When chef and owner Mi Young Moon started getting an insuperable number of requests for her classic Korean dishes at church, she knew she had to do something. After some deliberation with the family, she decided to open up Mama’s Kitchen, Korean comfort food located in Factoria (kiddy-corner from Katsu Burger) to give everyone an opportunity to enjoy her cooking.
The team behind the restaurant includes Moon, her husband, son, and daughter-in-law. The parents in the family immigrated to the U.S. in the 1990s to pursue education and provide better opportunities for their children.
The husband-and-wife duo started a small Korean/Japanese bento restaurant on Capitol Hill, then expanded into the teriyaki business, where her husband currently operates Buxx Teriyaki in Burien, regarded as a hidden gem for 15 plus years. With the success of the teriyaki business, the team is now venturing into their native cuisine, Korean food.
Moon says that Mama’s Kitchen is a comfort for “those who miss home.” She hopes the food will help inspire and connect people in Bellevue.
The inspiration behind the recipes and flavors of Mama’s Kitchen is herself Moon, who was raised in Seoul, South Korea, and developed a passion for culinary arts and food thanks to her mother, who passed away a few years ago.
She wanted to take her mother’s authentic Korean recipes — in which she used only the best ingredients and spices — and share them with the world. Her mother always stressed the importance of eating well, and that good food brings all families together. Moon took these life lessons to heart and lives by them today — and shares the message through every dish served with love at Mama’s Kitchen.
Mama’s Kitchen serves classic Korean dishes using authentic ingredients, many imported from farms in Korea, such as seaweed and chili peppers, to bring the local flavors of South Korea to Bellevue. The sauces are handmade, and the recipes passed down through generations. Popular dishes include the Mama’s Kimbap, a traditional seaweed-wrapped Korean rice roll containing ground beef, fishcake, fried tofu, cucumbers, carrots, imitation crabmeat, egg, and pickled yellow radish, served with fishcake soup and radish kimchi. The yangnyeom “seasoned” Korean fried chicken wings are coated in Mama’s homemade sauce, giving each bite a sweet, spicy, and tangy sensation. The wings are served with a scoop of freshly pickled radish that tie nicely with the heat. You can find this classic street food dish all over Korea.
The galbi-jjim “tender short ribs” bibimbap is Mama’s signature bibimbap, which is prepared with mixed rice, stir-fried seasoned vegetables (like bean sprout, carrot, mung bean jelly, shiitake mushroom, and squash), egg, and spinach topped with a fork-tender short rib.
But our favorite was the chadol jjolmyeom: spicy, chewy, sweet and sour cold noodles topped with marbled beef brisket slices, fresh vegetables, and a hard-boiled egg. A popular Korean beverage that is highly recommended is the sikhye, Mama’s traditional Korean sweet rice beverage, served chilled and made fresh using intricate techniques of pouring malt water onto cooked rice. Generally served as a dessert, this can be ordered anytime during a meal.
Mama’s Kitchen, Korean Comfort Food
12672 S.E. 38th St., Bellevue