Arirang!

In case this hasn’t previously been made clear: I. LOVE. TO. EAT.

Food is my one true love and I am bound by love to food forever. Because without food you don’t have health, happiness and most importantly, without food you don’t have food.

So without further ado, I’m going to pay homage to one of my favourite restaurants.

Arirang is a Korean Restaurant that has been serving in Hong Kong since 1965. I’ve been going ever since I was a child, and each time I have ordered the same thing, over and over, without ever getting sick of it. Barbecued spicy pork with rice and a selection of banchan (little plates of cold vegetables to be eaten with your succulent pork and perfectly flavoured rice). There’s kimchi, pickled cucumber, spinach, pickled radish and more kimchi. Then there’s the spring onion salad, spring onion pancake, kimchi pancake, chicken dumplings, and extra round of spicy pork, copious cups of Korean green tea and finally the ice cream mochis.

It’s impossible to be full. When I was younger I’d scarf down my entire serving of pork and engage in a chopsticks battle with my brother to see who could grab as much of the cucumber and spinach as possible, whilst simultaneously fending off my mother’s chopsticks from the kimchi.

I’m totally aware of the various other rice and noodles dishes you can get, including bibimbap, japchae, Korean rolls, stir-fries, vegetable broths, soups, noodles, you name it. But I don’t need a menu to order, I  know my order from the moment I book a table (because unfortunately for me, Arirang is too damn popular).  But nothing beats spicy pork. Nothing.

I very recently introduced Arirang to my friends, and now it’s a tradition. Every time we’re back in Hong Kong we head straight to Arirang for our spicy pork fix, and order nothing else. The staff are a little stingy with the banchan so if you ever visit, stand up for your right to eat.

The ambience in the restaurant is great, You can hear skillets frying, children munching, waiters dealing with hungry customers; and the fragrant scent of tea wafts into your nostrils. Tables are secluded into booths by Oriental-style wood and canvas screens with paintings on them. The place is usually packed with working people, or other Indians from the local Hong Kong community. I will almost definitely bump into some aunty every time I go, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying myself.

Prices vary depending on the time of day. If you go at lunchtime from Monday to Friday, you can order a marinated meat with rice and banchan for HK$88, and salads are an extra $38. If you go at night, a similar set costs HK$150, and doesn’t include salad, which you need to order separately. Book a table at least a day in advance if you want to go at night or on a weekend. On some lunchtimes it can get quiet, but I wouldn’t bank on it. The opportunity cost of not booking and therefore not getting a table is the spicy pork that you won’t get to eat. So in short, BOOK A TABLE.

I’ve grown up with Arirang, and whilst various Korean restaurants have opened recently in Hong Kong, nothing can compare. In fact, it’s probably one of the best places I’ve been to, ever.

Check out their website HERE. 

The image used is an original. 

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