Thanks to numerous chowhounds a friend and I finally made it to Hangawi and ordered the Emperor's Special (the slightly less expensive dinner--around $30/pp). Everything was delicious and we were stuffed afterwards. Delicate porridge starters--pumpkin and spinach--were perfect. Appetizers included mushrooms w/clear noodles, tofu w/mushrooms, chopped mushrooms inside a lemon "boat," and three different kinds of pancakes which tasted like turnip, onion and potato with a dipping sauce. Mains were rice and veggies in a hot pot with chili sauce and more glass noodles and mushrooms (yes, I did have major post-shroom nightmares that night!) Garnishes were gorgeous and for the most part service was pleasant. Dessert consisted of a couple strawberries and pignola nuts swimming in a cinnamon "soup." Though adventurous vegetable-wise, we were glad we weren't served any chewy mountain roots (as reported by the Times)--maybe they come with the super deluxe dinner.
We did expect a more relaxed experience--instead service felt rushed and the tables were closer together than anticipated (we had 6pm reservations). We could have easily joined in the conversation next to us. Still we had a fine time, and it was worth the splurge.
We wanted to try Pari Pari Ko for dessert (Frank Language wrote a paragraph on this place a few years back), but we were full. This was actually lucky for my budget because the ices are $5-7; shakes, lattes and fresh juices are $6. Whew! Are they worth it?
Here's (are) my question(s)--there must be a more reasonably priced version of their "sweet redbean ice" downtown. I think a bunch of months ago chowhounds were writing about a special Asian dessert on ice (maybe with red beans?). What's it called again? Where do we find it in Chinatown? TY