View Full Version : Korean restaurant Arirang in Bangkok

Kanok Karn
25th October 2010, 16:46

We’ve been to a lot of “Korean barbecue” restaurants, and most are smoky, greasy, cacophonous affairs, often badly lit and badly serviced, with all the charm and atmosphere of an auction in a barn. Arirang, a name ubiquitous among Korean restaurants (it’s also a famous folk song, a North Korean festival and the name of several Korean national media services), is the exact opposite: pleasant, clean, bright and stylish. It also offers delicious and beautifully presented cuisine made with top quality ingredients and five-star service from servers so well-trained that the place might soon become a magnet for hotel managers looking to poach staff. Located in the bottom corner of the “little Seoul” courtyard on Soi 12, the two-story establishment welcomes diners with, outside, green tinted windows and a miniature watermill and, inside, dark lacquered wood tables, huge ginseng floating in gleaming decorative bottles, marble and wood floors and Dae Jang Geum showing (but not blaring) on a wall-mounted flatscreen TV. The tableware is fancy, as well, from metal chopsticks to customized white plateware stamped with tasteful logo to the crisp cotton aprons you receive when you order grilled items. The bibs are more of a fashionable precaution than anything else, though, because the charcoal grills built into the tables are ably attended to by waitresses with the dexterity of doctors (but better bedside manner) who change the brand-new grills repeatedly, almost unnecessarily, during your meal. Prices might seem high at first but there are many extras you’re not charged for, including several dishes of exquisite kimchi that go far beyond the standard cabbage, “service” (steamed egg in stone pots, for example), a gazpacho-like chilled kimchi soup, baskets of crisp greens and a sweet floral drink for dessert. Grilled meat (beef, mostly) is the focus here, but there are a few other traditional favorites like zesty bibimbap (meat, vegetables and rice in a stone pot), delicate salt-to-your-own-taste chicken ginseng herbal soup and a seafood “pancake” that looks (and tastes) even better than it does on the glossy menu—and all of this is of course great washed down with cups of Chamisul soju. Modest portions aside, the beef here is terrific, especially the rib “fingers”, ox tongue and sirloin. Sauces here are simple, as they should be with such prime meat, like a slightly sweet soy sauce or another embellished with white pepper. Our only complaint is more of an observation combined with a suggestion, that the beef in the raw beef salad, with zucchini, pear and egg yolk, was a bit too sweet and a bit too heavy on the sesame oil. But it is still a great dish, the tender meat cut in neat strips instead of the more mundane finely chopped, and Arirang is a great restaurant—the best of its kind in town.

1/F, Sukhumvit Plaza, Sukhumvit Soi 12
Nearest train: BTS Asok
Daily 11am-10pm
Phone: 02-653-0177, 02-653-0179