Looking for a way to add some spice to your Valentine’s Day? There's a ton of restaurants at McCully Shopping Center, so if you and that special someone enjoy spicy food, here are options for casual dinners that turn up the heat.
Most customers at Ireh order tteokbokki ($11.95), according to owner Nicholas Kim. This traditional Korean street food is comfort food to locals. It’s a side dish meant for sharing, but customers often order it as an entrée.
This low-fat dish features generous veggies and can be supplemented with ramen noodles. It’s one of the spicier dishes on Ireh’s menu (there’s a non-spicy alternative as well).
One of the best known Korean soups, sundubu jjigae features a spicy anchovy broth with lots of soft tofu. Ireh’s version comes with an egg on the side for customers to crack and stir in. Ireh is one of the few restaurants in Hawaii to offer the egg on the side, according to Kim (most add the egg during cooking). The DIY egg touch allows for a more fun, authentic dining experience.
Thao Lao Restaurant
If you want something healthy with a substantial dose of spice, the basil shrimp salad features the best of both worlds. It’s super spicy (there's no mild version) and packed with fresh veggies and herbs, with no shortage of basil.
Pad ped turns up the heat on the temperature side as well. Prices for this spicy stir-fry vary depending on what kind of protein you choose: vegetables with tofu ($10.95), chicken, beef or pork ($11.95) and shrimp or seafood ($13.95). Beef is the customer favorite and provides a nice contrast to the plethora of veggies.
While many diners come for the pho, vermicelli noodles in hot spicy beef broth (aka bun bo Hue, $13.99) is another popular option.
The broth is flavorful, with portions of tender beef, pork shank and steamed pork sausage. It's not super spicy, and the exotic aroma will keep you slurping away. Each order comes with a side of fresh herb veggie garnishes — including basil, jalapenos, bean sprouts and more — that you can add for extra crunch and a splash of color.
McCully Shopping Center
1960 Kapiolani Blvd.