Q&A with Hyun Kim: O’Kims Korean Kitchen

Hyun Kim is the owner and chef of Chinatown eatery O’Kims. Established in 2016, O’Kims offers contemporary Korean dishes such as Spicy Chicken with Gnocchi and Vegan Truffle Mandoo. Hyun moved to Hawai‘i from Korea at the age of 11 and is a proud Kapi‘olani Community College culinary arts alumna.

Read on to learn more about Hyun's time at UH and how it helped her become the chef and entrepreneur she is today.

What inspired you to start O’Kims Korean Kitchen?

The culture! I was born and raised in South Korea. I know about Korean food more than any other cuisine and I wanted to create or make food with more confidence.

What’s been the most rewarding aspect of running  your own business? The most challenging?

I think seeing how business is growing from as much as I put forth my effort is the most rewarding. And as business is growing, the management of employees, food cost etc., is the most challenging.

How has your UH education helped  you on this journey?

The education I attained absolutely helped me a lot, especially me being a nonnative English speaker. The culinary art program encouraged me to go knock on the doors at the restaurants where I wanted to be trained.

Do you have any advice for students and alumni who want to get into the culinary arts?

Yes, keep your standards high and try to learn as much as you can. We here in Hawaii are in a cultural melting pot, there are a lot of masters here that you can learn from.

What or who inspires the dishes you create? What are some of the most popular dishes at O’Kims?

The biggest inspiration is my grandmother, she made everything very delicious. I am always trying to remember the taste of her food.  Like with the seaweed salmon, Korean chicken and confit pork belly which are some of our most popular dishes.

To learn more about O'Kims Korean Kitchen, visit https://www.okimshawaii.com/.

Photo caption from left: O’Kims' seaweed salmon, Korean chicken and confit pork belly.

University of Hawai‘i Alumni