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Arirang-Korean in Pasadena

Sonia | Apr 2, 2002 01:39 AM

One of the posts on Korean restaurants below refers to this place.

Ate there last weekend. I've been there about 5-6 times. Pretty authentic, nicer atmosphere than most Korean restaurants. It's one of the few Koreans written up in Zagat's so it apparently has some mass appeal.

This time, I had the stonepot mixed rice (bibimbap), the date had the spicy cold noodles (bibim nangmyun) and we shared the spicy sauted squid (ojing-o bokkum). (These spellings are laughable) It was a spicy evening.

Bibimbap was pretty typical of most other ones I've had. Nice crust on the bottom, nice assortment of veggies. My only complaint was that it was a bit dry. Nothing a few spoonfuls of broth (which came with it) couldn't solve. Bibimbap is one of those things that is still pretty good, even if it's not that great. (like sex & soup, I say)

The noodles, although tasty, were over-sauced. Otherwise, good texture and nice balance of sweet & spicy. The squid dish was a little too sweet for my taste. Also, the squid itself was overcooked and chewy. We had leftovers so I brought it home and added tofu, a dash of water & some salt to dilute the sweetness a little. It was enough to feed 2 more people.

On previous visits, I've had barbeque, cold noodle soup (nangmyun), buckwheat pancakes (bindaduk), sauted glass noodles with veggies (japchae) and some other stuff I can't remember. All satisfactory to good.

The service can be somewhat uneven. For some reason they seem to favor college boys to be the servers--perhaps for their bilingual abilities(?). I tend to prefer the efficient, matter-of-fact service of Korean housewife types. These 20-somethings are either falling over themselves trying to please diners one minute and nowhere to be found the next minute. Our guy came over about 5 times in the first 15 minutes then disappeared for the rest of the time. Never came back to give us the check. This type of fickle service has been pretty consistent over several visits to the place.

Overall, I'd recommend it if Koreatown is too out of the way.

114 W Union

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