Ok Ko Mart: informal Korean dining hidden inside a market

by | April 9, 2009 | 18 Comments

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Ok Ko Mart

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6000 SE 15th St.
Midwest City, OK 73110
405-732-1506
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okkomart

Growing up on Korean food all my life, the thought of living without it, especially Kimchi, is unbearable.  Luckily, we have a small community of Koreans spread throughout the area who also have the same insatiable desire for Korean food.  Upon a recommendation from a Korean friend of mine who grew up here in Oklahoma City, I decided to check out his favorite Korean restaurant, Ok Ko Mart.

Ok Ko Mart’s main business is their fairly small market.  From the signage outside, you would never expect to find a restaurant inside, but I think of it as a pearl hidden inside an oyster.  The restaurant is towards the back of the market and it was recently expanded, doubling the seating area from about 10 seats to 18-20 now.  I believe it’s run by a husband and wife team with the guy doing all the cooking and the lady operating the market and busing the tables as time permits.

There are no menus besides 8 pictures on the wall that separates the seating area from the kitchen.  From left to right are: Kalbi oogoji tang (cabbage leaves with short ribs in bean curd soup), hot bowl Bibimbap, regular bibimbap, beef bulgogi, pork bulgogi, soybean noodle soup,  jja-jjang myun and cham-pong.  There are also a few items without pictures that I have yet to order but will definitely try to get next time.  There are no prices posted (which I find a little annoying) but the prices range between $7-9 with the meat dishes being the more expensive.

The most popular dishes appear to be the cham-pong and the jja-jjang myun.  Cham-pong is my favorite.  It’s a spicy rice noodle soup made with onions, kimchi, baby octopus, jalapenos, shrimp, carrots, zucchini, oysters, green onions and red pepper powder.  If you have no affinity for spicy food, I would suggest you pass on this and stick with the jja-jjang myun.  It is also a rice noodle dish, but made with a black bean curd sauce and a mixture of beef and vegetables.  Beware of eating these while wearing anything white because they have a tendency to splatter on clothes as you slurp the noodles.  All of the noodles are made in-house which adds to the quality of both these dishes. These two dishes are also served with kimchi and pickled radish.  

This brings me to my biggest gripe.  The kimchi here is pretty bad.  Ok, I know most Americans can’t even stand the smell of it, let alone eat it, but even a seasoned kimchi eater like myself prefers to avoid their kimchi.  There is a Korean market in Moore (1224 N. Eastern Ave, 405. 799.1945) that has excellent Kimchi and if only Ok Ko Mart could somehow use their Kimchi to complement their food I would be in heaven. But I digress.

For a more typical Korean meal, beef bulgogi and bibimbap are excellent choices.  Bulgogi (literally translated “fire beef”) is a dish made with thin slices of beef (typically ribeye) and onions in a soy-sauce marinade and served with rice.  This comes with a more expanded set of side dishes than the noodle dishes.  If you’re in the mood for something healthy with lots of veggies, bibimbap is the way to go.  It includes rice topped with julienned carrots, cucumbers, radish, kimchi, spinach, and pieces of bulgogi.  This is usually mixed around with red pepper paste and sesame oil.  For a crunchier version, get it in the heated stone bowl as the bowl crisps the rice and keeps the food warm as you eat it.

Ok Ko Mart’s restaurant is pretty much self-serve. So, if you expect stellar service, don’t.  Help yourself to the table settings and drinks (water or sodas from the adjacent fridge).   It’s pretty much a no-frills place that just serves good food (sans the kimchi).

A couple of final notes. First, not all of the dishes will be available during the lunch hour as I had some trouble ordering the kalbi oogoji tang. Also, another quirk is that you pay up at the front cash register as if you’re buying groceries from the market. Just tell the cashier what you ordered.  It’s typically cash only with the exception of orders more than $10, which is their required minimum to use your Visa or Mastercard.

Now, go forth and eat Korean food! And, of course, let us know what you think in the comments.

OK Ko-Mart on Urbanspoon

This article was posted by Sam Lee on Thursday, April 9th, 2009. It is filed under:

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  • Katie says:
    April 15th, 2009 at 9:56 am   

    Wow – didn’t know a Korean place existed. If you know of any CLOSER than Midwest City please let me know! We make bulgogi at our house and because of a certain finicky eater, have converted it to chicken bulgogi which is awesome. I’d love to try some of these other dishes…maybe next time I’m out that far in MW City. Thanks for the alert!

