BY WAYNE CHARGUALAF
For the Journal
LA Korean BBQ and Tofu, a sundubu restaurant, is set to open on Oct. 30. Located near Guam Premier Outlets and next to John B’s Mart, LA Korean BBQ will serve homemade, traditional sundubu.
Renovations for the restaurant were designed by owner and chef Ho Jin Song and implemented by New South Pacific, with Song’s additional touches. Total cost of the renovation was about $300,000. The restaurant will seat 75 people, and is scheduled to be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days per week.
The sundubu, which means “soft tofu” in Korean, will be made in-house. “We have our own machine, we try to make it so everything’s organic,” said Song. The soybeans for the tofu will be shipped from Korea, as will be vegetables and many other ingredients. This is a part of Song’s intention of using the freshest, most authentic ingredients possible to make food in a traditional manner.
Song is a former scuba instructor and course director for the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. “That’s the reason I came to Guam,” Song said. Formerly a resident of Orange County, Calif., Song has also worked in construction, interior design and landscaping. Song has 15 years of experience in the restaurant business, having opened his first restaurants in the Micronesia Mall.
“Having restaurants in a food court limits you,” Song said. “There are limitations to the types of dishes you can make. Also, other restaurants in a food court will copy you. I can be a lot more creative in a place like this.”
Song attended courses at several cooking schools in Korea, at times even paying chefs to teach him their techniques. For LA Korean BBQ, Song has teamed up with a second chef, who has 10 years of experience, to create a traditional dining experience.
“This is palace-style eating, the way the king’s family would eat in a hot stone pot,” Song said. “We’re not cooking everything ahead of time. Everything will be made-to-order, including the rice. I visit Korea a lot with local business friends. Whenever we come back, they always want traditional Korean food, like they had in Korea. So I thought maybe I should open a restaurant like this here on Guam.” mbj
LA Korean BBQ and Tofu in Tamuning next to Jon B’s Mart is scheduled to open on Oct. 30.
Photo by Wayne Chargualaf