Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Angry Korean Lady (aka Ah-Lang)

I found this place in an article in the paper, and just had to try it. Their food looked absolutely delicious! I've been on a Korean food kick ever since going to Shillawon and Sikdorak, and more recently Sorabol. I was craving Stone Pot Bi Bim Bap like crazy after last Friday nights late night meal at Sorabol, and was in need of some good korean food. Called my friend, Kelli, up and we headed there today. Located in Imperial Plaza by the Lexus dealership on Ward/Cooke Street, there is a good amount of structure parking behind the building. Don't forget to get it validated with AKL, or the guy will make you pay $9!!! A steep and pricey lesson we had to learn the hard way. There is street parking also outside, and you're lucky if you snag one.

Upon entering Ah-Lang, intimidation had creeped in and invaded my mind. I had read so many yelp reviews on how blunt and mean the owner is! I had prepared myself with all the right things to do while dining there.
Basically do everything yourself-
1) stamp your own validation,
2) write down your order and bring it to her in the kitchen (and put it all on ONE paper, do not split your order up or write on more than one tab),
3) get your own drink (either BYOB or get water/soft drinks/juice in the mini fridge. And if you BYOB, don't forget to bring her some! Her favorite is Michelob Ultra.
4) Oh, and don't use her cups, bring your own)
5) Tally up your own tab and present her with total money including tip
6) Don't talk to her mom (the old lady that helps her). She doesn't speak English
7) If you order food that requires spicyness, please remember to put the level (0-8) of spicyness on the tab
8) And lastly, PLEASE read her house rules on the table!!!

Turns out, AKL is a really nice Korean lady who actually smiles and laughs!!! I think the whole angry lady thing is a complete ACT. She puts on this whole facade, and you know what? I really like it. It adds total character and personality to this little hole-in-the-wall restaurant. It adds a whole different dimension to dining out in Hawaii. I fully enjoyed my experience there. She closes around 145pm for lunch, so get there before then or be prepared to get yelled at or worse, not even served! While we were there finishing up lunch, she even left the restaurant with her mom for about 20 minutes! She hilariously said to call if we needed anything, and held up the portable restaurant phone. There was only one other table in there with us, and they eventually left. Me and Kelli were basically just eating and chatting away in there alone! Felt strange......but also, super cool. The AKL likes us! Oh yeah!

As for the food? Food was EXCELLENT. Fish Jun came out first, and I had made it my intention to tell her how good the food was. I wanted to get on her good side, for crying out loud! Even though she didn't smile, I knew she was happy. And the fish jun was delicious. The egg batter was light and fluffy and a bit crispy, while the fish inside was tender and moist...no bones! Next out, the Meat Jun. Now, I had to order this. After all of the hype and praise on Yelp, I had to have some for myself. It was just as excellent as everyone had mentioned. No need for meat jun sauce either- it had enough flavor of its own. Sweet and salty flavor with tender meat, and light and fluffy batter, just like the Fish Jun. I would go back just for this! And you get a really big plate of it- enough to share with 2-3 people.

Lastly, as I said above, I was craving that Bi Bim Bap. I wanted to try AKL's for sure. Definitely one of the best I have tried. After learning how to mix the bi bim bap and let it sit for 3-5 minutes at Sorabol with my Korean friend, Andrew, I, of course, did the exact same thing. However this time, AKL came out and saw me mixing and taking pics. Oh shit, I thought. She's gonna rage at me!!!

"Why you press it down and take pictures of it?" AKL asked in a demanding voice.
"Uhh, that's what I'm supposed to do, right!?" I say back nervously.

And she goes on to explain that you don't need to do that with her food, while breaking up my pressed rice and showing me the rice is already crispy underneath and scooping some onto my plate. She prepares it so that the rice is already crispy, and that's why it takes a long time to come out. "Other places you need to do that," but not at Ah Lang. She says her food is ready to eat as soon as she places it on your table.

Phew! Didn't get yelled at! Woooo! And even got a picture with her before leaving! See that at bottom of post. You'll get a kick out of it :P

I'll be back, Angry Korean Lady!

Small place, so don't go during peak times!

NO MSG! Awesome! 

Minimum for credit card $50

Mini fridge with drinks

House Rules- Read carefully!!

Waiting there nervously.
Ready to give order to AKL.


Fish Jun

Absolutely delicious Meat Jun.
No sauce is needed!

Dolsot Bi Bim Baaaaap!
Gotta get the Stone Pot!


Suuuper crispy rice!

HAHA! She definitely ANGRY!

UPDATE! Had to take my parents to try her food and be entertained by AKL. They loved it. The Meat Jun was my mom's fave, and my dad enjoyed her Fish Jun. I also got to try her Mandoo!! She really fills those babies up, not stingy at all! Next up, I need to try her Soondubu. 

UPDATE! Click here to read my post on AKL's Soondubu!! YUM!


  1. Ohmygoodness! I must go here the next time I'm in town. This lady rocks! I love love love love Korean food. I make bibimbap all the time at home. All the time. soooo good. mmmmmm. I'm hungry now, but it's 1:35a, and I should be in bed. Ha!

    xx Love & Aloha