  • Sam says:
    April 15th, 2009 at 11:54 am   

    There are actually a few more Korean restaurants I was going to review, but most are spread out and in the Moore and Del City areas. As far as I know, there aren’t any Korean restaurants in the actual OKC area yet, and I hate to brag but I know I make better Korean BBQ than any place I’ve tried here. If I find another place closer though I’ll make sure to mention it.

  • JuJu Beans says:
    April 18th, 2009 at 12:42 am   

    I live like 3 minutes away from this market. I find the lady in charge is very rude, but I still go here because I love the convenience of getting frozen packaged unagi in the freezer. Also, my cousin owns that store in Moore called, Donga haha!

  • Sam says:
    April 20th, 2009 at 1:33 am   

    Sorry to hear about your negative experiences, but I’ve always found them to be really friendly. Dong-A Restaurant is definitely going to be one of my upcoming reviews which I’m guessing is your other cousin’s joint and I definitely enjoy your cousin’s kimchi!

  • JuJu Beans says:
    April 20th, 2009 at 10:40 pm   

    I’m glad you like the kimchi. My mom helps them make it fresh in the back sometimes, hehe! I can’t wait to read your review about Dong-A Restaurant!

  • Shannon says:
    April 24th, 2009 at 8:35 am   

    I went buy the store the other day but went to Seoul Garden which is right next store. There was just one lady in the front and she was very nice and accomodating she was happy to explain the diffrent things from the menu on the wall. It is pretty much self serve, you order and pay at the counter then get your own drinks, which I think is just fine. Another nice suprise is there is complimentary miso soup you serve yourself, again the lady was very nice about explaining how to prepare the soup with the broth and you add the drie seaweed and greenonions. My wife ordered the bulgogie and I had the squid both came with all the sides rice and a egg roll, the food was awsome right up there with dong a and the korea house. The meals each cost 5.99 a real bargain for the quality of food, we both had enough to take home some. Also we got the mondues, a fried dumpling, not knowing the meal came with all the extras they were also yummy. The interior is bright and clean. Hope you get a chance to try Seoul Garden.

  • Sam says:
    April 24th, 2009 at 3:51 pm   

    Hey Shannon, I actually have a review of Seoul Garden in the queue to be posted on our site that I worked on right after the market. It should be up here in the next few weeks…hopefully sooner. Just had a going away lunch at Korea House and must say, I prefer going to Seoul Garden any day since some of our party didn’t get their food until 90% of us were ready to leave. That’s UNSATISFACTORY! Anyway, keep your eyes out for my upcoming review and thanks for your input!

  • traumangel says:
    April 25th, 2009 at 11:07 am   

    My fiancee and I also live within minutes of OK KO, Seoul Garden, Korea House and B-Won. (B-Won is located on the corner of Sunnylane and SW44th in Del City.

    I have never been to OK-KO – not yet, anyway. I’ll go but if I’m treated rudely, I will leave, but not before telling them why they lost my business. There is no reason for that; it’s a form of discrimination.

    Back to the food…. We have also had some unsatisfactory, frustrating experiences at Korea House. Disappointing, as their sushi has always been excellent – when you can get it. It’s not always availible – to non-Koreans, anyhow. We have had to sit and wait forever there, to the point where we got up and walked out – a lunch break wasted. Very hit or miss, Korea House.

    Seoul Garden won our hearts – and our bellies from the start. It is nearly as kid-friendly as the playroom at McDonald’s – just not as noisy or busy. The lady who serves us has always been polite and helpful, very sweet. Food there is excellent – exceedingly fresh, with the largest variety of relishes/pickles served at any of the “Korean 3″ of Del City.

    B-Won offers some very edible dishes along with courteous, speedy service.

    Out of the three spots, I rate Korea House as having the best food – but deplorably shameful service. Seoul Garden comes in at a very close second for food, and first in service. B-won, even as the mediocre restaurant in this bunch is still a worthwhile place to go.

