Location: London, Oxford Street
I had a conversation with a friend the other day about Korean cuisines and how unpopular it is nowadays. What amazes me is that not a lot of people know about the Korean culture let alone their culinary traditions. For me, Korean food is on my top 10 and I don't think I can ever get bored of it. Their simple ingredients and flavours with the added heat leaves you wanting more and more.
Arriang serves simple and well executed Korean dishes in a small intimate environment, hidden away in the narrow busy road just off from busy Oxford Street. Staff are friendly, efficient and welcoming and food is all you can want for a small Korean establishment.
To start, I had a very fiery pickled cabbage jelly with thinly sliced cucumber and a generous amount of chillies and spring onions. Fiery is probably an understatement because I was left with a very painful heat in my mouth, which I personally like but it was a bit too overwhelming. The jelly was to perfection, nice and soft with lots of flavour. I also added an extra dish of Kimchi (chilli pickled cabbage), which was dry and packed with far too much chillies. My main was the traditional Korean signiture dish Bibimbap. Bibimbap is served in a hot stone bowl with white rice toped with sauteed and seasoned vegetables and gocujan (chilli pepper paste). A raw egg or in some cases a fried egg and minced seasoned raw beef lays on top of the rice and is then mixed together. The heat of the stone bowl slowly cooks the raw mince beef. This is my favourite Korean dish as I always order it in any Korean restaurant I go to. I love the warmth it brings, perfect for winter meals. This was a great dish, but had minor faults such as: vegetables was not seasoned enough and the portion of mince beef was a little on the smaller side.
After a long day of shopping on a cold winters day, I recommend popping in to Arirang for a warm up meal and friendly service. Note: this restaurant is very small, so I don't recommend going with a big group!