Hon Wo Korean Restaurant (漢和韓國料理) is an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ franchise popular in Hong Kong and which has 7 locations in the New Territories and Hong Kong Island.
My relatives were a big fan of this place and praised how they served a huge variety of hot dishes in addition to an all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue selection of meats and seafood.
Thus, my aunt reserved a table at the Shek Mun location of Hon Wo Korean Restaurant for 8 for our lunch on a Saturday. When we arrived at the restaurant (on the second floor of the plaza right out side the Shek Mun MTR station — so convenient), we were given a table right away. There were already many customers dining in.
I browsed the selection of food available and perhaps the restaurant was overly hyped up for me, but I wasn’t that amazed or impressed. There was a fruit station, dessert station, and the hot dishes consisted of vegetables, fried rice, Pig’s Trotters in Ginger and Sweetened Vinegar (uncommon at buffets), spicy soup, fried chicken wings. There was a dedicated section for all the raw meats, seafood, and vegetables. There were individual tongs provided for each section of raw food. There was a lineup of people waiting for their turns. There was also a salad station with Korean cold banchan.
At our table, we had two barbecue grills. I selected some fried rice, chilled spinach and black fungus. I wasn’t that interested in the other hot dishes. The fried rice was quite good.
For the raw meats, I chose pig intestines (one of my favourites and rarely seen at a KBBQ), marinated chicken, marinated beef, and some other cuts of beef, pork, and chicken.
There was also a large refrigerator with drinks! This was actually the most impressive part in my eyes. It was all-you-can-drink with a huge selection of cultural drinks like “leng cha”, Korean Milkis, Korean beers, Korean cider, and healthy drinks from the Healthy Kitchen brand in addition to the usual Coke, Fanta, etc.
I hadn’t had Korean Milkis before, so I took a can from the fridge. It was like a carbonated light milky drink that was refreshing.
In terms of Korean BBQ, the secret to cooking the food well is patience. It takes time to ensure that the meat is not only thoroughly cooked but not overcooked either. You can’t rush it.
I felt compelled to quickly cook all the meats we had chosen on our plates since my relatives tend to eat quickly and assumed that the meats that we had chosen were for them. I didn’t really taste the food that thoroughly because of this. It was all just “okay” to me. I didn’t enjoy the process which, in my opinion, defeats the purpose of do-it-yourself Korean BBQ. After the first round of grilling meats, I simply stuck to eating the readily available foods instead.
When I went back out to survey what was available, I saw that there were newly prepared platters of sushi available. I liked how they had vegetarian options for who didn’t eat that much meat. All of the sushi were vegetarian. It was quite good. I also got some fried cabbage and chilled vermicelli noodles.
I also tried the Pig’s Trotters in Ginger and Sweetened Vinegar (豬腳薑醋). This was cooked and done really well. The vinegar wasn’t too sour. This type of soup is very good for women’s bodies especially and what women eat after giving birth to restore their health (according to Chinese customs).
After this, I went for the dessert section. The Osmanthus Flower Jelly (桂花糕) was delicious.
There was grass jelly as well as tofu pudding. The grass jelly was good. The tofu pudding was down to the bottom of the barrel so it wasn’t that “smooth”.
I was surprised to see the Thai coconut tapioca cakes in a tin foil form. It was impressively delicious as well.
Although it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet, there was surprisingly no seating limit. The food service ended at 3:30 p.m. so technically guests could stay from when they opened at 11:30 a.m. and continue eating all the way until 3:30 p.m.
It is a very family friendly restaurant that is perfect for big groups and especially families. I say this because it is a very affordable all-you-can-eat restaurant. Each adult price for the AYCE weekend was only 133 HKD while seniors were 113 HKD. That is a huge steal for a buffet that includes so many selections of food and drinks. It’s no wonder that my relatives raved about this place so much.
During the weekday lunch, you can also order from the a la carte menu — it’s not all buffet style.
Overall, I didn’t feel like I explored all of the food options well enough to give a good opinion of the KBBQ experience. It’s too bad. I could tell that there were so many types of marinated meats and seafood that I could have tried, but I just wasn’t in the mood. I also had a slight suspicion that if the entrance fee was so low for all-you-can-eat food, then what is the catch? Is the quality of the foods lower than other establishments in order to be able to sustain themselves? Or is it just a matter of low costs bringing in more customers?