It's actually Ah-Lang Restaurant but better known as the "Angry Korean Lady" (AKL). Located in a humble shoplot of Imperial plaza along Kapiolani Boulevard, the restaurant is very popular among the locals and tourists all around the world. Then again, it's either a hit or a miss.
I was introduced to this must-try restaurant for its delicious Korean food but wasn't informed to expect some really "rare" house rules. The restaurant was full when I arrived with a party of seven but there were some empty places for four somewhere around the corner.
After five minutes of waiting, a grumpy woman (whom I convinced was AKL) walked out from the kitchen with dishes on both hands to serve other customers. She looked at us then over to another table with customers waiting for their food and said "Four of you over there at the corner, and seven of you here", off she went to the kitchen. I was a little taken aback and thought that was rude. After we were seated, a long list of house rules caught my attention and I almost forgot about the menu. Some of the interesting house rules:
1. If you don't bring me your order, I won't make your food...
2. Bring your own beverage. Bring me some, or you there is a bottle fee. No Coors light, it gives me a headache. No Yellowtail, it gives me a stomachache.
6. If you asked for extra plate/fork/knife, etc. you must wash your own dishes before you leave.
10. If AKL puts the "Closed" sign and you still want her to cook for you, then you must wash ALL dishes for the night.
12. After you place your order, do not disturb AKL more than 3 times, I will post the DO NOT DISTURB sign. This means that on your next visit, you CANNOT order food and you CANNOT eat your friend's food.You will only be allowed to WATCH others enjoying AKL's cooking.
There were about 13 rules on the list which I had to read through twice to make myself fully understand and abide by the rules.
Sorry, there were no original pictures of the food except the list of house rules as I was seriously intrigued and puzzled by the rules. Is it a marketing strategy? Attention seeking? Arrogance? I don't know. By the time the food arrived, I was too eager to dig in and try the food. I must say that the food was great, especially the sizzling Soon Dubu combo which has whole prawns, clams, pork, tofu etc. I love the aroma and spiciness of the soup (oh, don't forget house rule #1, indicate spice level). The Bibim bap was quite traditional and authentic.
Lucky for us, it was generally a pleasant dining experience as we did not press any AKL's hot buttons but there was one customer who was being yelled at while we were there. AKL works alone most of the time from receiving orders, cooking, serving, to collecting payment. I did a little research on the ratings of AKL restaurant and was surprised that the ratings were quite good despite her attitude. In fact, a group of girls had to help her with the dishes as they were ignorant of the "Closed" sign (rule #10).
As for me, I might consider dining here again (for the delicious Soon Dubu) on my next visit to Honolulu but it does scare me a little to face AKL. In my opinion, though AKL is unique in her own ways, I think it would be nice if she's a little more friendly towards customers instead of creating fear in them while dining in the restaurant.
If you intend to dine at Ah-Lang's, warning - Do not talk to AKL when she's cooking and if you have any questions, don't ask AKL, ask other customers (rule #13).