The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

'Surprise, It's Not My Birthday' at Arirang

This entry originally took place on July 22. I'll be in Virginia from today until August 2, probably wouldn't even notice anyway because I have enough trouble trying to update this blog twice a week even when I'm not on vacation. Sigh. But if I seem less responsive than usual, that's the reason.

relight the candles..
Cake! Three candles! WIN!

"Huh?" As I stood in the back dining room of Arirang, I stared at the bounty before me: a chocolate frosted cake pipped with the words "Manatees <3 Robyn" and a tablefull of friends I wasn't expecting to see.

"It's Robyn Appreciation Day!" Claire said.


"June 22nd!"


Oh god, that's my WTF face. ...How does anyone love me? Photo taken by Claire!!!

My confusion lasted for about another 10 minutes. The rusting, ill-maintained machine that is my brain balked at the idea that anyone would throw me a party without any reason. How can people be that nice? To me? Did I do anything to deserve this?

Oh, but there was a reason—it was 36 days until my birthday (August 27)! They pulled the ol' "Throw A Surprise Birthday Party Way Before The Real Birthday" trick. You wanna surprise someone? That's the way to do it.

Accompanied by my staggeringly awesome friends that I do not deserve—Diana, Lee Anne, Kathy, Olia, John, Claire, and Greg—we tore through three bowls of noodles and two pancakes. As I just wrote about Arirang, you can consider this a refresher.

Chicken Kar - Jeabe

Chicken kar-jeabe: (Karjeabe is a combination of kalguksu, knife cut noodles, and sujebi, torn noodles.) Probably my most favorite chicken-based dish.The rich, milky broth tastes more chickeny than chicken. And of course, I love me some chewy dough flake action.

the seafood noodles, maybe

Seafood kar-jeabe: Seafoody. Alas, I prefer chicken. But this broth is also deeply flavored with briny goodness.

the vegetable noodles, maybe

Vegetable kar-jeabe: For our vegetarian friend, Claire! All the goodness of awesome noodles and soup without any meatness. Also, lots of vegetable action consisting of spinachy foodness and carrots and, well, that's pretty much all I can discern from this photo.

I asked for a noodle shot and this is what I got
Huge. Mound.

Wait, let's zoom out...

Yeah that's Greg.

Yup, that's our Greg.

seafood pancake
Seafood pancake.

Arirang's seafood pancake is my favorite version of seafood pancake anywhere. Crispy, chewy, and chock full of scallion and cuttlefish goodness.

kimchi pancake

And for the non-seafood lovers, there's also a kimchi pancake. You can probably guess what's in it. The dduk topping was a nice touch.


All that food was just the right amount for the eight of us.

Greg piles the dishes into a ...pile
Helping out.

Greg stacked our bowls to make the table clearing task go a little bit faster. If anything weird is happening at the table, you can count on Greg being the reason behind it.


And then when we all felt like our stomachs would explode at the most meager addition of masticated substance, it was time to cut the cake. A most lovely chocolate cake from Sugar Sweet Sunshine.

birthday cake from Sugar Sweet Sunshine
Here's a wedge. You cannot eat it.

I ate most of one wedge before calling it quits. My friends hadn't planned on getting such a big cake; it just happened to be the only one that Sugar Sweet Sunshine had on hand. But it was okay; we gave the extra cake to the restaurant. I hope they liked it.

AWESOME PEOPLE who are also cute
Kathy, Greg, Diana, John, Claire, and Lee Anne!

After eating, we took advantage of Koreatown's glaring fluorescent lights with random photos. Such as this lovely look at my lovely group of friends, sans Olia since she had to leave early. [Sniff!]

I don't know.

Or perhaps Greg and me having a...completely normal conversation.


And here's everyone doing something different.

We got someone to take our photo!
Another group shot!

We got a random person off the street to take our photo. Who captured a random person walking into the shot.

strike a pose...or not
Anti-serious face time.

Oh man, how I love my friends. I can't thank them enough for giving me such a special Korean food and cake and manatee love-filled night.


32 W 32nd St
New York, NY 10001


SuperChomp / July 30, 2009 6:06 AM

Oh man, I know the more chickeny than chicken flavour; it is beyond awesome. The food looks great, and there's a certain sense of satisfaction when you order the right amount and there is nothing left over, but no-one goes hungry.

I can just imagine the face of someone who has just been asked to ice "manatee's <3 Robyn" ^_^

auntjone / July 30, 2009 3:35 PM

You are so darn cute. And I mean that in a non-stalkerish way.

And your slender friend in the grey dress with the hat that I couldn't wear in a million years because I'd look stupid no matter what? Yeah, I hate her. I'm sure she's sweet and fabulous and rescues things in danger and all but I still hate her and her thinness.....sigh. Ok not really but I feel a little better now.

