Hours: Lunch, Dinner, Late Night (Daily)
Mama Kim, a petite Korean woman with the strength to take on Charleston and become a surrogate mother to all who dine here, has a memorable slogan, “Rock out with your wok out.” And rock it she does with her interminable energy and genuinely warm hospitality. For all the turn-over that happens in this collegiate area, the testament to Mama’s food comes from the length of time it’s been around — over a decade. A narrow brick room with plastic red booths with a friendly fast crew in the kitchen, this established hole-in-the-wall serves authentic spicy pork bul-go-gee that comes with all the accompaniments: pickled daikon, crunchy black beans, a variety of kimchi, kongjaban (black beans in soy sauce), sigeumchi namul (garlicky spinach), hot radish, and kongnamul (cold boiled bean sprouts in sesame oil). If Korean bee-bim-bop isn’t for you, try the Japanese hibachi, the rice bowls, steamed beef dumplings or the famous bibimbap, fried egg over rice and vegetables. Keep your own plate rockin’ with the selection of homemade hot sauces including yellow Komezu sauce, ginger sauce, and a myriad of blazing hot sauces. —Katherine Connor (Dish, Summer 2019)
Korean grill with sushi, Korean beef bul-go-gee and bee-bim-pop. And don't forget Mama Kim Brown. She's the reason you'll come back again and again.