This evening, I had the some of the most wonderful Korean cooking I have ever tasted. Bearing in mind that my ideal food is made by someone's grandmother from the Old Country, the food at Arirang, in the Auburndale neighborhood of Flushing, must be what it's like to have someone's Korean grandmother cook for you. (Korean mothers have cooked for me, so I'm extrapolating – but not too much.)
The menu is small, and word is that everything on it is good. The two dishes we tried were great. They are especially well known for their dak kalguksu (닭칼국수 - knife-cut noodles in chicken soup, or... chicken noodle soup), and with good reason. The noodles are palpably homemade, as is the soup: small chunks of chicken in a rich, yet light broth. As close to perfection as I can imagine such a dish to be.
Although we didn't order the other noodle specialty of the house, su jae bi (수제비 - hand-torn noodles), luckily a few su jae bi bits tend to end up in the bowl with the kalguksu noodles. The slightly chewy patches of flat dough make a fun contrast.
The other dish on the table was equally outstanding. It's not even translated into English on the menu, so you need to know to ask for andong jjimdak (안동찜닭), or stewed chicken Andong style. It’s also rich, but not heavy, a bit sweet, a bit spicy - chicken pieces stewed with oyster sauce, soy sauce, jap chae clear noodles, chili pepper, garlic, potato, scallion, cucumber, carrot, sesame, and other goodies (as if all that isn’t enough). The wall menu says it feeds 2-3, but it can easily feed 4-5, especially if there’s a bowl or three of kalguksu on the table. Well worth the 32 bucks.
(This dish isn't actually too difficult to make if you have access to a decent Asian market, and there's an excellent recipe for it on the wonderful Maangchi.com.)
Aside from this and the noodles dishes, the only other type of food on the menu is pa jeon (해물파전 - haemul pajeon), a large, fried seafood and scallion pancake. Word on the street is that it’s great, too. I look forward to trying it next time.
Go early. On a Friday night, they were closing up by 9:30.
This is just the kind of home-style cooking that makes me very, very happy.
41-04 163rd St., Flushing 11358
(7 train to Main St.-Flushing, then take the Q13 or Q 28 bus to 162nd St. It's a few doors south of Northern Blvd. on 163rd St.)