Monday, October 06, 2008

Hwa Ro Korean BBQ and Tofu - San Gabriel

Since breakfast and lunch was chocolate and more chocolate, by dinner time, I definitely needed some meat and vegetables! So I text messaged the oldest '87. She's my Korean barbecue buddy. We used to wait until lil' sis was in town, but our cravings sometimes come upon us more often than she comes home. And if it seems like I'm always eating Korean barbecue with the two of them, that's because no one else in the family loves it as much as we do.

Hwa Ro Korean BBQ & Tofu - San Gabriel 1

Located in the left corner of the San Gabriel Hilton strip mall, I didn't notice Hwa Ro Korean BBQ and Tofu until I had dined a few doors over at Pa Pa Walk.

I'm taking the photo below from a booth, which is infinitely more comfortable than those backless stools. The slats are actually dividers that can be moved up or down for large and small parties.

Hwa Ro Korean BBQ & Tofu - San Gabriel 2

My first visit was actually last December with the oldest '87's middle sister. We were craving Korean barbecue, but weren't in the mood to drive to Koreatown or to eat a lot. So we ordered a large individual portion of kalbi (Korean short ribs) and a small individual order of daeji bulgogi (Korean spicy pork). If I recall correctly, the total for both was around $20. That includes about half a dozen panchan (Korean side dishes), rice, and hot tea. A regular dinner order of the meats costs more and is a much larger portion.

Hwa Ro Korean BBQ & Tofu - San Gabriel 3

The marinades on the meats were OK, not as good as Ktown, but acceptable if I don't feel like driving. One of the nicest parts about this restaurant are those holes you see beside the grill. They suck away every bit of smoke so you don't end up smelling like barbecue afterward.

Hwa Ro Korean BBQ & Tofu - San Gabriel 4

I also noticed signs for all-you-can-eat lunch for $12.99 so I came back a week later with lil' sis and her best friend. For that price we got sliced brisket, pork belly, bulgogi, and kalbi. Chicken is also included too, but we almost never order chicken. The kalbi option is no longer available for lunch and they've substituted it with spicy pork.

Hwa Ro Korean BBQ & Tofu - San Gabriel 5

The first few visits were OK, but nothing special so the pictures and my post got buried in my queue.

Then of course, after too much chocolate, I needed something to dull the sweetness, but I was way too tired to drive. The dinner all-you-can-eat price is $17.99 and includes brisket, sliced black pork belly, beef tongue, chicken, bulgogi, sliced pork rib, kalbi, and daeji bulgogi. Again, the usual assortment of panchan. The first few times, the Baechu kimchee (Korean pickled napa cabbage) was extremely cold, half frozen even. I noticed this time that it was a normal chilled temperature. Guess they finally lowered the thermostat on that. Phew! Also, the other reason I haven't been back here in nearly a year is because the restaurant offers lettuce to wrap around the meats but no salad, no daikon slices, no rice noodle sheets.

Hwa Ro Korean BBQ & Tofu - San Gabriel 6

The first plate of meat of chicken, bulgogi, kalbi, and pork rib meat.

Hwa Ro Korean BBQ & Tofu - San Gabriel 7

And thinly sliced brisket, tongue, and black pork belly.

Hwa Ro Korean BBQ & Tofu - San Gabriel 8

Those lovely vent holes that suck out all the smoke again.

Hwa Ro Korean BBQ & Tofu - San Gabriel 9

Oh yeah, and soup comes with the all-you-can-eat price too.

Hwa Ro Korean BBQ & Tofu - San Gabriel 10

If you don't feel like driving to Koreatown and don't have to have kalbi, go for lunch when $12.99 for all-you-can-eat is a pretty good deal. And actually, with gas prices these days, $17.99 for dinner isn't too bad either.

The restaurant also offers tofu and hot pot, and but I haven't tried either of those here to say.

Other Korean barbecue restaurants:
Chung Kiwa Korean BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown)
Feedable BBQ Buffet - Rowland Heights
Gui Il Bun Ji BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown)
Hae Jang Chon Korean BBQ Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown)  
Hwang Hae Do Korean BBQ - Artesia
Light Town House Korean BBQ - Garden Grove (Korean Business District)
Manna Korean BBQ - Los Angeles (Koreatown)
Ong Ga Nae Korean BBQ - Rowland Heights
San Ya Restaurant Korean BBQ & Noodle - Los Angeles (Koreatown)
Seol Ak San - Stanton
Soot Bul Gui Rim 2 Korean BBQ - Los Angeles (Koreatown)
Tahoe Galbi Restaurant - Los Angeles (Koreatown)

Hwa Ro Korean BBQ and Tofu
227 W. Valley Blvd., #138-A
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Monday to Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday to Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

1 year ago today, musings about blogging and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich.


  1. Wow! The prices are actually pretty cheap for Korean BBQ and it's all-you-can-eat too! I passed by it once and was wondering if it was any good so definitely I'm glad you made this post. I'll have to check it out sometime. I loooove Korean BBQ.

  2. Thanks for posting this! We usually come by the San Gabriel Hilton plaza but have never chose the Korean restaurant there. It looks nice! The photo with the uncooked meats for the all you can eat lunch looks very appealing- everything is in a nice neat pile!

    By the way, have you tried the Sampan Thai place also in the plaza? I think it is very good. Curry there and pad thai is excellent! They did change owners though few months ago.

  3. Sandy,
    Well, it's not great, but there aren't that many options in this area so if you don't feel like driving, it's good enough.

    I haven't tried the Thai place yet. I'll have to keep that in mind. Too many restaurants, too little time!


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