Thursday, August 25, 2022

Umma's K-BBQ - Lake Forest

Have you heard of meat jun? If you’ve been to Hawaii, and you got a plate lunch, and that place where you got the plate lunch is Korean-owned, you’d know that meat jun is tender, thinly sliced beef dipped in egg and pan fried.

Does it kinda look and taste like an omelet crossed with a milanesa?


Is it like the softer cousin to katsu?


Is it totally mind-boggling that it's not on the menus of every Hawaiian BBQ joint here on the mainland?


It is, however, completely apropos that I found it at a mom-and-pop takeout joint in Lake Forest called Umma’s (which is Korean for “mom”), because meat jun is said to have been invented and popularized by a Korean mom-and-pop in Oahu in the 1970s.

Umma’s has the spirit of all the Korean-owned plate lunch joints I’ve tried in Hawaii where meat jun has since proliferated. And for about $20 for the combo, you get your choice of two proteins to build your Mauna Kea pile of meat.

Your first choice should, of course, be the meat jun. Your second choice could be galbi, BBQ chicken, spicy chicken, bulgogi, spicy pork, chicken katsu, or the fish version of the meat jun.

Next, pick four sides from their panchan array. The mac salad is almost required. The spicy cucumbers are a must.

Then you go home to find another person with whom to share all this food, because if you know anything about Korean-style Hawaiian plate lunches, it’s that it is designed to make new Hawaiian islands out of people who can finish it by themselves.


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