Korean food with an innovative twist

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Sierra Mendiola

One of Pocha's best deals is the kimchee fried rice with an overeasy egg on top sitting on a bed of melted cheese that costs $16.

By Sierra Mendiola, Staff Writer

Different from the usual Korean restaurants, Thank Q Pocha is a fun experience that takes everyday Korean dishes and drinks and turns them into something unique and innovative.

Located next to H&R Block and Bank of Hawaii on Kapi’olani Boulevard, the orange-colored restaurant can easily be missed. The restaurant has glass windows painted with the words “thank you” in many languages.

Pocha, which is the Korean word for “bar,” is similar to an izakaya, a Japanese restaurant known for eating and drinking casually.

The ambiance had a modern, contemporary feel with slightly dimmed lights that made it a bit more intimate.

The staff was almost all Korean with a strong accent. In the background, Korean music blasted through the speakers. But the music doesn’t stop there; the restaurant has a couple of flat screen T.V.s mounted on the top corners with Korean pop music videos to accompany the songs.

The booths feature seats with storage capability. Simply lift the top cover of the seat to store a purse or jacket. The best part was the service button on each of the tables and booths that made it convenient and quick to get a hold of the server.

The food here was interesting and a bit expensive, but for most of the items, the portion size makes up for the price.

“I like to come here when I get paid because the prices are pretty expensive,” customer Josh Hernandez said.

Hernandez, a Kapi’olani Community College student, can be found visiting Pocha almost every Wednesday with his co-workers.

“The portions of the dishes are good for sharing with your whole table,” he said.

A medium-size apple soju costs $20 for 2-3 people.
Sierra Mendiola
A medium-size apple soju costs $20 for 2-3 people.

Pocha offers many unique dishes such as butter corn ($6) for starters; crown squid meets fried chicken ($29), which is fried squid on the body of a fried chicken surrounded by vegetables; and Hawaiian fried rice ($15), which is fried rice in a pineapple boat.

For the unadventurous, Pocha does have casual dishes such as prime ribeye steak ($21), garlic chicken ($16), pork and chicken katsu ($15), and more.

The topokki, which is a sweet and spicy rice cake, is one of Pocha’s popular dishes. It can be free by spending more than $50 and a Yelp check-in.

The kimchee fried pilaf with cheese ($13), which had kimchee fried rice with an overeasy egg on top sitting on a bed of melted cheese, was different because the thought of cheese and fried rice just doesn’t seem to mix. But the fried rice itself was good.

If you like mandu, then the fried mandu at Thank Q Pocha may be a favorite dish. Generously filled with pork, tofu, and noodles, the mandu is more stuffing than just the crispy outside.

“I’ve never been to a cooler Korean restaurant before,” said 21-year-old Aiea resident Makenna Natividad.

There is also a bar located in the back of the restaurant. Although Pocha features common Asian alcoholic drinks, it is known for creative drinks, which is its main attraction.

The magic cloud drink is a cocktail with fluffy cotton candy on the top. You can choose whether to eat the cotton candy or to let it melt into your drink to make it sweeter.

The shark attack drink is Pocha’s most popular alcoholic beverage. It comes with a plastic shark filled with “blood” (grenadine). From its mouth, the waiter pours the fake blood into the glass of blue slush and then the shark is plunged head first into the drink. What would make it even more amusing is if the customers could pour the shark in themselves.

Apple, orange, or pineapple soju is Pocha’s most tasty drink. Any of these three sojus are served in a fruit cup depending on the drinks.

Natividad is a frequent customer at Thank Q Pocha.

“The ambiance, service, and unique food and drink menu is a fun experience that is well worth trying out,” Natividad said.