HanArum Roll House - Irvine
I do not advocate the eating of those sushi-like products wrapped in cellophane and kept in refrigerated sections of supermarkets. There's just too much at stake, the least of which is flavor. If you're going to have sushi, have sushi. Go to your local itamae, sit in front of him and eat it as it's meant to be eaten.
But when it comes to the Korean version called kimbap, the cellophane is almost an inevitability; because other than a few exceptions, kimbap is mostly sold in supermarkets wrapped under plastic to function as a light lunch, a snack, or an accompaniment to a bigger meal. Every major Korean store in town has a kimbap station, where middle-aged ladies roll nori sheets around rice and savory fillings.
H-Mart's kimbap station is called HanArum, which sells what is possibly the cheapest and most filling lunch you can get anywhere in the Diamond Jamboree complex.
Their tuna roll ($3.50), is tightly wound, crammed with so much stuff to a critical mass that it immediately unfurls in your mouth like a coiled spring of moistness and crunch. A Subway tuna sandwich could only dream of beating it in nutrition, value, and flavor.
The secret is in the ingredients. It contains no less than a dozen components, including tamago-style egg, imitation crab, spinach, carrot, pickled radish, burdock root, sesame leaf, cucumber, tuna salad, celery, onion, and cucumber, with a hint of sesame oil, salt and vinegar for seasoning.
All the layers amount to rings of textures and tastes beyond that in a typical sushi roll. No soy sauce or wasabi needed. Above all, it's refreshingly simple -- a no fuss, grab-and-go lunch.
And if you want even more variety, HanArum also does a combo selection of kimbap for $5.00: colorful medallions filled with just as many yummy things as the tuna roll, but with different proteins at the nucleus. There's cooked beef as well as ham and cheese. That's right, I said ham and cheese.
And yes, they'll be wrapped with cellophane...but here's a tip, come early and you'll catch 'em as they're being made. The ladies will still package it up in plastic as they serve it to you, but it will be so fresh it might as well be made to order by an itamae. Well, the Korean equivalent anyway.
HanArum Roll House
2600 Alton Pkwy
Irvine, CA 92606
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