Food & Beverage

Kui Korean BBQ in Highland, IN. Opening 8/15/19: Will it have your favorite food?


When it comes to Asian food in Northwest Indiana, most people think either Chinese food or Japanese food. Despite being from an Eastern culture, things like sushi, Kung Pao chicken, and egg rolls are familiar to a Western audience.

One need look no further than doing a simple Google search for the words “Asian food in Northwest Indiana” to see the plethora of Chinese restaurants that have adapted their traditional cuisine to a Western audience’s tastes. If you want sushi, there are a handful of options to chose from. There’s even a Vietnamese option if you enjoy pho that I recently covered (which you can read more about here).  

If you want Korean BBQ … well, your only options are in Chicago. You really have to go out of your way if you want something other than kimchi. The hassle of parking and gas can easily deter someone from what is supposed to be a relaxed atmosphere. In other words, casually enjoying Korean BBQ is something that only a Chicago local can look forward to.

But that’s all about to change with the announcement of Kui Korean BBQ restaurant opening up in Highland, Indiana. 


Korean BBQ Has a Market In Northwest Indiana

Initially announced on January 7th on their Facebook page, Kui Korean BBQ was set to open somewhere around April or May. However, the wait has been agonizing for fans of the restaurant as delays have continued to push back the opening date due to pending town inspections.

At one point, a May grand opening seemed promising as a menu was posted on their page. Unfortunately, it was not to be, as the restaurant continued to suffer delays. Still, absence seems to make the heart grow fonder, as people continued to get excited about getting Korean BBQ in their community. 


Kui Korean BBQ Menu

On May 2, a menu was finally released that gives some insight as to what Kui Korean BBQ is all about.

The good news is that many popular South Korean dishes will be served here. I’m talking about things like tteokbokki (spicy rice cake), japchae (sweet stir-fry noodles), bibimbap (vegetables, rice, egg and beef), and of course, kimchi. They even have kimchijeon (kimchi pancakes)! 

Those who want some traditional Korean food will be happy to hear that Kui Korean BBQ offers several types of bulgogi (grilled meat) will be served (in a nice spicy sweet sauce): calamari, pork, and chicken. Those that don’t like spice also have a beef bulgogi option that will be marinated in a sweet soy sauce.  

Soup-lovers won’t be disappointed. There are plenty of spicy Korean soups to try, such as jiam pong (seafood and noodles), yuk gae jang (shredded beef and vegetables), soon du bu jji gae (tofu and ground meat), and kimchi jji gae(kimchi stew). 

Kui Korean BBQ even offers casual diners something familiar. Broccoli can be paired with chicken, shrimp, or beef. Vegetables can be paired with chicken or shrimp. There’s teriyaki chicken or steak. They even have several lo mein dishes (chicken, shrimp, or vegetable).


What About The Actual Korean BBQ?

There is a lot of variety in your choice of meat. You have your choice of short rib, pork belly, brisket, top angus sirlion, ribeye, or rib finger. They also have meat options that have been marinated in a sweet Korean soy sauce: chicken, short rib, LA short rib, rib finger, and top angus sirlion.

Meat prices range between $19-28. It’s unclear at this time how much meat you get. Unlike some Korean BBQ restaurants, this does not appear to be “all-you-can-eat.” 


Potential Culture Shock

One thing that might surprise some people is that you cook the meat yourself. Each table has a grill that you use to cook the thin strips of meat. The server might put the meat on the grill at the beginning, but they will assume you know that you’re responsible for ensuring that the meat is properly cooked.

Not being aware of this might lead to a negative experience at the restaurant. The server isn’t being rude. This is just how things are done in South Korean restaurants.

Another strange thing Westerners might not expect is that there probably won’t be any knives at a Korean BBQ. Instead, you use scissors to cut the strips of meat. This might shock some people as scissors are typically used to cut inedible things like paper, but it’s quite normal at a South Korean restaurant.

Finally, it should be noted that Korean chopsticks are typically made with metal. Since you will be grilling the meat yourself, be aware that metal conducts heat quite well. This means that if the chop sticks touch the grill itself for too long, you will burn yourself.  

In sum, to avoid ruining your night, you might want to watch a quick three-minute YouTube video on Korean BBQ before you stop by.


Kui Korean BBQ – Opening Soon on 8/15/19

On July 20th, Kui Korean BBQ announced on their Facebook page that they are expecting to be open on August 15. It has been an agonizing eight-month wait, but with less than two weeks left, Northwest Indiana is more excited than ever for access to their own hometown Korean BBQ.

Just shy of 1000 followers, the post has been commented on almost 200 times to date. With no real competition and a hungry and growing fan base, Kui Korean BBQ in Highland, Indiana is shaping up to be the answer to a niche, but dedicated community that wants an authentic Korean BBQ experience without the hassle of traveling to the city.  

For directions to Kui Korean BBQ, as well as a look at their menu, you can visit their website by clicking here.