Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ha Ahn

I didn't feel up to eating lunch today and wasn't feeling well or hungry when we stopped in at Ha Ahn at 4 for an early dinner.

The banchan format has changed since our first visit here. In the past few months, they've changed from little platters shared between diners to a separate sectioned platter of banchan for each person, as shown in the background below.

Kim bap

We ordered kim bap ($5.95), a Korean rolled rice dish similar to sushi, with carrots, crepe, takuan, spinach, and imitation crab wrapped in Korean nori. I've been an addict of Korean nori for years. My father introduced them to me and sends me packets of them in care boxes. It was only in the past month or so that I tried kim bap. While it is a little greasy on the fingers, I love the blend of vegetables and sesame, and especially enjoy the firm texture.

Bug wasn't overly impressed with the banchan assortment today. It wasn't bad -- Napa cabbage kimchi, fried tofu and onion strips in sesame oil, sausage (kielbasa?) and onions, and potato tempura.

Beef jjigae

I ordered dwenjang jjigae ($8.95) or maybe it was another kind of jjigae (hehe). I don't recall which, but it was a chili peppery soup with beef and tofu brought to the table bubbling intensely in a cauldron. I wish I could have done the lava justice in the photograph. A raw egg is cracked over it, where the heat warms the egg. It doesn't cool the soup by much! Whichever jjigae it is, I really like it.

Dolsot bibimbap after it was mixed with gochujang

Bug ordered dolsot bibimbap ($8.95). When this arrives, it is like watching fajitas swish past you, but Asian -- the scent of sesame oil, the sizzle of the rice, and the array of colors. The ingredients arrive neatly arranged and then some magic happens. A bottle of YUM (gochujang and umm faerie dust) is squeezed over everything and the bowl of rice, egg, carrots, zucchini, beef, nori, and bean sprouts are transformed in a ray of light and chorus of angels sort of way. I love it!

We always enjoy eating at Ha Ahn because their food tastes good, it is relaxing, relatively close to home, and the prices are decent. It is one of two Korean restaurants, of the four that we know of, that we frequent; the other being Seoul Garden with the 14 banchan (!). We've even run into the proprietress of Seoul Garden eating here.

- Cassaendra

Ha Ahn Korean Restaurant
3030 Superior Ave E
Cleveland, OH 44114
Tel: (216) 664-1152

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