Dan Ahn wearing glasses in black sweater

Reunion: Dan Ahn

Dan is a partner and the director of operations for Kimbap Lab, a restaurant specializing in gluten-free Korean comfort foods. He is also a freelance food photographer and videographer who has worked with restaurants such as Atomix, Momofuku Ko, Jungsik, Jua, and more. His work has appeared in the Michelin Guide, World's 50 Best, Eater, The Infatuation, Vogue Magazine, Cherry Bombe Magazine, and other publications.

What's your favorite dish that evokes nostalgia?

For me, it’s kimchi jjigae, a kind of kimchi stew. It's such a comfort food for me: when I was growing up, my mom would make it often (and still does whenever I visit). 

What's your go to restaurant for reunion meals?

I love restaurants where you can order a ton of things and share them family style like dim sum or Korean BBQ.

What are your favorite food cities? What are some restaurants there that taste like home?

I love New York City — I moved here partly due to the incredible food scene here and my desire to be a part of it. There’s literally tens of thousands of restaurants here but when I want a taste of home and nostalgia, I like to visit places like Moono, Samwoojung, Don Don, and 8282. For more special occasions, I love Jua, Mari, or NARO

Beyond Korean food, I'm a big fan of Saigon Social, Essex Pearl, Golden Diner, Lysée, and Bessou. And while Aqua Best is not a restaurant, I love going there for the times I want to cook seafood at home (or run an occasional special at Kimbap Lab).
In my hometown of Baltimore, I have a soft spot for Kong Pocha and Toki Tako. I also love Shin Chon and Han Joong Kwan in nearby Ellicott City, and Anju in DC. Other AAPI restaurants in the DMV area that I love include Ekiben, Q by Peter Chang, Cafe Dear Leon, Thip Khao, and Kuya Ja’s.

What do you do for inspiration?

Most of my professional freelance work is centered around food. However, I also have a different camera that’s completely manual (it doesn’t even have autofocus). I love taking that with me everywhere in New York and just shooting street photography. It challenges me to improve my craft and my ability to tell stories from a single photo or collection of photos.

What's something you're obsessed with right now?

Cinematography and storytelling. I kind of accidentally fell into the videography world, shooting videos of Chinatown restaurants with Grace Young during the pandemic (Coronavirus: Chinatown Stories). It was through that I truly understood the impact and power videos could hold, and it's captivated me since.

So lately, I've been watching a lot of films (I last saw Maestro in the theaters) and YouTube vlogs like Life of Riza, just dissecting how they convey stories and ideas through light, composition, and scripting. It’s one of my 2024 goals to start creating more long-form videos on a somewhat consistent basis in 2024.

Food wise, I've been on a spicy kick, like an I-want-to-cry-its-so-spicy spicy level. Some places I've loved are Ugly Baby, Da Long Yi Hot Pot, Sorimmara, and Fish Cheeks.

Follow Dan on Instagram.

Continue shopping
Your Order

You have no items in your cart