Monday, October 03, 2011

Reviewing Non Stop's Korean eats

Ah Lang - Angry Korean Lady / Seoul Garden Yakiniku / Chodang

My brother was obsessed with Non Stop Honolulu’s write-up on “where the Koreans eat Korean food on Oahu.” Obsessed to the point of creating a spreadsheet to chart which restaurant got the most votes, and what to order at each. If I had a copy I’d put it up here (especially because Non Stop’s slide shows can be a big pain to flip through, since they don’t have links to any specific pages within the slide show, or any mechanism to select a slide. But that’s beside the point).

Here’s the story:

We’d already been to a bunch (Orine, Sorabol, etc). I just realized I’ve never put up Orine on my blog, which I need to get about doing, since that’s one of my favorite Korean finds in Honolulu.

Anyway, we picked three new ones to try: The Angry Korean Lady, Seoul Garden Yakiniku and Chodang. Found two winnahs out of the three, which is pretty good in my book. The only one I wouldn’t head back to is Chodang. It’s good for what it is - super cheap sit down Korean food ($4.99 and $5.99 specials including ban chan? That’s pretty amazing) right outside of Ala Moana shopping center. But the food wasn’t anything amazing.

I’d torn between picking a favorite of Ah Lang (the angry Korean lady) and Seoul Garden. Seoul Garden was probably better overall, and a real restaurant as opposed to a tiny (4 table?) spot in a strip mall in Kakaako, but I am still thinking about the meat jun at Ah Lang as some of the best I’ve ever had.

The proprietress at Ah Lang is know as the “Angry Korean Lady” for a reason. She has very specific opinions about how she runs her restaurant, and she’s made little signs with all of them and hung them up on each wall, just in case you forget.

But aside from her rules, there’s her food.

The ban chan (a step up from a Korean plate lunch)

cold noodles

kal bi

soon du bu

Soon du bu

And this is the meat jun (although I had to borrow the pic from Yelp, since as soon as ours came out, I started eating and forgot to take a pic!)

Bi bim bap (without the stone bowl) - killah

Seoul Garden is one of those places I’ve driven past on Kapiolani a million times but never really noticed before. But when it got such raves on Non Stop, we had to make a trip over there. It seems (to me, at least) to be pretty full-on authentic, with Korean speaking servers, and primarily Koreans eating in the restaurant.

The menu is extensive, so it was hard to pick between favorite stand-bys (kim chee pancake, soon du bu) and new stuff we wanted to try.

For 3 of us, we ended up going with:

pork & kim chee stir fry

“tofu dregs” - like okara


yook kae jang - beef soup - this was my winnah of the day. Nice & spicy.

Expensive for lunch ($20 each) but definitely worth another visit!

Lastly, there's Chodang:

Chodang ban chan

Cho dang meat jun

Kal bi tang

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