May 2, 2013

First Impression: Alirang

Another Korean Restaurant? Jeeez Hamilton, you're just moving up in the world aren't cha? Alirang, the new Korean Restaurant located on Locke Street in that one spot thats housed a handful of unsuccessful restaurants started in Ottawa and just recently opened in Hamilton. Hopefully Alirang won't fall into the deadpool anytime soon because I quite enjoyed it! 

Be warned, they say there is parking in the back - but they lie. I circled the block a few times and could not find any Alirang specific parking so I just parked across the street at RBC - shhhh don't tell anybody I said that!
The menu is pretty extensive and very affordable, just the way I like my Korean! I can tell you about 80% of the menu is hovering around $10-$13 and about a handful of items are $14-$15. The portion sizes are fantastic and definitely what you would typically expect for a Korean joint.

We started with the Seafood pancake ($10.95) which was excellent! Perfect ratio of egg/seafood/flour. All the sides were nice and crispy and it still tasted "eggy". Sometimes there's too much flour and you loose the egg flavour but get tricked into thinking you're getting a larger pancake. I have to say this one was definitely better than the one we had at Korea House!
All the mains we ordered came with rice ... even the noodles, which I thought was odd but c'est la vie. The Galbi ($14.95) were crispy and cooked to perfection - still tender and juicy but the flavours were too mild for my taste. I wanted them to pack more of a finger-licking punch!

The glass noodles - Japchaebap ($11.95) were really interesting. The texture was chewy and tender and underneath that huge mound of noodles was .. you guessed it - rice! I'm a huge rice girl but I just found they threw the rice in to up the perception of value. I've have a few Korean friends make me this and it never came with rice. Dare I say it, it was just too many carbs for one dish. The flavours were great but just like the Galbi, it could have packed more of a punch.
I was really excited to see Pork Bone Soup with Rice Cakes ($11.95) on the menu. This is one of my absolute favourite Korean dishes and my usual go-to place is waaaay too far so I haven't had a fix in a few months. Unfortuantely, this wasn't as bomb diggity as my usual but it did its best to scratch my itch. I love this soup because the broth is spicy and the pork meats been braised on the bone for hours. What you get is super flavourful and just fall off the bone juicy pork. LOVE! It can get a little messy to eat but it's worth it. The broth was a little too concetrated for me - I'm guessing someone left it boiling over the stove for a little too long but I wasn't going to be a big hater - I still enjoyed it.

This was my first time havung rice cakes with the pork bone soup and I wasn't a huge fan of the preperation. I prefered it the other way - stir fried with spicy sauce, which they offer on the menu as well. We were just trying to "spice things up" - and were being punished for it. 
Overall the meal was was very bountiful once you added the banchan and all. The variety wasn't as elaborate as Korea House but the quality was still great. The kimchi was spicy without being tangy - we ordered seconds of the kimchi and beansprouts. For everyone whose new to Korean food - banchan always comes with your meal and it's always free and endless! Ohhhh yeaaa, that's why I love Korean food so much!
Service on the other hand could have been better. The food took a while to come out and although the servers were friendly when they got there, flagging them down became a nuisance. I could tell they were doing their best but serving definitely didn't come naturally to the both of them!  Overall, great value and good food! Glad to see the variety in Hamilton's food scene!

Alirang
354 Main St West
Hamilton, ON
Alirang Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon               

9 comments:

  1. This all looks so very yummy! Sry to hear about the not so great service.

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    1. you could tell they meant no harm - it's the effort that counts right?

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  2. Next time you tell them you are friends with me, things will be different.

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  3. The Japchaebap has rice included because there is "bap" (Rice) in the title. Regular Japchae is probably what you have eaten before. The "glass noodles" are also sweet potato noodles. :)

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    1. learn something new everyday- thanks! I'll have to order it sans "bap"

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  4. Hey there. I found your blog via Google whilst searching for a similar topic, your website came up. It looks good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to come back later.

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    1. awe, THANK YOU! let me know if there is anything you'd like to see more of

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  5. I was disappointed this place didn't have sweet and sour chicken balls.

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