Saturday, May 4, 2013

Al bap: an addendum

Writing my recent post about al bap must have left me with a raging and untamable subconscious craving for it.  While I'd managed the nine months between Korea and last week fairly well, yesterday morning I had scarcely woken up fully when I discovered that I was at the wheel of my car, speeding down the 5 freeway towards the apparent eden of al bap, Buena Park, CA.

As bossy subconscious cravings aren't known for their attention to details like when it is appropriate to eat lunch, I ended up being that creepy customer with her nose smushed against the front door glass trying to peek through when they rolled the shades up at Surah Korean Restaurant at 11AM.

Precisely like this.

The waiter recovered beautifully from the shock of seeing a hungry and inquisitive face at arm's length, and invited me to take a seat.

Now, I am not unfamiliar with the custom that Korean restaurants have of loading your table with everything but the kitchen sink, regardless of what you actually order.  I love that banchan is pervasive and expected.  However, when I ordered the al-bap lunch special with sides of sashimi and fried fish, I was not quite expecting this:

I literally couldn't fit all the food in the frame without standing up, knocking my knees on the BBQ well, and almost tripping.
See the al bap?  It's in the middle there: the little splotchy rainbow in a bowl.

And even flanked by fanciness such that it was, it was delicious.  I suspect they might make a more simple version for the lunch special combo, as it was a basic, spare rendition: three kinds of roe, pickled red peppers, and rice.  There weren't any turnips or seaweed or sesame seeds.  I imagine that if the al bap is ordered alone, the fully adorned version comes out (also, I saw a picture on the menu).

So it is with pleasure (and relief) that I report that al bap can indeed be had stateside.  Don't miss the cinnamon tea they serve at the end!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that looks good--I need to try that place!