Sunday, April 27, 2008

Korean Cravings Satisfied!

We are kimchi-fans! And kimchi fans loves Korean food! *duh*

Hubby and I have tried a few Korean restaurants and so far this is our current favorite: Korea House at Desa Sri Hartamas. Korea House is not new but a rather established place in Hartamas (same row as Uncle Don, on the first floor). This place is value for money with fulfilling portions and good service (compared to one across the road at the newer shoplots which cost a bomb)

Hartamas is, as most people already know by now, a popular hang out for Korean expats, so the Korean restaurants here should be decent, and we do not need to go all the way to Ampang's Korean colony, yay! :)

Hubby and I love Korean barbecue; what you see here are the Pork Ribs and Beef Ribs which we shared among the 2 of us ....

The marinated beef ribs close up in the barbecue pit.

The marinated pork ribs in the barbecue pit, surrounded by all the side dishes.
Take note of the complementary sizzling corn in cream and the steaming claypot egg dish.

The ultimate favorite: blessed kimchi *aaahhh*

Here's the contact for the restaurant: 2300 1107

Once upon a time, I shied away from Korean restaurants, unless I was part of a big group and somebody knew what to order and how! Anyway back then there were not many Korean restaurants and even so they tend to cater to Koreans so everything was in Korean and they spoke little English. Unlike Japanese food in Malaysia where they expect a local majority. Anyway, after numerous trial and error and adventures to several Korean eateries, plus hubby's actual experience in Seoul, we finally have some idea how this works, and we're happy to share the how-to @ a Korean restaurant with you so you too can be an expert when you step into any Korean restaurant and savor the delightful Korean gastronomical experience! :) Here goes ...

  • Their menu is unusual; unlike the systematic arrangement of starters, soup, salads, poultry, mains etc that we are accustomed to, the Korean menu is different. They start off with the 'happening' dishes like the barbecue meat (they show you photos of raw meat) and Bulgogi (a gravy dish cooked on the spot) and other exciting mains.
  • The cool thing is they usually have good pictures for each and every item, which helps.
  • All items are ala carte unless otherwise stated, so if there are 2 of you, order 2 items; it could be one barbecue and one something else, or in our case; it will be both barbecue!
  • You might be tempted to order more, like soup, vegetables, pancake etc as appetizer, but do not do that if there are only 2 of you. Why? This is because they will bring out something like 10 side dishes for you (or more), and those are 'complimentary' or part of the usual Korean dining style. So do not embarrass yourself by exclaiming "Eh, we did not order this! Take it back!"
  • The assortment of the side dishes tend to change, they are different this week to the next, except for kimchi which remains a staple. Some of the nice stuff I like are; quail eggs, cockles, squid, ikan bilis and spinach. They are mainly vegetables, with some seafood.
  • In our experience, 2 restaurants serves extra yummy items in addition to the customary side dishes; Jewel In The Palace in Section 14 and this place, Korea House; I don't think these items are on the menu hence no 'name' for them so I shall call them sizzling corn in cream and the steaming claypot egg dish. (see pix above) Now you know what I mean by not over-ordering! They are full of surprises. But not all Korean restaurant practice this.
  • You can top up the items you see on the little side dishes. And if there is something you do not like on the little side dish, you may return it and ask them to replace it with Kimchi or something else, so this way you won't waste food!
  • Rice is ordered separately and cost around RM4 to RM5 per bowl, depending where, but their rice is delicious, almost like Japanese rice.
  • The raw lettuce are for you to wrap the barbecue meat. They also give you raw garlic, I usually wrap them together with the lettuce and meat but not too much.
  • I find Korean food more suited to dinner (early dinner) as the portions are quite huge, throw in the side dishes and then you will be stuffed.
  • If you have a large group of 4 and above, then by al means, order a few more dishes, I recommend the Kimchi pancake in Korea House and the Seafood Pancake in Jewel In The Palace, Section 14.
  • Some places have started serving 'sets', somewhat like the Japanese Bento sets, Section 14 is one of it, but only during lunch, now that makes it easier and lighter.
  • Pricing for an average meal would be below RM150 per couple. An a la carte beef or pork barbecue serving ranges from RM45 to RM65, a single chicken chicken would be cheaper, say RM30 max.
  • I have yet to come across a 'halal' Korean restaurant, unfortunately.

Well, that's the Shortcake pointers for the day! Hope it helps :) Have a great Korean feast!

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