Do you like Korean food? Because I love it. Actually, come to think of it, I just had a post talking about my love for Korean food and the infamous omurice.
At any rate, Hodori is where I went with some good friends for lunch the other day. I’ve actually been several times because it’s the best Phoenix Korean restaurant I’ve found (okay, so it’s the only one I’ve found fairly close by.)
Fun fact time! Hodori means Little Tiger in Hangul (that’s the Korean language, fyi) and the name of the 1988 Summer Olympics held in Seoul, South Korea!I have no idea if the restaurant is paying homage to the Olympics or if the owners just really like Tigers, but their food is good and the staff is friendly.
Upon first entering, the young Korean staff will (usually) greet us customers with “Yoboseyo.” This is actually a common greeting over the phone. I suppose it’s just the younger generation adapting it to a new situation. At any rate, it always makes me smile when they greet obviously non-Asian customers in Korean.
The dining area is very open and spacious – almost cafeteria style, but with better tables and chairs. The walls are lined with posters of pop-idols and sake and soju ads, and near the door is a collection of Tal-nori (a masked drama) masks. They have the usual range of kindly old man to jokester monkey to creepy sad/evil faces.
Now that you’ve learned a little bit more about Korean culture we can move on to the food!
I have 2 go-to meals that I tend to order over and over. The dolsot bibimbap and jap chae.
Bibimbap is usually a bowl of cold seasoned and cooked vegetables – like shredded carrots, steamed spinach, pickled cucumber, cooked sliced mushrooms, bulgogi or ribeye beef and an egg over easy on top. Dolsot means stone pot and changes the cold dish into a hot one. They heat up this gorgeous stone bowl throw in a layer of rice to get hot, crispy and sizzling, and put the normal bibimbap fare on top of that. The best part of the hot bowl is when the rice gets all crunchy and starts to brown at the very bottom. I love scraping it off and softening it up in the bowl of potato(I think, or maybe leek or onion?) soup that accompanies the dish.
Jap chae is a sweet potato noodle dish stir-fried with a variety of vegetables and sometimes beef. It is cooked in a sweetish and spicy sauce. The noodles are translucent and very light in flavor. They have a slightly chewy, slightly slimy texture that is really fun once you get used to it, though admittedly rather difficult to eat with chopsticks. XD
I could go on about several other dishes, but this post is getting rather long. Also, I once again forgot my camera – sorry! – so the pictures used in this post are taken from the internet. I’ve included the links to the original site (which should provide a recipe should you want to try to make this for yourself!).
I’m just going to leave this post with a dare for all of you to try Korean food if you haven’t, and give it one more try if you already have but didn’t love it!