I really want to try Korean food because of you. Are you ever going to Chicago? Because I know you'll never come to Indiana, so Chicago is good enough.

E / July 31, 2009 12:37 AM

What a great surprise. The food looks fabulous, especially the seafood and kimchi pancakes. Yum!

jesi / July 31, 2009 1:52 AM

ha i feel less retarded and stalkerish posting this now that someone else has already praised the cuteness of you and your friends...
every time i come to your blog i always find myself thinking, 'goddamn it, i just want to enjoy some humourous food blog action, and there's greg again, being TOTALLY DISTRACTING and trying to seduce me with his super-suave well-dressedness and adorable noodle-eating." dudes are like kyrptonite.

roboppy / July 31, 2009 12:52 PM

SuperChomp: I wonder what the cake ice-r must've thought. But then they've probably gotten stranger requests? ;)

LishyWishy: It's pretty awesome...I shouldn't complain about it as much as I do. >_<

Adrien: Thanks! Alas, no Richmond-ing on this trip but I'll let ye know if I ever dooo.


auntjone: Slender friend = KATHY! And yeah, we dunno how she does it. She was built for eating and looking good while doing it. ;) We love her so much!

And Chicago, psssttt I might be going at the end of August for a work-related weekend. Shall say more when I get more details.

E: Korean pancakes are SO FUGGGIN GOOD.

Jesi: Oh, if you get to know Greg you wouldn't find him that seductive. Like when he starts talking about molding piles of poop with paddles..I mean..what...

JUST KIDDING, WE LOVE GREG. :) I just try to mar his reputation on the Internet cos I can.

Carl: That's cos you have yet to interact with me in real life, WHAT A TERRIFYING THING IT IS (or can be)...

I totally appreciate the intarwubs luvins. :) It means a lot to me!

Angeline / July 31, 2009 9:41 PM

Cake decorator: "This Robyn must be pretty awesome if manatees love her"

Gwen / August 2, 2009 3:33 PM

This is so random, but do you know where Lee Anne's bag is from? I've seen it somewhere before and really liked it, but don't remember where.

S / August 2, 2009 4:42 PM

First - your site is wonderful and I enjoy each and every post.

Sorry - also random - where did your friend Lee Anne get her sandals?!

Olivia / August 3, 2009 9:31 AM

Can we all please observe how cracked-out LeeAnne looks in the 5th photo from the bottom? lay off the pipe, LeeAnne!

Lee Anne / August 3, 2009 11:55 AM

Olivia - Hey now, hey now. If you must know, drug's called LOOOOVE, baby.

Gwen & S - Bag's from the MoMA Store (and totally beat up after years of heavy use), sandals were from some shop in the West Village? Can't recall the name off-hand.

Robyn - <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Lee Anne / August 3, 2009 12:04 PM

Oh, commentmaking FAIL. Robyn, you were supposed to receive a bundle of hearts but this will have to suffice:


roboppy / August 4, 2009 1:43 PM

Angeline: Awesome..weird..same diff!

S: Thanks!

Lee Anne: I fixorized it! NOW EVERYONE CAN SEE HEARTS! SQUEEEEE thank you. :)

yuttiness: Thanks!

Lee Anne / August 7, 2009 10:14 AM

Photo of you/Greg-weirdly-gesturing: I just noticed that smack in the center is a tiny curiously-peering/weirdly-gesturing person. XD

Jane H. / August 11, 2009 12:20 AM

On a completely non-food-related note, I love your outfit! So cute, comfy, and fresh! Happy pre-birthday!

roboppy / August 15, 2009 1:16 AM


Jane H.: Hehe, thanks! That's usually how I dress....t-shirt, shorts. Preferably I'd have a buttload of comfy dresses with pockets, though. (I love dresses. But I hate the general lack of pockets. Dooh.)

Rose / August 21, 2009 5:21 PM

Someday you may want to explain to me how you managed to go to a Korean BBQ restaurant and NOT eat any Korean BBQ?!!! This is pure craziness. Though I understand that my love for Korean food is totally biased (being Korean and all), but seriously? No grilled meat love?

roboppy / August 21, 2009 5:27 PM

Rose: Hm...well it's not their specialty, besides that Korean bbq isn't my favorite Korean food. :[ I've only eaten it once in NYC. Sujebi gives me more happiness-per-dollar. :) (I'm not sure I've seen anyone else eat bbq in

Korean bbq was way more fun in Korea anyway. Cos I got to eat in a shack-like restaurant in an alley somewhere. And it was frighteningly cheap. YEAAAH!! That's the experience I want.

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