Disappointing Asian cuisine

The Hungry Bulldog House, nestled on South Lemon Avenue and Golden Springs Drive, offers a selection of unmemorable Asian fusion street snack foods that miss the mark.

Although branded as a Korean-style restaurant, the fare at the Hungry Bulldog House includes a variety of Asian specialties, ranging from pork katsu and Japanese curry to Korean-style hotdogs and tteokbokki. A few specialty Asian soft drinks are offered as well as sodas and water.

Upon entering the restaurant, a large repeating print of the establishment’s logo dominates the restaurant’s look. The wooden tabletops are nondescript, pairing well with the black industrial metal chairs and completing the modern aesthetic. The restaurant also accounted for COVID-19 concerns, disinfecting tables between customers and offering hand sanitizer at every table. 

However, what was truly surprising was how empty the restaurant was. Despite it being a Saturday lunch hour, it was empty when my family and I arrived. We ordered the Hungry Bulldog House’s signature Cheese Dog ($3.99), original pork katsu ($12.99) and popcorn chicken ($12.79), all of which were served within 15 minutes.

The Cheese Dog came as a deep-fried, panko-crusted corn dog with a side of sugar. Its larger size hid a minuscule hot dog buried under a large mass of cheese, which was at maximum a quarter-length of its normal brethren. The remainder of the space was dominated by a mass of melted cheese, leading to a frantic race to the hot dog before the cheese solidified.

The thick, panko-crusted dough became increasingly undercooked as I neared the bottom of the snack, eventually taking on the consistency of mochi. The Cheese Dog was an interesting novelty at best, but left much to be desired between the dough, flavorless cheese and miniature hot dog.

Thankfully, the original pork katsu fared better than the Cheese Dog. Coming with sides of rice, katsu sauce, shredded cabbage with Thousand Island dressing, jalapenos and pickled daikon, the pork katsu was a generous portion for the price. Although cut in conservative slices, the dish gracefully escaped the most common katsu shortcoming: dry, tough meat.

On the other hand, the popcorn chicken was the worst dish I’ve ever had the displeasure of experiencing. In a feeble attempt at the common Taiwanese street food, Hungry Bulldog House’s popcorn chicken resembled bite-sized chicken tenders more than anythinga fact solidified by the dish’s side of ranch sauce. Ignoring its failings as popcorn chicken, the dish was tender and nicely seasoned.

The main redeeming qualities of Hungry Bulldog House are the care and thoughtfulness of the staff. The cashier and waitress brought us water without asking and were very polite through our interactions. 

While the taste may be mediocre, the Hungry Bulldog House offers generous portions of Asian specialties at excellent value. As the restaurant weathers the COVID-19 pandemic with a soft opening to gather customer feedback, it remains to be seen what improvements will come with the grand opening.