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Say aloha to a delicious lunch at Sunrise Cafe

Winter's rainy days and long nights make it easy to dream of a Hawaiian vacation, but when that's not on your schedule (or in your budget), lunch at Sunrise Cafe is a great way to add a little aloha spirit to the middle of your day.

Ed Chun and his sister Carol Hendricks opened the cheery cafe at 130 E. Main St. in downtown Medford in March 2010. They've developed a loyal following for family recipes showcasing their Korean heritage and childhood in Hawaii.

Whether you're craving a traditional plate lunch or lighter Asian fusion dishes, there's plenty to love on the menu. In honor of the restaurant's sixth anniversary, Chun plans to remix some of those favorites, focusing on the flavors and fresh ingredients that attract the cafe's lunch crowd of regulars. Keep an eye out for more sandwiches featuring the grilled or slow-roasted meat that usually crowns those plate lunches and the mahi mahi featured in fish tacos and fish and chips.

I always enjoy the vegetable stir fry bowl featuring perfectly cooked carrots, mushrooms, celery, onions, red bell peppers, broccoli, green beans and Napa cabbage piled on nutty, slightly chewy brown rice for $7.95. The mix of whole grains and colorful, tender-crisp vegetables tastes healthy, hearty and perfectly seasoned, but the homemade sweet and savory teriyaki and signature Chun sauce on every table will tempt you to squeeze on just a little extra flavor.

For just $9.95, diners can add huli huli chicken, tofu or pulled pork to the veggie bowl, while beef or mahi mahi pushes the price to $10.95. I recommend the chicken. The additional protein makes the portion big enough for me to have a second meal of it later.

On my latest visit, I tried the vegetable yakisoba, a similar mix of perfectly cooked vegetables in a soy-based sauce with just the tiniest hint of spicy heat. The basic $7.95 dish is delicious, and, again, diners can add meat, fish or tofu for a little more. A little wedge of fresh pineapple that garnishes every plate added a sweet, tropical note to finish my meal.

For those craving plate lunch, Sunrise serves a choice of pulled pork, grilled huli huli chicken, teriyaki beef steak, Korean spicy pork loin or crispy fried chicken katsu with scoops of white or brown rice and a choice of macaroni salad or coleslaw. Get one type of meat for $8.95, two for $12.95 or three for $14.95. Perfect for smaller appetites are rice bowls with a choice of meat for $5.

Island tacos are an ideal way to try a selection of tasty meats. Three tacos, priced at $10.95, provide samples of pulled pork, grilled chicken and teriyaki flank steak wrapped in corn tortillas and accented by a mild mango salsa and coleslaw.

Classic loco moco — hamburger steak smothered in mushroom and onion gravy, two fried eggs, served over rice with macaroni salad on the side — is available for $10.95. A pulled pork version is also offered, and true carnivores can go for "Da Ultimate" with both pork and beef.

The cafe is open 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Look for the new menu coming soon at medfordsunrisecafe.com and call 541-245-0555 for take-out.

— Anita Burke

Vegetable yakisoba is a favorite at Sunrise Cafe in Medford. Mail Tribune / Anita Burke