food is good. We ate the “Bibim Naeng Myun” which is spicy cold noodles mixed with vegetables and a boiled egg, and we also had some “Duk Bokki” (rice cake in spicy and sweet sauce) and “Kim Bap” (a sushi roll of vegetables & rice wrapped in seaweed). The owner is Korean, and there is a TV with Korean shows playing, giving you the feeling of being in Korea.

If you are just looking for Korean BBQ places, of course there is Myung Dong and Hanil Gwan, both of which are chain restaurants with a couple of different locations. There is also a place near Araha Beach in front of Camp Foster called Bokuke or “Park Ga” in Korean which means “Park’s House”. He has a Facebook page and a Japanese website. This place is mainly for those who like to drink Soju (Korean rice wine similar to Vodka) and eat some BBQ Spare Ribs or Samgyupsal (Korean-style three-layer bacon that you cook at your table). It’s not a fancy place, but the simplistic tables and chairs make you feel like you are in a Korean “Pojang Macha” or Street Vendor “Soju Tent” type place.

James’ Directory of Korean Restaurants (in alphabetical order):

 

Annyunghaseyo l Okinawa Hai!
Annyunghaseyo

Annyunghaseyo 안녕하세요 (アンニョンハセヨ)

 

Bokuke l Okinawa Hai!
Bokuke

Bokuke  朴家 박가

 

Busan Gak 부산각 (釜山閣)

 

Dae Jang Geum 대장금 (大長今)

 

Gejol l Okinawa Hai!
GEJOL

GEJOL 계절

 

Goryeo l Okinawa Hai!
Goryeo

Goryeo 고려 (高麗)

 

Hanil Gwan (Awase Branch) 한일관 (韓日館)

 

Hanil Gwan (Ginowan Branch) 한일관 (韓日館)

 

Insadong l Okinawa Hai!
Insadong

Insadong 인사동 (仁寺洞)

 

Mi Jeong 미정 (みーじょん)

 

Mrs. Han l Okinawa Hai
Mrs. Han

Mrs. Han 미세스 한 (ミセスハン)

 

Myung Dong (Makiminato Branch) 마키미나토점 (牧港店)

 

Myung Dong (Naha Branch) 명동(明洞) 오로쿠점 (小禄店)

 

Saranghae l Okinawa Hai!
Saranghae

Saranghae 사랑해 (サランヘ)

 

Seoul Jung 서울정 (ソウル亭)

 

Suraksan l Okinawa Hai!
Suraksan

Suraksan 설악산 (雪岳山)

12 COMMENTS

  1. I was stationed here 20 years ago and used to love going to this Korean resraraunt right outside Kadena gate 5. I couldn’t tell you the name but it was a cook at your table kind of place. I have looked but can’t find it anymore? Does anyone know if it is still there and I am just lost?

  2. Does anyone know the number for Chinmi? Also, are the days open still Weds-Mon? I was planning on trying it tonight (Tuesday) so I don’t want to get my hopes up if they aren’t even open. Thanks in advance!

  3. After lunch at Insadong I learned a few things that I wish I knew before going there. If you’re a smoker you will be happy to know that you can smoke inside Insadong. Also, they don’t accept credit cards, but they do accept dollars at an exchange rate close to the actual one, but don’t expect your change if it’s less than 5 dollars.

  4. I just called Mijeong to make a reservation for lunch, but she said they are not open for lunch, only dinner. So I called Insadong and found out they are open for lunch and they have Samgyetang, and don’t need a reservation.

    I just thought I would share this information for those planning to go eat Samgyetang today.

  5. Today is called “malbok” (말복) in Korean, one of 3 days called Sambok ‘삼복(三伏)’ in July and August, (I guess it could be called “dog days of summer”) where Koreans eat either dog or chicken to get through the hot summer without suffering too much due to the heat. Although, nowadays very few Koreans eat dog, but instead they eat “Samgyetang” (삼계탕), which is chicken with garlic, pure ginseng root, rice, and other organic ingredients in a tasty broth.

    I’m not sure if it really does help get through the hot weather, but I will go eat Samgyetang today, probably at Mijeong. If you would like to try it, be sure to call in advance to see if they have it on the menu before you go. Also, Mijeong requires reservations for lunch.

    Just as an interesting side note, the character Bok from Sambok in Chinese is 伏 which is a combination of person and dog. I’m not sure if that is just a coincidence or not, but I thought it was interesting.

    Have a good Malbok!

  6. On what days is chinmi open? their hours are posted on the roll up door but I haven’t been able to catch them when they are open.

    • Chinmi is opened wednesdays-mondays, 5pm-10pm. closed-tuesdays. Unfortunatly she is in Korea at the moment taking care of her mother. She will be back soon. Her place is small and only has two tables so calling in before hand for take out is probably better. Her food is authentic and soooo good. I love her yukejhang (spicy beef soup) and the side dishes are fresh. She serves both older sour kimchee and the fresh crunchy batches. I prefer kimchee to be a little more fermented.

  7. James, this is great! My wife is also from Korea and we got here last week. Perhaps they can be friends. Please send me an email if your wife is interested. Thanks.

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