Find something for everyone at the newly opened, Asian-cuisine-focused Happy Valley Food Hall.
“So it’s like a food court with no mall?” asked my 10-year-old daughter, Adela, when I explained to her where we were going for dinner. And Adela’s comment sums up the new Happy Valley Food Hall very well. The indoor food hall in the southeastern suburb of Happy Valley is set up like a mall food court — with no mall. Six different vendors, all selling varying Asian cuisines, circle a seating area. There’s also a full bar. At the time of our visit, Wheat Bay, Bibimbap, TwoZone Chicken, Kama‘āina Express and Musashi’s were open and selling dumplings, sushi, Hawaiian plate lunches and more. The sixth stall, Kung Fu Tea, had signage up, but wasn’t open that evening.
After checking out the menus we settled on a junior bowl ($11.99) from the Korean-focused Bibimbap for Adela and her 7-year-old brother, Cruz. You can build your own bowl by selecting white or purple rice, a choice of protein (bulgogi, tofu, teriyaki chicken, spicy pork or salmon), choice of veggies and sauce. My kids decided on teriyaki chicken and the only veggies I could convince them to order were carrots. The bowl also comes topped with a fried egg with a jiggly yoke. I tried to explain that bibimbap sometimes comes in a hot stone bowl and you are supposed to mix in the egg so it cooks from the heat of the bowl and creates a silky sauce — similar to spaghetti carbonara. They wouldn’t eat the egg. The kids picked at the bowl, eating most of the chicken. I asked how the teriyaki chicken compared to Ate-oh-Ate, one of our favorite restaurants. They said they preferred Ate-oh-Ate. But don’t worry they didn’t go hungry.
So my husband ended up eating the egg while waiting for his sushi order from Musashi’s. While we had ordered from a person behind the counter, Musashi’s had a contactless, touch-screen ordering system. My husband had to wait longer to order his food because this stall was the busiest (and a customer in front of him had a hard time navigating the ordering system). He was borderline hangry by the time his spicy tuna roll/nigiri combo came out (8 for $14.95). He had also ordered chicken and veggie gyoza (8 for $6.95) and spring rolls (6 for $7.95) as appetizers to share, but they came out after the sushi. The kids dove on the crispy gyoza and rolls. The good news is my husband devoured the sushi and rated it as very good. Pro tip: If anyone in your party is planning on ordering sushi, make sure they place their order first!
I decided on Korean-fried TwoZone Chicken for my meal. TwoZone Chicken also has locations in the Alphabet District and on North Williams. I am a huge fan of the Korean fried chicken from Bonchon. The method of ordering for boneless chicken is a little confusing, but the server at the counter was helpful. You can order a 1 or 2, which stands for one serving or two servings. (And my 1 was large enough to have leftovers for lunch the next day.) I asked for the chicken pieces to be tossed in soy garlic and a side of spicy sauce so I could control just how spicy it got ($14.49). I wanted to try the Parmesan corn on the cob, but they were out. So I went with onion rings instead ($7.25). My chicken came out relatively quickly. I added a little of the spicy sauce and enjoyed the crisp chicken. I gave some without the spicy sauce to Cruz and he said it was hot. Pro tip: Even the soy garlic glaze has some spiciness to it! The crunchy-not-soggy onion rings were a hit all around.
We had a few bumps in our visit — and also some very good food. And we all liked the casual food court vibe. We would have loved to have some more dessert options. (Dream vendor: An eastside outpost of Oyatsupan Bakers!)
Happy Valley Food Hall
15640 SE Happy Valley Town Center Dr, Happy Valley.
Sunday-Wednesday: 11 am-8 pm; Friday and Saturday: 11 am- 9 pm