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Delicious Korean-Japanese Barbecue Dining

By: Elizabeth Garrett

Date Posted: 2001-01-26

Have you ever eaten at Samís-by-theĖSea in Awase and wondered what the restaurant across the street was like? Well, I finally decided to try it. The restaurant is Kan-Nichi-Kan, a Korean yaki-niku (grilled meat) restaurant. According to my Okinawan friend, the name Kan-Nichi-Kan means Korean Japanese Restaurant. Upon entering the restaurant, immediately to the right there is a traditional Korean style dining room with the low tables and the floor cushions. In the center of this dining section, there is a beautiful Korean floor screen. The pastoral scenes depicted on the floor screen are painted on silk and embroidered with silk thread. Whether you sit on the floor to eat or on a chair or booth in the other part of Kan-Nichi-Kan, all the tables have grills in the center so that you can cook your own meat. Some Korean barbecue restaurants are filled with barbecue smoke inside, but Kan-Nichi-Kan had excellent ventilation. In fact, the air conditioner was blowing out plenty of very cool air.

Tastefully decorated, the inside the rest of the restaurant included items such as Korean vases, sections of a silk floor screen, a wooden carving of a traditional Korean hat, and other interesting items. I sat at a table near a beautiful watercolor painting of cranes sitting in a tree. The atmosphere is comfortable and cozy inside.

Anxious to see if the food was as authentic as the dťcor, I looked at the photos in the menu. (Since I canít read Japanese, whenever I go to a restaurant, I have to hope that there are photos of the meals in the menus.). The Lunch Specials are available from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and the prices range from •690 to •1480 for a set. Regardless of price, the lunch sets include bulgogi (Korean barbecue beef), kimchi (a Korean staple), soup, rice, and namul (seasoned vegetables). My husband and I ordered the •900 lunch specials which included bibimbab (namul and egg on top of rice) in addition to the lunch basics. For my three-year old daughter, I ordered the •690 lunch set which consists of the just the basic items mentioned above. Of course the dinner menu is pricier with sets ranging from •800 to •2300.

The waitress quickly brought out our meals and I was pleasantly surprised. The bibbimbab was topped with namul, such as bracken, bean sprouts, carrots, and shiitake mushrooms. There were also thin slivers of cooked eggs, seasoned seaweed, and a fried egg sunny side up on top of the bibimbab. Also, for those who of you need some spice in your life, a dish of kochujang (hot pepper paste) is provided so you can mix it into your bibbimbab. The bulgogi (barbecue beef) was tasty and tender. On the same plate with the bulgogi were large slices of onions, carrots, eggplants, and cabbage to cook with your beef. I never had barbecued eggplants and cabbage until today and I really liked it. By the way, the kimchi is fiery hot so eat it at your own risk. At the same time, itís not so spicy that a couple tablespoons of Mylanta canít cure it. The seaweed soup was also a flavorful addition to the lunch set.

I was also impressed with the reasonable quantity of food for the price. For •2600 we had a satisfying and delicious lunch for a family of three. We have eaten at some restaurants where we have paid more and received less. In fact, we had to rush home after dinner so we could eat some more food because we were so hungry. So if you would like a scrumptious taste of Korea while in Okinawa, stop by the Kan-Nichi-Kan restaurant in Awase.

Directions: Take Highway 85 north toward Gushikawa and make a right at MOS Burger and follow the signs towards Samís-by-the-Sea. Kan-Nichi-Kan is on the right side of the street across from Samís.

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