By Diane Ako
I had the most amazing lunch at the quirkiest of food establishments. Angry Korean Lady in the Imperial Plaza is run by - well - an angry Korean lady. She calls herself the AKL.
I tried to get her photo but every time I held up the camera, she gave it the bird. Oh well. Truth in advertising.
From the moment you walk up to this very small space, you a greeted with hostile signage. When you walk in to the small room, more commanding signage telling you how to order and what to do, on both the walls and each tabletop.
Her House Rules, as she calls them, sound like me talking to my kid: "Write down your order and BRING IT TO ME IN THE KITCHEN..." or this hilarious gem: "After you place your order and you bother AKL more than 3 times I will post the DO NOT DISTURB sign. This means on your next visit you CANNOT order food and you CANNOT eat your friend's food. You will only be allowed to WATCH others enjoy AKL's cooking."
I was kind of scared already, but I was with my friend Sean, and he's AKL's friend, so I figured I was "in." Still, I was nervous to talk to her.
Turns out she's a pretty nice, self-taught home cook whose Korean food is so tasty that diners are willing to risk insult and the possibility of being ordered to wash all the restaurant's dishes to eat there.
For a hole in the wall, it attracts all kinds of diners, including local music celebrity Raiatea Helm, eating at the next table the day I went.
Everything on the menu looks fantastic; the family-style menu Sean picked for us was amazing.
We had kal bi, spicy chicken (which I ordered at Spice Level 0 because I don't like spicy, and then I got a sort of scolding from her), meat jun, and man doo. Enjoyable.
I recommend it, and I am even thinking of booking it for a private party (minimum 20 pax, maximum 24, minimum food order per person $30, reservations at least one week ahead).
If you go, make sure to check out the door sign on the Vietnamese nail salon to the left. It's equally as friendly!