Kimchee fried rice burritos, bibimbap bowls and wagyu mushroom cheeseburgers? Taxpayers of Hawaii, take heart: All this is parked just outside the state Department of Taxation on Punchbowl Street, courtesy of Eunju Jo and Mila Bang.
Friends since middle school in South Korea, the two dreamed of one day running a food truck together. Eventually Jo moved to Hawaii and attended Gros Bonnet Culinary Academy, while Bang moved to California. Six months ago they reunited in Honolulu and voila! They got a big yellow food truck.
Jo and Bang started serving up their Korean food and Korean-inspired local dishes in Kalihi in September. With feedback from customers, they tweaked their menu and built a following.
One day when they were paying their taxes, a security guard suggested they hit up downtown with its thousands of office workers and heavy foot traffic. That sounded good: Despite their following, Kalihi had little foot traffic and the rent was relatively high. Jo and Bang took the security guard’s advice and moved.
They’ve been serving up weekday lunches in front of 830 Punchbowl since then.
We heard about the Sistah Truck from local foodie Malia, aka @koreankitkat, who swears by their wagyu burger and chicken katsu. It wasn’t long before Maka Kahawai and I showed up to try the wagyu burger, bibimbap bowl and spicy pork plate.
The burger is their best seller. The soft, pillowy bun is piled high with toppings and drips with sauce. You definitely need two hands and a stack of napkins. We both loved this and would gladly order it again.
The spicy pork plate with kimchee fried rice (+$2) is full of flavor. Sweet and spicy flavors accent every bite. And for $8, it’s a steal.
Looks can be deceiving with the bibimbap. But once you dig in, the crunch of the vegetables and the marinated beef steal the show.
Be on the lookout for their daily specials and combos. Some of the really interesting dishes on rotation: pork kalbi and kimchee fried rice burritos with house-made adobo salsa.
We were stuffed with big flavors and local-size portions. We will definitely be back soon to try the chicken katsu and wagyu loco moco.
830 Punchbowl St.
Honolulu, HI 96819
Mon-Sat 11 a.m.-2 p.m.