Lunch with Brian

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Arirang, April 17, 2014

Brian and I went to Arirang, a newish Korean restaurant north of downtown Austin on Airport Blvd. Or is it Aha Rirang? Sometimes they spell it that way, too. Our friend Edd recommended it.

Arirang Outside

We weren't sure what we were in for because a sign on the wall was presumably in Korean, and we were the first customers of the day, so we couldn't look at other people's food.

Arirang Sign

When we got the menu, we were pleased to see lots of pictures.

Arirang Menu

The waitress recommended an appetizer, Kimbap with spicy veggie. She prefaced the recommendation by asking if we liked to eat seaweed. Then she matter-of-factly added it was raw octopus marinated in a spicy sauce with rice wrapped in seaweed.

We ordered it and it was good. Brian described it as spicy and refreshing.

Arirang Appetizer

For an entree, Brian almost ordered hair tail fish, but it was $17.99 and had the word hair in it.

I asked if the Dolsot Bibimbap (a sizzling clay pot full of rice, beef, veggies and egg) came with the traditional assortment of side dishes that Korean restaurants serve. Yes! I ordered that and so did Brian.

Arirang Dolsot Bibimbap

While we ate, we listened to the Korean equivalent of Neil Diamond, watched lady golfers on TV and talked of Vulture.com's ranking of all 64 Stephen King books. Brian wasn't convinced about the rankings, but he was sure he liked having a comprehensive list of Stephen King novels. I was happy to see my favorite Stephen King novel ranked #1 (no spoilers... you'll have to look for yourself).

I was also happy that Arirang has table salt right there on the table. Not like a certain Austin ramen place staffed by skinny white girls and big haired white boys who claim to have no salt in the entire restaurant. Oh, really?

Arirang Sides

Another thing we liked is that the waiter asked if we wanted more sides. I told him I'd like to try the green side the table next to us had, so he brought us a bowl. Brian said it was a good call because the greens (not pictured) were tasty.

Eating the greens went something like this: chew chew chew chew chew chew chew chew chew chew chew chew chew chew chew chew until you realize at some point you just have to commit to swallowing.

Arirang Brian

Another thing we liked: when you're ready to leave, you simply go to the cashier and pay out. No getting held hostage waiting for someone to bring the check. And then the bonus? The cashier offered to split the check.

On a subsequent visit, we discovered that golf is the sport of choice on TV for Arirang diners. We also discovered the serving of the food can be unexpected as we were served in this order:

  1. Side dishes
  2. Brian's meal
  3. Kim's meal
  4. Appetizer (steamed dumplings)

We were critical of the serving order at first (appetizer last?), but we quickly lost ourselves in the deliciousness that is Arirang cuisine.

A big Lunch with Brian thank you to Edd for the recommendation.

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