On a drizzling night, what better to warm your toes with a bracing kimchi chiage, a soup so startling red, it almost looks like paint
Ginseng chicken, nourishing and comforting
No. 21M & 23M, SS2/67, 47300, Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03 7875 8868
A great selection from grills to soup
The sourness and spiciness of the kimchi can overpower the more subtle dishes
Korean food has become somewhat of a favourite amongst KLites. Even though this Foodster has been to Korea and had some fine chewy Korean sashimi and went to a restaurant in central Seoul that served over a hundred Pan Chan (that’s those small little dishes of Korean munchies they serve with the meal) there’s a still a lot more to learn about this cuisine. From what I know, Korean food is not ashamed of assaulting your senses from spicy to the nose, bright red broths and pickles to the sharp scent of bulgogi (BBQed meats). They also have mellow soupy dishes perfect for slurping on hot days such as the flavourful ginseng chicken.
But lets get to the food. Bulgogi here is very good. You can cook it yourself on the charcoal stove in the middle of the table. There are nice slivers of meat you can get all nicely marinated to cook on the pit. Also order the ribs which is aged- very tasty and has a lot of flavour. When popped in the mouth, it's chewy yet at the same time tender. The sam gyup sal here is also recommended which are cuts of pork that turns into bacon when you grill it.
With this you will get lettuce leaves, whole garlic and a thick sweetish sauce. After the meat is grilled, put in some garlic and sauce in a lettuce leave, roll it up like a Cuban cigar and munch away. There will be an explosion of flavours, the burnt taste of the meat, the tangy sauce, pungent garlic and the freshness of the leaves. Fabulous!
Now a signature of Korean food is their kimchi. The sourish spicy pickled cabbage come as part of the Pan Chan. There’s quite a number of Pan Chan here- more than 10 different kinds from ikan bilis to mushrooms and fishcakes. If you come here for the bulgogi Pan Chan is a great way to fill up.
However, what I really like here is the kimchi chigae. This is basically a spicy pickle cabbage soup- wicked vermillion in colour. The version here is served with tofu. Strangely I must say that it tastes a little like assam pedas. It’s just that combination of sourness and spiciness. It’s really good on warm rice or just to slurp up on its own. According to a friend who once worked in Korea, he used to have this dish for breakfast every morning with his workers. It’s almost like the assam pedas obsession we uncovered in Batu Pahat. People there actually have assam pedas for breakfast not unlike Koreans then.
However I like it on a night like this when it’s drizzling and you get some cool breezes wafting in as you immerse yourself in the tasty broth. A good kimchi chigae should make your nose run a little and holds its sourness at the back of your throat. However it should not overpower so you can eat it like soup. Ginseng chicken is also served here. It tasted a little gormless after the bold kimchi chigae. But it’s still nourishing and the chicken meat falls off the bones. Beneath the chicken is a handful of rice, almost glutinous in texture. Other than that, we also had a vegetable rice dish cooked in the same stone pot as the other soups. This is a good middle ground between the laid-back ginseng chicken and the brash kimchi chigae. The rice tasted like claypot rice, a little hard and chewy with a good texture. An egg is broken over it so you get that rich slickness over the rice that goes down your throat nicely.
All in all it was a very enjoyable meal. They have good dinner sets here that combines the bulgogi with the soupy stone pot dishes. You can always order an extra dish of meat with the set meal if it's not enough.