The Angry Korean Lady of Honolulu: a restaurant I plan to patronize while in Hawaii

I've been working and adventuring in Hawaii over the past few weeks, and my Twitter friend Jose Gonzalez says I should try this restaurant in Honolulu. I am so very down. The restauranteur's motto is “I’m already angry. Don’t make me more angry.”

Read more about Ah-Lang Korean Restaurant at The Tasty Island, a Honolulu Food Blog. Among the House Rules:

# If you BYOB, bring me some too, or there’s a corkage fee.
# Don’t bring me Coors Light — it gives me a headache.
# Don’t give me Yellowtail — it gives me a stomachache.
# If you BYOB, bring your own cups and supplies. DO NOT use mine.

The Yelp reviews look pretty strong!



  1. I like that spiciness is rated from 0-8, I would order a 9 or 10 just to see what would happen

    1. If you check out the on-line menu, it states:

      Indicates spicy dishes. Please select level of spice from a scale of 1 to 10.
      Most people can handle a 3 or 4.

      Looks like a challenge to me.

      1. You mean that if you dont have access to the online menu, you could potentially deprive yourself of those last 2 points of ass-blasting heat? What a ripoff. I want my money back. Never eating here again.

    1. maui brewing co makes some really good stuff, you can find it on the main land if you look hard enough

    2.  While recently in Hawaii I enjoyed a number of beers produced by the Kona Brewing Company. I particularly enjoyed their ale with roasted coconut and their porter with Kona coffee. In the supermarkets we bought a dozen beers by this company that consisted of four bottles of three different types.

      1. i thought the roasted coconut was good but kind of over the top in a novelty sort of way, i haven’t tried any kona beers that i thought were everyday drinkers

        1. The Longboard Lager seemed like a reasonable “daily drinker” to me.  It probably won’t pass muster with those guys who insist that their beer stab them in the face or whatever, but it was a perfectly acceptable brew to me. 

          1. ha yeah i hear ya, im in san diego and all the local breweries here are like ‘HOPS MORE HOPS!’ everything is IPA’s hopped out of control

            i like a nice smooth brown beer

        2.  I guess when I’m on holiday I’m more likely to enjoy a novelty style beer. There were other varieties, however, which were more everyday.

      2. I could drink their Fire Rock Pale Ale every day.  It stacks up pretty well against Sierra Nevada IPA.  For those who don’t like hops, they do a really nice Golden Ale too.

    1. I second that.  The highest rated helicopter tour company in the state is based there, and you definitely want a helicopter tour of Kauai…especially for Waimea Canyon.

  2. As someone who has worked in restaurant kitchens off-and-on, my whole life.  I LOVE this lady. She is my hero!

  3. I’ve been to a fair number of authentic korean restaurants in my time. I’ve never been in one where the waitstaff or owners came across as anything but “angry.” OK, there may have been a “surly” in there at some point. I think it’s why the food is so good. I still give them a standard tip.

    1. We eat out a lot at all our favorite Korean (my wife is half), Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese places in San Diego.  Surly is the standard at all but the Japanese ones.  Just the way it is.  The Vietnamese waiters are the most surly, though. 
      I love it all, but still can’t get a taste for kim chee and it makes my wife a little sad.. :)

  4. I love the attitude at my local Korean joint – Seoul Cafe near Tottenham Court Rd tube.  5.5 seats and a fridge.

    “Vegetarian bi bim bap please”
    “Pork in it, right?”

  5. I suggest checking out The Grouchy Chef, near Seattle.  Excellent food at an excellent price, just make sure to follow the rules.

    1. Yeah, I’m scratching my head over that one too.  Is it common to go to a restaurant and try to install hooks in their glass top tables?  Does this happen enough that she needs a sign?!?

        1. That’s what I assumed. I used to use one, but then I started carrying small clutches to restaurants. I can imagine if she has small tables that one large heavy tote bag could topple the thing.

    1. I used to eat lunch at a Japanese restaurant near the Chinatown gate where, if you moved any of your plates or utensils around, the waitress/ proprietor would yell across the room, “I made that nice for you!!!” and then come over and put them back.

    1. It’s unlikely they’d just run into each other, with the number of landmines in between their restaurants. They’ve had a cease-fire for sixty years but there was never an official treaty. 

  6. this reminds me of an angry korean place in cambridge, MA’s porter square. it wasn’t a gimmick, i don’t think, they were just genuinely and often surprisingly nasty to their customers. they had an unstated but strictly enforced entrees-must-match-the-number-of-diners rule, they were famous for shutting the kitchen at an arbitrary time, they would chase people out the door and harass them if they felt they were under-tipped, they did not tolerate friends sitting around chatting after the food was eaten and if you weren’t eating your food according to korean custom they would snatch your utensils out of your hands and patronizingly demonstrate correct method. looks like they’ve closed down by now… here are some tales, preserved on yelp

  7. Two recommendations for Oahu food.  

    1. Your Kitchen in Kaimuki.  Run by the sweetest Japanese couple, also might be the best shave ice on the island.  Get the pork bowl with egg.  SOOO good.
    2. If you like attitude, try Morio’s on King St (get reservations).  It’s a sushi joint – sit at the bar and make sure you bring Morio some beer!

  8. Hilarious, although my friend Lauren is the original Angry Korean Lady, lol she is also my Furious Chief Lady Scientist. Excellent post this made me laugh as I’m having my sushi and sake for dinner :)

  9. She makes outstanding+ food.  You will order too much.  You will be in food heaven.  Be cool.  Check out the Tasty Island blog article on her.

  10. Her mother was there one day so there were signs saying don’t talk to my mother she doesn’t understand English.  I’ve seen her yell at two elderly Japanese ladies, “you want spicy two?  I have to wash the kim chee with water to make it spicy two!”  People look like they are on eggshells when they eat lunch there.  I have been yelled at and my friend thought it was funny so he tipped her well.

  11. Glad to see more disdain for YellowTail. I remember buying a couple bottles at different times with the same experience both times. I poured a healthy glass and left the bottle nearby for refueling. An hour passed watching a movie and I realized that I was thirsty, but I’d barely touched the glass. I took a sip for encouragement, but my body was telling me “no, don’t drink this.” The body knows… that YellowTail is wrong.

  12. I’ve been trying to go the restaurant without success!  I was in Hawaii twice in the last month, and on both visits, unsuccessful in eating there.  The first time I called and confirmed she was open, but upon showing up – she wasn’t letting anyone in!  The second time, again despite calling in advance, they ended up having a private party and closed off the whole restaurant.  Good luck, let me know how the food is!!!

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