Part II: Where real Koreans eat Korean food

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I was surprised by the reaction to Part 1 of Where real Koreans eat Korean food, which ran on Nonstop more than two years go. Many people have told me they still use this gallery as a guide to Oahu’s Korean restaurants, sending it to friends or visitors who want recommendations. But because many of the places mentioned in Part I are now closed, and even my own list has dramatically changed, I decided it was time for a refresh, with more “real Koreans” sharing their picks. So here’s round two:

Jaymes Song

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Jaymes Song (@JaymesSong on Twitter) is a real estate agent at Prudential Advantage Realty. He is a kimchi connoisseur and holds a third-degree black belt in spicy foods. Here's his list:

No. 5: Cafe Duck Butt — If you can find this place and a legit parking stall, you’re in for a treat. The menu is filled with Korean bar food offerings that go perfectly with beer, soju or makkoli. I’ve had everything on the menu and some of my favorites dishes are the dukbokki with ramen, whole fried chicken, spicy fried chicken gizzards, pork with kimchi, veggie/fruit platter and the bacon-cheese fries with jalepeno dip (ok, the fries are not so Korean, but so, so good). And if you’re mouth is burning from all the spice, there’s an array of flavored sojus to extinguish the fire including the popular watermelon soju. — Cafe Duck Butt, 901 Kawaiahao St., 808-593-1880

No. 4: Chodang — Disclaimer: don’t go here for the service, atmosphere or with your gourmet palate. This is the place for your down-and-dirty Korean fix when you’re on a budget. A meal at Chodang -- complete with a few banchan costs less than a McDonald’s value meal. And having soondubu or the meat jun for $5 is cheaper than cooking at home. — Chodang, 451 Piikoi St., 808-591-0530

No. 3: Sorobol — While none of its offerings at this 24-hour joint are really must-haves, Sorobol has something for every one and does everything pretty decently. After a night of drinking, try the kalbi jim or a bubbling bowl of chige, catch a cab home and thank me in the morning. — Sorabol, 805 Keeaumoku St., 808-947-3113

No. 2: 678 Hawaii — First of all, that life-sized cut out at the front door is not me. That’s actually the owner and Korean star Kang Ho-dong. Second of all, Korean food is so much more than barbeque – but the meat is so darn good. 678 is a chain in Korea with a few locations in the U.S. They are known for their pork, but a lot of locals like the beef. Want a bit of both? Go for a combo for two that costs about $50 and comes with a stew. While they have all the traditional side dishes, this is the first place I’ve seen corn with cheese. — 678 Hawaii, 1726 Kapiolani Blvd, 808-941-6678

No. 1: Seoul Garden — The TV commercial on KBFD says “located across the street from 24 Hour Fitness.” But it’s probably better known for being next to a popular French-named establishment with no windows. The place is small, but does many things right – from the BBQ to the banchan. The kimchi here is my favorite and everything isn’t over flavored and salted like other places. And for the healthy eaters, get the stone pot rice filled with grains, beans and other nutritious goodies. It takes about 20 minutes to cook, but it’s worth the wait. — Seoul Garden, 1679 Kapiolani Blvd., 808-944-4803