Friday, September 11, 2009

Hangawi 09-10-2009

Location: 12 E. 32nd St.
Time: 6:15pm
People: MK and myself

Feelings: MK took me to her favorite vegetarian place, Hangawi in K-town. Since I completely trust her food judgment, I knew I was in for something incredible. When you enter here, you must remove your shoes and sit on cushions. Many women with Manolo and Louboutin are often worried about the risk of losing their shoes, but I felt quite comfortable leaving my shoes here. The shoe attendant knew exactly whose shoes belonged to who, and she watched over the shoes at all times. She was my shoe fairy.

At Hangawi, you feel at ease and in balanced with amazingly Zen ambiance, fresh ingredients and great service. The price is not on the cheap side, but it is a nice way to relax and enjoy dinner with your friends or for a romantic dinner. If you are a carnivore and have a stereotype of "tofu and veggies should not cost so much," then perhaps you should stick to your favorite steakhouse or bistro. Here, you spend a little more than your usual vegetarian places, get the best service, relax, and leave the place with full stomach, but they never make you feel sick or guilty.

We started with a very light pomegranate soju cocktail ($8), which was a refreshingly way to clean out the distasteful workday. We shared leek pancakes ($11) and steamed dumplings($8) for appetizers as we sipped the cocktails. The pancakes had a good balance of chewy and crispy, and leek tasted very fresh. The dumplings were also well steamed and had a strong flavor perhaps because of nuts in the fillings. I was slightly disappointed that they did not serve banchan besides two different types of kimchi.

We both ordered MK's favorite crispy mushrooms ($18) for entree, which she called, "Taste just like potato chips." It had been my dream to have potato chips for dinner, and yes, she was right. The crispiness and slight greasy flavor combined brought something very similar to Utz potato chips. But as I chewed more, the juicy flavor of mushroom lingered in my mouth and took it somewhere more magical and sophisticated than potato chips.

For dessert, we shared a vegan blueberry coconut cake. I still cannot believe it was dairy free. It was extremely moist and creamy from coconut juice but not mushy like some vegan cakes could be. It was fresh and subtly sweet. What a great way to finish this peaceful dinner!

As I left Hangawi (with shoes), I realized that it was more than dinner. It was an experience. It was a similar feeling as going to a spa or massage, and I left incredibly refreshed and ready to go back to work the next day. Two hours I spent at Hangawi was a little escape from my city life, and it was shocking to me that food could do this to a person. Oh, the power of food.

1 comment:

Darn said...

Sounds like an amazing experience, I can't wait to try!