  • Sam says:
    April 25th, 2009 at 2:31 pm   

    Hi traumangel, My rating for general Korean dining would go Dong-A (in Moore), Seoul Garden, Korea House and then B-Won. If my last visit to Korea house didn’t include the 45 minute wait for food during a lunch hour, I might rate them higher, and the excessive amount of MSG in B-Won’s food almost makes it scary to eat.

    Now for shops that are known for specialty dishes, Ko-Mart and Fusion Cafe (potato stew aka gamja tang) are excellent!

  • Becky says:
    April 28th, 2009 at 11:00 pm   

    I’m a Korean-American Midwest City native. I’ve never eaten at B-Won, only heard horror stories from Korean folks. Korean House is tasty, but the service has always been subpar. Seoul Garden’s food, to me, seemed slightly less authentic but tasty just the same, and the service is consistently good. I believe Seoul Garden is run by the people who used to run OK KO Mart. I visited the OK KO restaurant when it opened and served only champong and jjajangmyun, and both were FANTASTIC.

  • Jimmy says:
    October 6th, 2009 at 6:04 pm   

    Great Bi-Bim-Bop! Simply outstanding! Only fresh produce used to make this dish. Best I have had since I left Korea in 02. And actually better than some of the Korean joints in Korea. Try the Bi-Bim-Bop you won’t regret it, or even better the Dol-Sol-Bi-Bim-Bop (Hot version)

    Eat well.

  • Sam says:
    November 3rd, 2009 at 3:26 pm   

    Just got back from here for lunch and the ownership has indeed changed. However, the food still seems to be the same quality. It’s nice to actually have prices listed on every table now, although I think the prices might have gone up a little. The kimchi was still horrible, but I wasn’t expecting it to get any better.

  • Logan says:
    April 15th, 2010 at 7:37 pm   

    Does anyone know where I can buy kimchi in NW OKC?

  • Julie says:
    November 5th, 2011 at 4:48 pm   

    I’ve been to OK-Komart in Midwest City. I love that place! It has everything I need starting from Japanese and Korean food to electronics and cosmetics! Plus, the owner/lady has changed since then. I’ve heard that people said the past lady has been very rude, but this new lady is very kind. If you ask, she has some very good advice on making korean dishes. She taught me how to make kimbab and chapchae! Also, The kimchi here is the best in all of OK. I’ve been around to different korean stores, but Komart has the best foods especially their kimchi and side dishes. The korean restaurant inside the store there is great! It’s called Hawaiian BBQ with traditional korean foods. I tried the bulgogi and galbi and it was fantastic! I rate this store a full 5 stars! I am in love with this store!

  • Oklahoma Go Association says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 7:25 am   

    [...] it’s in a nice shopping center and just around the corner is a small Korean market, the OK Ko Mart, where you can sometimes find inexpensive Go sets along with all other sorts of goodies. Also, at [...]

  • Doug Bynum says:
    April 2nd, 2013 at 10:54 am   

    Love this store. We get all our Japanese food and the owers are so nice.

  • Keolani Fleming says:
    August 1st, 2013 at 7:36 pm   

    I came across this store/cafe when I made a wrong turn & I’m glad I did. I’m from a tiny island in the Pacific and I grew up eating the Korean food they serve here. It tastes so yummy that it always hit the spot. I agree that the kimchee is not that great but everything else is perfect and my husband agrees. The store is filled with snacks that I also grew up eating! I would definitely recommend this this/cafe to anyone who likes Korean food or to those who would like to try. The staff ate really friendly too!

  • Terry says:
    June 5th, 2014 at 7:34 am   

    The family that runs OK-Ko store/restaurant are awesome, friendly people. I have been to other Korean restaurants in Del City area and found this to be our favorite. My daughter loves mixed plate and especially the Bi Bim Bap (cold or hot). My husband and nephew loves their favorite squid dish. My favorite is their soup, tofu with seafood and kim chee. When its crowded esp on Saturdays (recently it has), we wait patiently for their delicious meals. Since we have been to other Korean restaurants, we prefer Ok-Ko. Two weeks ago, we went to B-Won and their Bi Bim Bap was totally different from previous visits. My daughter was very disappointed and so we went back to Ok-Ko the following week. We will continue to eat at our favorite “hidden” Barbeque restaurant and the store has excellent items. We also buy their Kimbap (Korean sushi) homemade on Saturdays… delicious!

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