Sunday, January 24, 2010


After a leisurely afternoon at the Ala Moana Beach Park I headed to Me BBQ for an early dinner. Me BBQ is a Korean joint located at 151 Uluniu Avenue in Waikiki that is known for both its quality and quantity of plate lunches. My Lonely Planet guidebook to Hawaii mentioned that they have excellent short ribs. I love short ribs, and I’ll eat them basically anytime I get the chance—they are one of my favorites. However, when I glanced over the menu conveniently composed of photographs of each option, I didn’t see anything labeled “short ribs.” I spotted one called Ka Li BBQ that looked like it could be ribs, so I took my chances and ordered it, hoping for the best.

It turned out that it was short ribs, just in a form I hadn’t been exposed to before, and it was amazing! The succulent and hefty portion of meat came with the choice of four sides. I chose kim chi, pickled cucumbers, bean sprouts, and macaroni salad, which is staple of any Hawaiian plate lunch. The flavorful sauce coating the meat was slightly sweet and yet also savory, and it penetrated each little bite. Some sections were a little bit tougher than others and the very nature of eating ribs requires some gnawing, something I’m not afraid of doing in public. The meal also came with two heaping mounds of steamed white rice on which the meat sat. The rice became deliciously coated in the sauce from the short ribs, which was very light, not thick and coating like many American BBQ sauces.

The sides were decent—nothing extraordinary, in my opinion, but definitely good accompaniments to the meat, which was clearly the star of the show. The most interesting was probably the cucumbers. They were pickled, but they hadn’t quite reached the point in the pickling process to be on the same par as a deli pickle. The skin was still smooth, and they were flexible yet with a bit of crunch. The cucumbers were lightly coated in a spicy sauce that may have been the same sauce used in the kim chi. I’m no kim chi aficionado, so I don’t know exactly how Me BBQ’s kim chi compares to others. It tasted basically like all the other kim chi I’ve had—like spicy, pickled cabbage. Sorry to all you out there who love it, but kim chi doesn’t thrill me. The bean sprouts seemed to have been steamed or marinated in a light sauce, like rice vinegar and salt. The flavor was very light, but they did add a nice crunch to the meal.

The macaroni salad was good and almost worked as a palate cleanser for all the strong Korean flavors. If the heat of the kim chi got to be too much or the Ka Li short ribs were too intense, then all it took as a bit of cold mac salad to get me ready for another bite of deliciousness. It was definitely my favorite of all the sides.

Me BBQ is a very small joint where you can order take out. There are a few picnic tables outside where you can sit down with what is sure to be a huge meal and enjoy watching people as they walk down Kuhio Avenue. Overall it was a filling and tasty meal. I’d like to go back and try some other Korean dishes they serve like Bi Bim Bab or stir-fried squid. My experience at Me BBQ definitely proves that even on vacation in Hawaii you can eat very well on a budget.

Me's Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon

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