Alirang is located on the corner of Main St and Locke St. It’s quite difficult to find parking because they only have a few spots at the back. I suggest parking on Locke St and walking over. I’ve been here a few times because they have good service and food. The decor is dated, homey and pink. It’s like eating at home! Once seated, we were served delicious cups of hot tea, corn tea? Most of the time I order the same things, I really need to try other dishes.
Side dishes come with every meal if you eat at a Korean restaurant. The most common sides are kimchi, fish cakes, bean sprouts, seaweed, radishes, sweetened potatoes, pickled cucumbers and so on. With our meal, we were served kimchi, spicy bean sprouts, sweetened potatoes and seaweed. All were delicious, you can also refill these sides for free.
This Galbitang soup had short ribs, raddish, eggs and clear noodles it in. It’s a great option for those who can’t handle spicy soups! The wonderful thing about Korean soups is that they usually take a couple hours to cook. This gives the soup a lot of deep flavours. Maybe that’s why I keep ordering the same soups.
We ordered two more soups, Gamjatang and Soondubu. Both were spicy, filling and very flavourful. Gamjatang, directly translated, is ‘potato soup’. The broth takes about 3-4 hours to develop flavours from the pork bones, then the potatoes and a bunch of other ingredients are added to bring it altogether. It took me a while to eat this because I tend to pick every last bit of meat off the bones. Although this wasn’t the best pork bone soup I’ve had, it wasn’t terrible. The other soup, Soondubu, is soft tofu stew. This one doesn’t take as long to make compared to the pork bone soup. What I like about it, is the broth. It’s a seafood based stock made from anchovies, onions, garlic and kelp. Other ingredients like tofu, shrimp, mussels, clams, squid and scallops are added at the end to beef up the soup. The soup was spicy, but you can ask for a mild version!
Another time we came here, we ordered the Gamjatang hot pot. It’s a huge pot of the pork bone soup with other added ingredients (costs extra). We added noodles and tofu. It’s a menu item that’s shared between two or more people, and it was more than enough for my mom and I. Delicious! The service was what I expected from a Korean joint, polite. They also came around often to refill our tea and ask if we needed refills on any side dishes. There are other Korean restaurants in Hamilton worth checking out – Korea House on Cannon St., Owl of Minerva on Main St. and Cho Sun Ok on King St. East.