I have a love-hate relationship with Korean food — as in, I love it so much that I hate that I can’t/don’t eat it as often as I’d like to.
So I’ve really begun to take advantage of every opportunity I get to convince whoever I’m with to also want Korean food. (I think I’ve become quite good at it.) Which brings me to this week’s installment of Gastronome, in which I stop in at Red Stand with Metro social media manager Nicole Kato and staff writer Paige Takeya.
Located in Samsung Plaza, Red Stand is a small but comfortable spot with room for only about 16 people. Appropriately, everything — utensils and décor — is red, and teddy bears on one counter promise to be given free with any $50 purchase.
That morning, there was only one person in the kitchen, which I suspect is usually the case given the limited space. There was a little bit of a wait near the end of our meal when a steady flow of customers began to walk in, but everything else came out rather quickly.
It’s all superfluous details, though, once you try the food.
Let me say this first — I don’t know what it is or how they do it, but without fail, anytime I’m watching a Korean drama and the characters start slurping up noodles, I am unsatisfied until I too get to eat ramen. I’ve noticed also that they tend to eat it straight from the pot, using the lid as a plate. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do because it looks so fun.
Finally, at Red Stand, I was able to do it. Ramen is served in a pot with a lid, which I know sounds a little silly, but if you are a fan of Korean everything, you’ll completely understand. I sampled the Rice Cake Ra-men, which included tteok — basically the Korean version of mochi. It was a spicy and flavorful dish that was gone too soon (though don’t get me wrong, the portion was just right).
Nicole and Paige also ate ramen (Seafood and Cheese Ramen, respectively, which they both enjoyed), and to go with that, I also ordered
Beef Kimbap to share. Kimbap, for those unaware, is essentially like sushi minus raw fish. In most instances (that I’ve experienced, at least) it’s made with beef, vegetables or tuna, with apparent notes of sesame oil in every bite. It is very easy to eat and often my go-to when I don’t bring lunch to work. Red Stand’s version was OK. I couldn’t taste any sesame oil, and flavor from the beef was sadly lacking. Still, it was a nice accompaniment.
I was pretty full after this portion of the meal, but because the ramen was so spicy (and honestly, because I wanted to share it with all of you), we decided to end with Pat Bingsoo (or patbingsu). It’s a light dessert, made with unflavored shave ice that is topped with a little bit of condensed milk and red beans and, in this case, pineapple, mochi and slivered almonds. Other flavors are available, too, like mango and strawberry, but we decided to keep it classic.
Honestly, I am already strategically planning my next visit. I’m pretty sure I can convince my mom, boyfriend and other friends to let me take them. Plus, Red Stand also can prepare items for takeout and serves breakfast from as early as 7 a.m. So … I think I’ll probably be in again sometime before this article even comes out.
655 Keeaumoku St.
Phone number(808) 947-7272
COOKING WITH NANI KORE
Almost a year ago, I met up with local kimchi makers Kyoko Yokouchi and Jeff Kim of Nani Kore for this column. Personally, I still think their kimchi is daebak (the Korean word for jackpot, basically).Sadly, they’ve since branched out to California — though you can still order their kimchi by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, I’ve been fascinated by their latest social media posts. The duo has gotten incredibly creative with kimchi recipes, which they share on Nani Kore’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. Among those I plan on trying out soon: Kimchi Pizza and Kimchi Dip. They recently posted photos of Kimchi Bacon Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies, so I’m holding out hope that they reveal that recipe, too. (P.S. You can read more about Nani Kore at metrohnl.com.)