A restaurant that had been on my radar for a while was Haru Haru Korean Restaurant. Based on the photos I had seen online, it looked like my type of place...a hole-in-the-wall restaurant with kitschy decor, no frills, and the promise of good cheap Korean food. I finally made it there to try it out!
Haru Haru definitely fits the hole-in-the-wall bill. Upon first sight, it looks like an extremely narrow restaurant that spilled into an alleyway. Furthermore, it looks like it crossed into a different dimension in the process. It's not immediately clear that the two vastly different sections are part of the same place. One half of the restaurant houses a narrow strip of tables with bench seats on one side and colorful stools on the other. In the back corner is a teeny tiny kitchen where the all the cooking is done. On the wall shelf behind the bench, there is a Psy (of Gangnam Style fame!) bobblehead doll. Additionally, there are jade sculptures, bottles of Korean beer, and a plastic version of their Apple Cider over crushed ice.
Then comes the spillover part... The other side of the restaurant is adorned with graffiti style wall art, complete with the name of the restaurant, the words "fried chicken" and a picture of Psy (they are obviously big fans!). The utility type tables have simple stools strewn around them. LED light garlands hang from the ceiling for that extra festive kitschy look. And the alleyway part of the restaurant is covered by a makeshift awning that connects between the "main restaurant" and the graffiti wall.
Apparently, Haru Haru is known for their fried chicken. If you've never had Korean style fried chicken, it is not your KFC kind of fried chicken. It has a more crispy batter and is more flavorful. It is often served with pickled radish, which is an awesome flavor partner. That being said, I didn't try their fried chicken on this inaugural visit, but I plan to go back and try it out. Stay tuned for that follow-up post! For this trip, I wanted to try a basic common Korean dish and ordered the beef bibimbap.
A Korean appetizer trio for everyone...bean sprouts, kimchi, and zucchini. It's a nice light way to start the meal.
The bibimbap arrived a few minutes later, sizzling loudly in the hot stone bowl. Tasty cooked beef, shredded vegetables, a raw egg, and some kimchi, all on a bed rice. I let the food sit for a moment, letting the rice that touched the bottom of the bowl to get nice and crispy. Then I mixed all the food together in the bowl, the raw egg cooking from all the hot rice and the stone bowl. Once everything was thoroughly mixed, I topped it with a generous drizzle of Korean hot sauce. SO yummy.
This was a weekday lunch set deal that came with a drink or bowl of soup, in addition to the free appetizers at the start. The price? HK$45...which translates into $5.80USD or $7.85CDN. Tasty and also cheap??? Bonus!
So if you're in the mood for cheap tasty Korean comfort food in a fun setting, make sure to visit Haru Haru when you're in the neighborhood!
Where to find Haru Haru: