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Category: Korean Page 2 of 4

Ta bom Korean Cuisine

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Photos of this restaurant and their signature dish have been coming up on the activity feeds of some prominent food bloggers, enough to have me planning a trip down myself.

But first parking and getting there. They are located in an area of Coquitlam that I am unfamiliar with. A stretch of block that has opposing traffic separated by a fence and sidewalk parking that you have to pull up and into at an angle. And then have to pull out of by reversing into oncoming traffic. This proved especially difficult with the snow on the asphalt, that hadn’t been shovel and was now a large mound of slippery ice. At least there wasn’t also the addition of a meter charge to have to contend with.

We came before 6pm and found the early bird dinner crowd wrapping up, and would only have to wait 10 minutes for us to begin our meal. They are often busy and don’t take reservations, so you run a risk of having to wait, if you choose to visit during peak dinnering days and times. Considering the need to wait, it would have been nice to have such an area, at the threshold of the restaurant, to do so in. But their square footage went into the dining room and the ability to give those sitting, ample elbow room and enough space in-between tables to offer the feeling of privacy. That and the select tables that came with wooden separators that functioned similar to cubicle walls.

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Here decorations were minimal. The far wall that separated the front of house from the back was painted brown and labelled “Ta Bom”. Below the protruding lettering you could make out the movement of those working the kitchen from their literal hole in the wall window. In celebration, an LED lit birch tree and some festive figurines showed unanimity for the season. Other than that, only restaurant adverts for their new dinner special and Korean ones for beverages graced the walls.

The menu was a heavy folder of laminated pages. Each item listed in English with its Korean name in alphabet and characters. There were lots of delicious sounding dishes to pause on and photos to steer you in the right direction. However we would focus on the first page, as we came for the visual nature of the hot plate and could not afford to be distracted given the amount of food that would come with it.

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The menu lists each “hot plate” option by serving. And with a minimum order of two you are basically doubling the listed price by two. So at $14 or $15 for each, you are paying $28 or $30 for the entire portion. And that price is if you don’t request any of the add-ons, which I suggest that you do.

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You choose your main protein. We went for the newest addition: “Stir fried spicy small octopus and pork” because it would give us a taste of two proteins for the price of $15 each person. Each “hot plate” already comes with rice cake mixed in to the main, and corn and egg as sides. For $5 dollars more you also get cheese, which ends up being the best part of the plate, in my opinion.

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A wooden pedestal gets brought over to the table first. It is meant to prop up the cast iron plate. There is the possibility to light it with a flame, but the option isn’t exercised. Instead it is used more like a trivet. With pot holders and a steady hand, an employee brings out your meal. Everything you have ordered it laid out in this specially designed dish. The meat at the centre is still sizzling, the cheese is happily bubbling, and the egg is turning from a clear liquid to an opaque solid. But you don’t get to eat just yet. Next the server pulls out a pair of scissors and tongs and begins cutting the meat at the centre of the dish down to size. This helps with a more even distribution of food between you and your dinner mate. It also makes it easier to dip things into the cheese troth. Although I suggest doing this first, as without an additional heat source the cheese is quick to congeal and harden to a waxy solid in the shape of the mould. Much like the egg which basically becomes an omelette, but is still a little runny at its centre. Although when it comes to cheese, crispy and oil cheese is still good cheese.

To see the described above in action, click the link.

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As for the main it is throughly coated in a sweet and salty sauce, a taste very familiar in most Asian cuisines. And perhaps repeated in our dishes here? My guest swears that our side of spicy chicken below, tasted similar, if not the same as our hot plate of octopus and pork. Lots of salt, and an overall sweetness. A one tone flavour that was given breaks thanks to the help of the sweet corn, salty cheese, and light egg.

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The complimentary dish of three familiar cold Korean sides helped as well. This came first and well before the hot plate. Potatoes, bean sprouts, and kimchi.

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But the bowl of rice we added on was ideal. Everything was so saucy that the rice was a great base to balance things out. Also I just like enjoying protein with carbs.

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As mentioned, we also had their “Mom’s pop chicken”. Spicy Korean style popcorn chicken with green onion and sesame seeds sprinkled overtop. When asked, our server recommended this as their most popular dish, next to their spicy soup. I found it and our hot plate above different. This had more heat to it. Crispy one biters with plenty of sticky sauce to colour it red.

The staff were incredibly attentive and polite. They wore black tee shirts with the restaurant’s thumbs up logo on the back to identify themselves. They stand at the ready to refill tea and clear plates. And when a table vacates, they swarm to bus and clean with great teamwork. This so that the next group in wait is able to be seated as soon as possible.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
This, I full heartedly recommend. Their one of a kind hot plates are worth the traffic ridden drive during rush hour for. This is an interactive and unique dining experience with some great Korean flavours. I would love to come back to try other plates and some of their impressive looking soups and noodles too. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

Ta Bom
C-1046 Austin Avenue, Coquitlam BC, V3K 3P3
778-355-1717
Ta Bom Korean Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Daeji Cutlet House

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One day to pay day and I was looking for something quick and easy for dinner. I have passed by a few of its other locations in and around Vancouver, five in total. Each with its trademark orange accents and mascot: a chubby orange piggy with more stout than face.

Inside, the cafe is orange and white, with each table ready for seating, set with their double sided menus. The menu is divided between cutlets, specialty cutlets, hamburger steak, rice, pork hocs, chicken, and sides. It is a visual list to guide you. I tend to steer away from pork as if it is slightly overcooked its dryness reminds me of chewing saw dust, and if it is undercooked it isn’t any better. So I was looking to see their take on the protein and hopefully enjoy some now. However, as a visual diner, each photographed option didn’t look like much, but at least they tasted a lot better.

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The restaurant is famous for fusion Korean style cutlets, made using only 100% vegetable oils. They celebrate their food as comforting with these cutlets and homemade hamburger patties taking centre stage. If pork isn’t for you, the also offer their cutlets in either chicken or fish. And if you are looking for something completely different they also have pork hocs (slices), fried chicken (nuggets), and even a vegetable curry on rice.

My guest wasn’t hungry enough for her own serving so we decided to go with one of their combos to share. With it you choose any of their cutlets or hamburger steak options, paying a $1 more for the mix and match possibility of the proteins with your sides. Two pieces of cutlet or hamburger steak with rice, salad and soup. Not mentioned is that you also get pickles and a macaroni salad. Your choice of soups is between a miso or a kimchi, given the cuisine we went with the latter.

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The bowl of kimchi soup was simply the preserved spicy vegetable soaking in a bowl of its own brewed juices. I didn’t prefer the wilted vegetable, but liked the neon red broth just fine. It reminded me of a spicy and tangy minestrone soup, with a fishy after taste.

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Normally regular entrees are $9.99 to $11.99, depending on your protein choices and their toppings. You pay minimum for the basic pork with gravy, $1 more for it with garlic or curry, $2 more to have it with cheese and kimchi, and $3 more if your cutlet is to be topped with cheese, shrimp, and jalapeños. With more fulsome toppings, the hamburger steaks were like burgers without the roll or bun. $10.99 for the basic, $1 more for cheese or pineapples.

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So at a $1 more to try two different menu items, it is a good deal. We took our server’s recommendation on the “Mushroom hamburger steak” and it ended up being my favourite of the plate. It reminded me of mom’s meatloaf with its home cooked and comforting quality. The seasoned beef patty was moist through and through, and made only more so with the thicker gravy coating it. The gravy wasn’t too salty, and tasty enough that you wouldn’t think twice about shovelling spoonfuls of it straight into your mouth, as I did. The mushrooms added some texture, and both it and the meat was best taken in conjunction with the steamed rice side.

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The pickles helped transition between the warm and savoury of the beef and gravy, to the light and tangy flavours of the “pizza pork cutlet”. Our server deemed this one the tastiest of the cutlets. With a heathy serving of onion, corn, peppers, marinara sauce, and cheese; I can see why. For additional flavour the serving sat in a pool of gravy which also paired well with the pork. The pork was crispy and well cooked. It was best eaten as is, like a pizza served over a cutlet instead of bread dough. They were giving us carb free versions of our favourite fast food flavours and they was just as good. Here the macaroni salad offered nice creamy breaks between saltier bites.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Not necessary the place I would recommend for destination dining, but when looking for a fast food meal that fills you up a bit more, and leaves you feeling a lot less guilty, this is what I would direct you to. Especially as it runs at the same price as a fast food burger combo with fries and a soft drink. This is a healthier and tastier choice, where you get more value for what you are asked to pay. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

DAEJI
4883 Kingsway, Burnaby BC, V5H 4T5
778-379-3088
daejifood.com
Dae Ji Cutlet House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Midam Cafe & Bistro

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Today we couldn’t just go to a restaurant, we had to travel across four cities, to only end up at a place I have already been to a handful of times. After attempting dinner at two other places, that proved to be a bust; I wasn’t willing to leave my meal to chance.

This is one of my favourite Korean restaurants. So when looking for a sure fire meal, I knew I was in safe hands here. What I have yet to figure out is the theme of the place and why it exists. For those who have been it is easily described as, “the one with the basketball theme”. You either get it or you don’t. We didn’t, but we liked the food just the same. I imagine the decor as part of the owner’s personal memorabilia collection. But either he ran out of showcase space at home, or his wife demanded that he find a new place for all his action figures and jerseys. Either way, they found their way here to be admired and appreciated, and expanded upon. To give you a taste: Kobe Bryant cut out greets you mid dribble at the door, spot lit Michael Jordan posters hung over the coffee bar, NBA branded showcases were home to high tops and ball caps, and we were seated under the net of a court regulated basketball hoop. Even the washrooms were themed. The divide between men’s and women’s was “NBA” and “WNBA”, with balls crowning the individual stall’s toilet, and posters and decals covering its walls.

Seeing as they seemed to be Michael Jordan fans, my guest wondered why there was no mention of the role he played in “Space Jam”? And he felt that given the decor, they were better dressed to offer stadium fare like hot dogs and hamburgers with fries, instead of shaved ice desserts, rice cakes, and hot and spicy soups. But if that was the case, we wouldn’t be here.

As is common with a Korean restaurants, calling for help is as easy as pushing a button. The red one at the edge of each table triggers a light above the kitchen to illuminate with your designated table number. Typically a free server will approach you to help or answer any of your queries. However, they seemed especially busy this Saturday night. We had arrived just before the dinner rush, and mid way, our steady meal with attentive server was quicken by abrupt communication and the increase waiting for dishes to trickle to us. The manger seemed apologetic as he rolled up his sleeves and helped the floor in his high tops. Although our female server seemed annoyed at all the questions we were asking her, surrounding the menu. It made sense given the big rush that entered all at once, and the lack of a hostess to greet and maintain the flow of traffic by the door. There was no one to set the pace and give the kitchen time to prepare in between seatings. With only tree bodies working the room, tables were also left un-bussed and eventually the people who were waiting at the door seemed annoyed that the staff we not able to seat them. It also didn’t help that a few patrons were lingering, and others left the restaurant to smoke, only to come back and reclaim their seats.

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But at least the menu was straightforward and inviting. We were able to order what we wanted visually, and knew exactly what we would be getting.

Our table was dressed with metal utensils and metal serve ware. We were equipped with a metal canister of water and our own metal cups to pour into. Metal spoons and chopsticks followed, and somehow the latter felt more sanitary then the lacquer chopsticks used elsewhere.

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We began with some of their specialty lattes. The “Black bean latte” turned grey from the inclusion of the milk. It was slightly salty, but mostly sweet. Like a red bean brewed drink with the added flavouring of black sesame. I wish my local coffee shop offered this, or that they were part of my commute, I could see myself order this daily, if either of the above came true. We had a similar appreciation for my guest’s hot beverage choice below.

His “Purple sweet potato latte” took longer to come. When we inquired about the pause, we were formed that this was prepared in the kitchen, with the boiling of the yam, and then purée-ing it for the drink. Like the black bean it was a lighter purple with the addition of milk. It tasted a lot like the hot version of taro bubble tea, equally starchy, but a lot smoother. There were no lumps, and what you had was like drinking velvet. Though given both latte’s beauty in flavour, we wished for some latte art to finish them off with. Especially given how everything else they served was so ornate.

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It was a colder evening and I wanted the warmth of some hot soup. The “Spicy seafood hot pot”, served in a cast iron, single serve bowl was the ticket. It was a bold orange broth covering a collection of mussel, squid, scallop, shrimp, and tofu; and a soft boiled egg with runny yolk. The soup was plenty flavourful and spicier than we thought. By comparison, the boiled ingredients settled at the bottom was bland and on the tougher side. A side dish of hoisin sauce or a garlic based dip would have been ideal and helpful to rejuvenate it. But the bowl of rice and chilled vegetables made available were appreciated. Although, given that the soup was already spicy, more heat in the sides didn’t exactly help to change the flavour of the dish. Though the pickled tang of the cucumbers were a nice refreshing touch. The purple rice was a nice visual, but I found its kernels hard, and would have opted for a nice bowl of tender white steamed rice instead.

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My guest literally ordered the exact same meal and drink combination, as I did during my first dinner service with them. The “marinated beef rib patty wrapped in rice cake bento box” was exactly as I remembered it to be over six months ago. It was a unique dish, I have never heard of rice cake being stuffed with beef or anything else, anywhere else, it was an interesting combination that just worked. The salty garlic sauce just tied the hamburger meat, cabbage, rice cake, and purple rice together. The chewy and gummy texture of the rice cake had an opposites attract relationship with the gritty minced texture of the dry beef. The meat was on the chalkier side, but the pool of sweet and tangy sauce at the bottom was helpful in improving this. The box set was served with a green side salad, and the same side of cucumbers in a light vinaigrette, spicy jalapeños, and purple rice; that my combo above came with. Though during my first taste of this dish a spoon of kimchi and a bowl of miso soup was also included. Each side acted as a great break in between bites, to keep the meal interesting. This was a combo that grew on you the more you ate from it.

In hindsight, I wish I allowed my guest to tap into his Italian side, in order to have the “Rice cake pasta with a tomato meat sauce”. He was curious of this dish, that I wouldn’t otherwise think of trying myself.

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But he did stay true to his childhood with the “banana split” for dessert. It was just a regular banana split, but green tea ice cream instead of strawberry, with the scoops of chocolate and vanilla. And it had the inclusion of rice cakes, along with the banana, strawberries slices, blueberries, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce. It tasted exactly like how we expected it to be. It was good and he enjoyed it, where I couldn’t help but question his choice given the authenticity of this Korean restaurant, and the ability to order rice cake desserts, that they specialized in.

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That is why I went for the “Red bean fondue with three kinds of rice cake”. This took a while to come. The red bean was a hot dip, with a few lumps from the whole beans left in tack. I found it too sweet, and the rice cake better on their own. Especially as they were already flavoured in powder: green tea, black sesame, and roasted grain powder (which tasted a bit like ginger). My guest loves red bean, so ended up pouring the rest over his sundae like an additional topping.

Had we had more room I would have also liked to try the “Grilled ricecake with cheese”. The photo in the menu showed a cheddar and parmesan mix, topping a white sheet of rice cake. But based on our server’s facial expression, this might have been a good one to miss. My guest thought it sounded gross, I considered it more like Korean crazy bread (“crazy bread” is the Parmesan cheese covered bread sticks from “Little Caesar’s” pizza that is best when dipped into ranch dressing)

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I love rice cake, and with some many more rice cake inspired dishes to try, I can definitely see myself returning here for another guaranteed good meal. Definitely one of my favourite Korean restaurants to recommend and go to. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

MIDAM
4501 North Road, Burnaby BC, V3N 4R7
604-568-5357
Midam Cafe & Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Snowy Village Dessert Cafe

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We came for the best shaved ice my guest has ever had. This is high praise considering she is so well travelled, and has spent a big chunk of her time in Asia, including Korea. Korea where such desserts are common and where this style of ice preparation originated. She found that they had perfected the craft at “Snowy Village, in multi cultural Canada. A fact she thought pretty amazing.

Walking up and looking at the line, I was discouraged and wanted to walk away. But my guest’s knew the value of the 30 minute plus wait and urged me to stay. We arrived after 10pm, and they had already cut the line, stating they couldn’t seat and make more icy desserts before midnight when they closed. But my guest had called in earlier and even though they don’t do reservations, she held the clerk to her word. Over the phone they stated that if she came now she would make the last seating. We were the last ones sat while others walked back to their car, in disappointment.

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It was cold, it was late, yet people were still coming. It’s later hours of operation made them a great after dinner spot to linger at, and everyone seemed to know this already. It was busy close to 10pm on a weekday. There were bodies standing around the tables inside, and more groups loitering in wait outside. With all the people and all the bright lights, this one was hard to miss. You came close just to see what all the hub-bub was about. The logo was pretty telling: a round dome in a cup, with a cherry on top.

This wasn’t just your beach side shaved ice or a packed ice, snow cone. They called their desserts “bingsoo”, which is “milk + snow flakes”. The flavour was in the ice and not just an add on, squeezed in flavour. Frozen condense milk-like cream is frozen, then saved from a block, and served for a fluffy powder-like texture. Regular shaved ice is more coarse, it has no taste, and are essentially just chunks of ice. This was so fluffy that it was like eating a fist full of freshly fallen snow. There is nothing else like it in the city. It was easy and enjoyable to eat, as it just melts as soon as it hits the warmth of your tongue. Finishing a cup, it left you feeling full without that guilty dessert weight in your belly. Especially if you got one with fresh fruit on it, instead of cookies or cake.

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There were so many choices to go through, narrowing it down would be tough. Though it did helped that they had visuals to make it easier. Behind their glass showcase were display versions of all their offerings in their largest size. They were impressive plastic.

Their “bingsoo”menu was divided between “snow ice” and “fruit”. Some came in both regular and large sizes, and other just one of the two. The “snow ice” flavours were basically everything they offered that wasn’t fruit. Oreo, milk, cheesecake, green tea, chocolate; and Injeolmi, a type of Korean rice cake. For fruit they had mango, blueberry, strawberry, and a large shareable option with a whole bunch of assorted fruits.

My guest had been several time and have tried several of them. So for my sake we decided to order their best sellers. There is no easy way to eat these while standing or taking one to go. The cup it is in, is often stick-to-your- skin cold and coated with sticky syrup. So therefore you can only order once you have a table. You do this at the counter, paying before. We were warned that there would be a 15 minute plus wait after ordering. We had come this far, we would be able to wait some more, but this time sitting down at a table. For those who couldn’t wait, they do offer a take out version of their treats. A pouch filled with ice keeps it from melting, until you reach your intended location. My guest has done this a few times. She testifies that they travel well, and are worth the effort. The ice pack does well to keep the dessert cold, and other that the top layer not being as fluffy, you get the taste you expect.

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We were able to move seats from the window bar to a table against the wall, once they began to clear. I wouldn’t have liked the one by the open door with the cold breeze nipping at you as you ate ice, and the other that had waiting patrons standing around you like a wall of crotches and bottom at the height of your head. In comparison the table we got were set very close to other, but in retrospect not so bad.

There was not much in terms of decor. A couple snowflake shaped light fixtures graced the ceiling, to keep the theme. A string of photos zig zagged along the otherwise empty wall, to advertise their product. Each frame was filled with a photo of one of their different “bingsoo”. Matcha Green tables and matching upholstered chairs.

The counter you ordered at was built with bleached wooden planks. On it was their name in Korean characters, and above it laminated sheets explaining their concept. What was “bing-su”? Why should you be having it at “snowy village”? What did they have on their menu? And even an explanation of their brand identity. If this and the visual showcase wasn’t enough menu for you, they also had everything written with its pricing hanging above.

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The “mango bingsoo” was cubes of mango, glued onto a mountain of ice with condense milk as an adhesive, then topped with fresh whipped cream. This and all the other bingsoo were prepared in the back, possibly hiding their method for proprietary reasons? Even with the amount of sweetened milk used, it could not balance out the tartness of the mango. Great for those without a sweet tooth, bad for me because I was expecting super sweet tender chunks of mango.

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The “Injeolmi bingsoo” was their original flavour. Once again, “Injeolmi” is a type of Korean rice cake. It is typically shaped into small pieces and then covered with steamed dried beans, grounded into a fine powder. These chewy rice cakes went great with the gritty red bean paste, the crunchy almond slivers, and the airy snow. This was more of an encompassing texture profile, you got a little of everything. As for taste it was still on the sweeter side, but more modestly so.

They also did other desserts like parfaits with fresh fruit and creams, rectangular cakes, and fish shaped pastry filled with red bean. All this was also demonstrated in plastic behind glass. So in order to kill some time waiting for our main, we decided on some warm dessert appetizers.

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These were their “croissant taiyaki”. Given their name for the nature of their flaky pastry, similar to a croissant; and the image of a fish used. “Taiyaki” literally means sea bream. The original version of this is simply called “Taiyaki”, it is a Japanese fish-shaped cake, with a spongy texture and often a red bean filling.

These crunchy, sugar coated pastries were made to order, and done so right in front of your very eyes. The chef places the dough within his cast iron moulds, depending on your desired flavour. Each press can churn out five fish cakes at a time, they had three presses. He squishes the dough and allows it to bake between the two sides of the greased up press. It is cooked to a golden brown.

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The first and only other time I have had these was in Japan. Though they looked and tasted the same here, with similar fillings and some different ones. There was no corn and tuna, big Nutella was an option. We went for sweet potato, custard, and Korean rice cake with red bean filling. 3 for $10.

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The flavour of the sweet potato one was muted, you basically identified it through its pasty filling.

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I liked the custard one the most. A luscious filling that reminded me of a boston cream doughnut, but with the shell of a crispy strudel. Absolutely delicious. I could go for three of them right now as I write this.

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The korean rice cake and red bean filling one tasted like the sweetness of red bean with the chewy gum-like texture of rice cake,

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
This is a popular dessert in Korea, and the only place you can have it in the lower mainland. Therefore, it is no wonder why they are always so busy and you often walk up to a line. But if you have the time, don’t be scared by the wait, it is worth it for a one of a kind experience. Fluffy powder-like ice, flavoured with fruit, condense milk, and whatever you have chosen to customize your ice mountain with. And while you are waiting, stave your hunger by snacking on a few of their fish shaped pastries, which are as unique as their sweet snow. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

SNOWY VILLAGE
8571 Alexandra Drive, Richmond BC, V6X 1C3
778-681-7832
https://m.facebook.com/snowyvillagevan
Snowy Village Dessert Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yogi Korean Snack Bar

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This wasn’t our intended location, however it did not disappoint. We were looking for authentic Korean and started in the direction of Coquitlam, but after an addition to our group, our travel turned towards the Korean district downtown. This one was recommend to our host.

My intention was to enjoy a delicious and authentic Korean meal with my guest, who was Korean in ethnicity. I wanted the experience of her background, and the strength of her memories growing up with the cuisine, in my post. And it began right away with the pronunciation of the food. Korean dishes I have always ordered and thought I was saying right, came out much differently from her mouth. I even took a pause to ask if the language was really this “cute” or was she just saying dishes like “potato noodles” and “pork sausages” in a more adorable way. The Korean language is cute.

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This was a quick snack shop and as such it was a small space doling out fast food at decent prices. It was cute with an organic design, like a spring cottage home. To your right was a community cork board advertising Korean events, Korean businesses, and help for Koreans aboard to learn English. This was a good sign towards authenticity, like the number of Koreans dining in and non Koreans taking-out while we were in.

The opposite wall is one of brick with wood paneling, framed by stone columns. It is painted in a pale yellow, and decorated with random yet somewhat practical accessories. Like the mirrored and little owl coat hooks, and the half cupboard, half shelf combo with tin doors and tiny hooks. On these hooks hung potpourri in decorative satchels. To the left was a space filling mirror and the restaurant’s name in tin block letters. There was also a string tethered to the wall by push pins. On it, with the aid of tiny clothes pegs, hung photos of their new menu items: takoyaki and a Mocchi dessert. Literally labeled as “NEW”.

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The counter was set behind glass, separated from their dining area. A row of Korean originated chips and wrapped snacks, and North American pop cans were on display in a line. There was also a heated unit kept empty. It was without its advertised savoury takoyaki and sweet fish cakes, pre-made and ready to go.

Their menu is up in lights above the counter. It is an easy option, as many patrons take their meals to go. The screen of coloured photos help to entice you, and have your considering your choices. However, dining in, we were given seats and a black and white written menu to order off of. I found this hard to navigate by comparison. Although the boxing of each item to show differentiation and the description of each, was helpful. None-the-less I was grateful to have our Korean host today. We didn’t even need to worry about deciphering the menu, she was more than happy to order for the three. A few tapas like dishes to share.

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Our meal began with a bowl of soup made from a light fish broth. It was rich and full of flavour. Similar to miso soup but lighter and drier in tone. This isn’t the type of soup to have with anything else, you enjoy it as. I have never had soup made with such depth.

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“Tteok bbok-i” is stir fried rice cake with fish cake and cabbage; in their house made special spicy sauce. This was their “cup size”, so I suspect their “regular size” was more an entree-sized portion. I love the chewy texture of rice cake, it is more fun to eat it than it is to taste. That’s why it is typically coated in thick sauces such as this. It is like the Korean equivalent of Italian pasta, Chinese noodles, and/or Japanese rice. The sauce is what gives it flavour, in this case a light and zesty back of your throat burn. Our Korean host compared this burn to spicy Chinese food, in contrast. Where Chinese spicy dishes have a strong initial savoury burn, but quickly dies out. The spiciness of Korean food is sweet with no initial burn; but instead, a slow lead up to something that lasts. As proven by the running of our noses.

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“Goon man-doo”, deep fried pork dumplings, Korean style. Just like regular gyoza, but battered and deep fried to a flaky crisp. A new twist on the classic meat dumpling with a vinegar based dipping sauce.

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“Kim bab” is Korean style hand rolls. They reminded me of a cross between sushi and a burrito in form and size. Seaweed wrapped rice stuffed with vegetable, eggs, and your choice of protein.

We went with the “Tuna mayo Kim bab” and the “Bulgogi (beef) Kim bab”. They came in a plate together in alternating rows. Our server pointed out each variety, less there was any confusion. Our host spoke of how it was an easy dish to make, but the multiple step preparation took time. Each ingredient was either cooked, fried, baked, boiled, or blanched; before they were rolled together and sprinkled over with sesame seeds. Although she noted that these here were missing the typical fish cake, and that they were not as greasy as the other rolls she has had coated in sesame oil. It was fresh, but lacked flavour. It needed a sweet and savoury sauce to dip in to, like hoisin or unagi on sushi. The excess spicy sauce of the rice cake dish helped in the flavour department. This ended up being our palette refresher. A helpful break in between all our other spicy dishes.

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The “bi-bim-bab” is Korea’s most popular and traditional rice bowl. It is a mix with vegetables and a fried egg on top. This one came with a side of sauce and another of kimchi seasoned pickles. When the dish was served it wasn’t stirred for us and we weren’t told how to handle it. Once again, luckily, we came with a more than adequate guide. Our host took the reins of this and began sheering the egg with spoon and fork. She stirred the layered ingredients together, before mixing in the side of sauce that turned the whole lot an orangey-red hue. Carrots, beansprouts, green leaves, yellow pickles, and mushrooms made up this vegetarian version. Like the rolls, this too had ingredients prepared separately and added together to become something great.

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It tasted good, but both our host and I missed and preferred the stone bowl version of this. The same rice and toppings, but instead of the glass bowl, all this would be gathered in one made of stone. This stone bowl is heated so that the rice continues to cook within it, earning it a nice crispy texture.

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We ended our meal on the “Sweet fish Mocchi cake” with red bean filling. Both our host and myself have tried the above with its regular cakey batter shell, so was curious to try this twist with Mocchi instead. It came warmed so that the Mocchi was chewy with a crispy coating. Inside the red bean filling was creamy. I don’t typically like red bean for its grainy texture, but did love it’s sweet taste and smooth texture here. Our other guest, trying this for the first time, stated that she didn’t realize these was even beans used in this application. Mocchi and red bean are terrific together, I just needed some green tea ice cream and/or black sesame to complete this taste profile.

I asked, and they told me they didn’t make these in house, but instead brought it to offer for dessert. I wished I asked from where, so that I could get some for myself, to have at home whenever I wanted.

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As a nice little bonus, we were given complementary bottles of a milky yogurt drink. It was tart and not as creamy as you would imagine a milk based drink to be. It was a nice watery palette cleanser to end our meal on.

My guest raved about the service. How the clerk was so attentive. She literally took our needs into her own hands. She took an empty cup from the hand of my guest, and asked if she wanted more tea. The server then refilled it promptly and placed the cup right back in her gripped hand, just as how it had been when she originally took it.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
This was a terrific option for quick and cheap eats. Their revolving door of customers spoke to this. Great food that came out quick, and was delicious. And best of all, our Korean host claimed she was most happy to get out of there not smelling like a Korean restaurant. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

YOGI
1706 Robson Street, Vancouver BC, V6G 2J7
604-681-4174
yogikorean.ca
Yogi Snack Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Midam

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I have visited once before for dessert, and having loved their sweet rice cakes, wanted to return for a full meal. This time around, I was most curious to explore their savoury rice cakes.

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I most iconically remember this as the Korean restaurant with a basketball theme. Restaurant with themes are common, I just didn’t see the connection between theirs and the cuisine. It was a very unique theme that didn’t exactly match the furniture or the Korean pop-love songs playing over head. It was like the owner had all this stuff and ran out of space in his own house so decided to “store” it here. It at least made for some great writing material and conversation notes. And they were at least consistent with it throughout the entire restaurant. Two full sized regular basketball nets, two full rows of ball caps with various team logos, collectable action figures in show cases, signed jerseys, and neon coloured high tops. They even paid homage to the departed Vancouver Grizzlies with a snazzy wall decal.

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It was great for fans of Kobe Bryant, as you were greeted by his life size cut out at the entrance, while waiting to be seated. He came with his own standing showcase of Lakers merchandise, including a mini shrine and head phones in purple and yellow.

But the owner must be a huge Michael Jordan fan. Number 23’s likeness and brand graced every wall. His face could be seen stimuli get in abstract paintings, serious in life-like portraits, and accurate in action figures. There was also plenty of signed memorabilia and unworn “Jordan’s” shoes.

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This love to “be like mike” even carried in to the washroom. The men’s stall was marked with “NBA” and the women’s “WNBA”. The former was a shrine to Michael Jordan with commemorative game ball mounted on to the toilet’s tank, posters of Jordan facing the can, and a Chicago Bulls light switch decal and logo sticker on the toilet’s seat cover.

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I didn’t realize there was a difference between the men and women’s single stall washroom and used the men’s by mistake. Only to later pass by the women’s and note the less enthusiastic decoration of the stall. No women basketball super star shrine, no WNBA team memorabilia. Just a basketball on top of the toilet tank and a blown up photo of a little girl holding a basketball, like wall paper.

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The lone young man serving the diners even dressed to match the theme. Working the room in his own ball cap and high top sneakers. He was incredibly attentive, checking in on us often, with or without us signalling our need for service and help. A few secluded tables included a red call button, like ours. Which was great considering that the restaurant was set up with cubicle walls. It created some privacy, but left us without a view of the rest for the restaurant.

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Chilled water was served in metal carafe dripping with condensation. The hot tea came in a thermos to keep warm and to pour yourself. It all matched the metal dishware with metal utensils we were given.

The menu came with plenty of photos making it easy to order off of, especially if you are unfamiliar with the cuisine. I steered towards the regular Korean classics, but redirected myself to their specialties that included ricecake.

They had some interesting drinks, including herbal bitter teas. Like the “Jujube and yungji mushroom tea” that has been boiled for hours. It is believed to cleanse impure elements in the body and helps to improve the constitution. When I inquired about it with our server, he was honest in telling me that it was bitter and that we won’t enjoy it. He said it was for “old people”.

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I turned my attention to the “Purple sweet potato latte”. When I asked about this one he was again honest. He has never tried it, but voched that others have and have liked it. I was disappointed by the colour and the lack of milk art. I wished it a deeper purple like the concentrated hue at the bottom of the cup. It was a smooth drink, despite the occasional fibre filtered between my teeth. You definitely got the yam flavour in a nice mild and milky tone.

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My guest came recently and recommend the “marinated beef rib patty wrapped in rice cake bento box”, that she had previously. She thought it was very unique considering it was a beef stuffed ricecake. That was the selling point for me too. It was an interesting combination that just worked. The salty garlic sauce just tied the meat, cabbage, rice cake, and purple rice together in a way I can’t explain. Even the chewy gummy texture of the rice cake and the gritty minced texture of the beef went together. It was just a little dry, but the sauce was helpful. The box was served with a green side salad, cucumbers in a light vinaigrette, spicy kimchi, purple rice, and a bowl of miso soup. Each side acted as a great break in between bites, to keep the meal interesting. The salad was lightly dressed for some taste. The miso was over salty. And the kimchi added some spice. All together it grew on you the more you ate from I.

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My guest went for the “Spicy rice cake soup”. A bright red broth with bean thread noodles, rope-like vegetable, egg, ricecake slices, seaweed, and green onion. It was as spicy as she wanted, but was still missing some vegetables or tofu to balance out all the starch and chew. Though mid way through the portion, it got so hot that my guest had to eat her spicy noodles with the bowl of rice it came with. I watched her exhaling heavily from the heat and being content with what she felt on her tongue. She said it was flavourful with a good amount of spice.

There were so many delicious rice cake desserts to choose from, luckily my guest’s dietary restrictions narrowed our choices down. They had rice cake over shaved ice, rice cake in an ice cream parfait, grilled rice cake, fried rice cake, and even rice cake in cinnamon and sugar mimicking a churro with a side of ice cream. We did order the latter, but they must have forgotten, because it took so long to come that we ended up cancelling it.

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Though we were more than satisfied sharing the green “Ricecake made from glutinous brown rice and mugwort”. “Mugwort” is a common name for several species of aromatic plants, it is used medicinally and to flavour food like an herb. The rice cake was deep fried and coated with red bean flour and maple syrup. It was a light flavour accented with the syrup and powder. I enjoyed it most for its gummy texture. It was as fun to eat and tasted good. A mish-mash of flavours that just worked. Sweet syrup, crispy eggy batter, and sticky cake. I passed on the mashed and grainy red bean on top. It added unnecessary sweetness, and clashed with the thin syrup.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
My original review of the place holds true. I enjoyed my visit today as I did during my first. If anything, I was more excited for my next visit. I wanted to try more savoury and sweet ricecake dishes, as well as their take on classic Korean dishes. The desserts are unique and worth going through the list to try. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

MIDAM
4501 North Road, Burnaby BC, V3N 4R7
604-568-5357
Midam Cafe & Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

KYO Korean BBQ & Sushi House

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We were finally trying the all you can eat option at “Kyo”. And were delighted to not only have an extensive meat and vegetable list to cook on a grill, but a full menu of sushi and Japanese appetizers to choose from as well.

The restaurant was located on a second floor that required a walk up a steep flight of steps. Even though the entrance is just a door, it is eye catching. Enough to stop those passing by with its wood and glass finish, and it’s striking name in bold brush strokes.

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Inside, the restaurant is spacious, they sought to accommodate larger groups across different tables. Tables of four, six, and even twelve. One had imitation plants and fake foliage surrounding it. Another, was in an area with a vaulted ceiling; and hanging above were several large orbs wrapped in white ribbon that dangled down like jellyfish tentacles. Larger parties definitely took advantage of the space and were allowed to enjoy their time in loud jovial conversation. There was a 1.5 hour maximum stay policy, but they weren’t very strict with it, especially with around 30 tables or so available. We grabbed one of the tables for six that came with two coils to cook off of and to share from.

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You order off a sheet of paper. Fine print under various categories with the quantity of a serving in brackets. If you order the sashimi, it’s one piece; similarly was every serving of sushi. Though the speciality rolls came in slices of 8 and the teriyaki meats came as 4-5 pieces covered in sauce.

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We started aggressively on the meat options, ordering multiple orders of chicken, pork, and beef that came in pieces of five. Everything was seasoned similarly with only a notable difference between spicy and mild. It was good, but it would have been nice to have some dipping sauces to company it with. Especially as we weren’t the best at-your-table-grill chefs and ended up burning a few of our initial attempts. And as a result we saw the need for fork and knife, as pulling at hard food between chopstick and teeth is quite difficult. I then wished they were smaller cuts of meat, though that would only make them burn all the more quicker. We took turns cooking, gripping the tongs, flipping various cuts, and serving one another. Honey and garlic pork, black pepper beef short ribs, and spicy lamb were a few of the meats.

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The raw vegetables ironically came a little after. They took longer to cook up and therefore required more time on the grill. There they stayed until black with grill marks, whereas the meat was a quicker process for fear of overcooking. The corn was 1/3 of a cob, they came out sweet and crispy. The eggplant was soggy, the peppers crunchy, and the zucchini refreshing. They helped give us much needed breaks from all the meat we ordered.

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We also ordered seafood that came piece by piece. Prawn, squid, salmon, and mussels. We wished the prawns were shelled as they were hard to crack right off the grill, the squid was actually cuttlefish and still sandy, and the mussels didn’t cook right shell side up or down. The salmon was the best one on the grill and made the most sense. Though all in all we found the meat above more appetizing and when doing seconds avoided all the seafood section all together.

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There was also many cooked sides to choose from. The teriyaki chicken was a little on the sweeter side, it would have been nicer with some rice. The Korean japche noodles were bland alone, but best as another side to the barbecue meats.

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Under the “deep fried” section had “corn cakes” and “mochi”. The corn croquettes were both sweet and savoury, highlighting the natural sweetness of corn. We all agreed that this was our favourite and that we could eat 100 pieces of these. “Delightful” was the word that was tossed around.
The mochi was most enjoyable for its texture. A nice chew to go with that crispy first break into breading. Though all it all, it just tasted like you were eating empty carbs.

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The “Scallop kaarage” was over fried, you picked up more of the char flavour than the mild seafood one. And when you could taste it, the scallop tasted more like moulded fish, or something that started off frozen. We also looked for that distinctive soft and stringy scallop texture, but we never got it. It was like mash. Some tartar sauce would have been nice.
The “veggie spring roll” were average at best and oily at most, all I got was its crispy texture. It tasted like the filling was all bean sprouts. And as with the other deep fried items, this would have been better with a dip, in this case something sweet and sour, like the traditionally paired plum sauce.

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The “smelt” was fried end to end. The small fish was salty like anchovies, and just not for us.
The “deep fried gyoza” was listed under the “appetizer” section. It looked and tasted more like deep fried wontons with overly fried heavy and heavy edges. More like an oily cracker than a meat filled bundle. You couldn’t taste the filing or any thing past the wrapper.

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The regular gyoza was a lot better. It was nice to have it as expected, with its doughy wrapper covering it meat ball filling.
They had zucchini, carrot, and squash tempura. We stuck with the yam. This did come with a sauce, and in hind sight we cold have used it with the other deep fried foods above.

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They also had maki rolls, sashimi, cones, and nigiri by the piece which they labeled as “sushi”. But everyone knows you don’t fill up on rice and carbs when doing all you can eat. However I couldn’t pass up the ability to try their aburi sushi. “Aburi” is nigiri sushi with its fish topping partly grilled and partly left raw. This is often done so with a torch. “Aburi salmon with miso sauce”, “aburi tuna with miso sauce, “aburi Saba”, “aburi Thai with unagi sauce, and aburi hamachi”. They did not disappoint. For those like me, who like sushi, but don’t like the texture of sashimi, this is a way you get the best of both worlds with a tolerable texture. The sauce was like icing on the creamy fish.
The “chopped scallop” cone was regular and the spicy tuna underwhelming on its tiny single serving plate.

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For the dessert they had mango pudding and jello, both pre-made and both ready to be served in individual bowls. The mango pudding was full of sweet tropical mango flavour. Both it and the jello were great light and refreshing ends to finish on. The jello was cut into easy to handle squares, they had a good ratio of gelatine to water, that kept them firm. It could however have used a scoop of vanilla ice cream for that perfect bite. Similarly the mango pudding could have used a splash of evaporated milk for moisture.

As impressed as I was over the extensive menu, the staff had me less excited. There were enough of them to service the handful of tables that were occupied during our stay, and the work they were to perform didn’t involve conversation or much interaction. Yet we were often kept waiting. My guest wasn’t able to track down enough employees to take full advantage of the all you can drink fountain coke he order. Not that it was worth it, they called it coke but it must have been a no name make or flat, as it didn’t taste all that good, or like cola. Then during the first round, our cooked food order went missing with the need for them to make sure that we indeed didn’t get it. Though we didn’t understand what the big deal is, it is all you can eat, we can just order more. And when trying to get a new sheet to order of off, it was especially hard to gain attention. I could have sworn two separate staff members saw me, we met eyes, yet on both occasions they turned and walked away. I was even waving with both arms in the air. My five other guests can vouch for me that this was the perceived case. We then had a repeat with trying to get and pay off our bill. At one point we saw three staff members just congregating with their backs towards us, facing their hostess booth’s wall, with their visibility blocked off.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I will definitely come back because we didn’t get to try all of it. There was too much variety. I would suggest doing this one across two different settings. One time just for their barbecue aspect, the next for their sushi and Japanese appetizers. Both were good. All you can eat sushi and Korean BBQ for $30. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

KYO
2993 Granville Street, Vancouver BC, V6H 3J6
604-739-8868
kyobbq.com
Kyo Korean BBQ & Sushi House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kitchen Korea / Gourmet Korean

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Aberdeen centre’s food court snakes around and allows over 20 different stands to have their own dedicated space. Lots of effort was put into decorating each stall. Each had its name in bold, a menu with photos, and some even a display of items served utilizing accurately portrayed plastic food. Not surprisingly, most of the writing used was Chinese characters, but the coloured photos and the glossy fake food helped to bridge the language gap. I will be covering all 20 of the foodcourt dining options across several posts.

“Kitchen Korea” was unique in that it was the only Korean cuisine vendor in the mall. They had all your mainstream Korean classics and a cute little mascot to showcase them. “Bibimbap”, “Japche”, and kimchi. Though on the same token, it looked like they just set up shop. Their “new item” menu was left blank and their current list of offerings wasn’t as elongated like the other vendors. More established shops have used sticky notes and extra pieces of paper to advertise something new to their menu. Here their space was simple and clean.

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The “chicken bulgogi” was a mix of meats, some bites were lean, others fatty. But each had a spicy flavour and a harder texture. I would have liked a starch to eat with this.

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The “pork belly” by comparison was fatty and tender. Coated in brown sauce, it was slightly sweet. Unfortunately my experience suffered when I bit into a bone that I was not expecting.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
As the only vendor offering Korean food in the mall, it guarantees you will return to them if you have that specific craving. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

KITCHEN KOREA
Aberdeen Centre foodcourt
4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond BC, V6X 4J7
604-270-1234
aberdeencentre.com
Gourmet Korean Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

House of Tofu Soup

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Quite the name. This is a good case of not to judge a place by its exterior or the restaurant by its name. The name its not wholly descriptive and it is a lot nicer inside than out, especially given the presence of the large red dumpster right by the entry way. There is not much going on from the exterior, driving by you wouldn’t give this place a second look or another thought. A few parking stalls right out front, a shared space with the other small shoppes it calls neighbour. Yet all parking stalls were occupied, and even most of the additional complimentary parking in the underground was taken. We eventually found a stall then proceed to walk our way back up.

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Stepping inside the restaurant, the space is renewed. You can’t tell how spacious and nice it is from the outside. Grey walls paired with glossy waxed wooden furniture. The walls were dressed with menu options. Blown up photos of their most popular dishes: stone bibimbob, bulgoghi, tofu soup, Soo rah, and oh jing uh. Their names didn’t mean anything to me, but their photos all looked familiar.

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An effective and easy way to order, and thankfully the menu had similar photos as well. They helped us to place order, especially with the lack of description written. In general the menu was made without the need to read, the table of contest told a story in pictures. Animal head icons used to identify the different options: pig for pork, cow for beef, a shrimp & clam for seafood, and a lettuce leaf for kimchi. Vegetarian options were marked with a green leafy “V”. And a colour code was given to indicate degree of spicy heat. From a white not spicy, transitioning to a yellow mild, an orange hot, and two shades of red for the hot and extra hot.

The tables were set further apart, enough room to easily allow a cart to come whizzing past. As majority of their dishes are served hot in heavy stone dish ware, most still sizzling or bubbling; they needed an effective away to transport each order, and this was a good one. Server pushing carts in and out of the kitchen. Given how many servings were ordered and that it was their name sake, we should have ordered tofu soup, but it was so hot outside that I couldn’t stomach sweating inside out. Though from on top of our neighbour’s table, it looked like an impressive display that we missed out on. Stone pots, bowls, cauldrons, and plates. I was most intrigued to witness a fellow diner crack a raw egg into his bold red soup.

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As is the tradition with most Asian meals this one too came with several sides. The expected kimchi, marinated cook seaweed, a teaspoon sized scoop of mashed potatoes with a couple of peas, and a dish of pickled root vegetable. A sauce dish was also included, but we didn’t know its intended use, so left it alone until below.

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I ordered the “mamdeukee”, recognizing the oversized beef-a-roni like tubes for the chewy rice cakes that I like. I enjoy it for its texture. We went with the mild version and still found it a little spicy. The bonus was finding that the dish also came with “fried dumplings”, another appetizer. The meat filled dumplings were deep fried and coated in a sweet and tangy sticky sauce. It evened out the chilli sauce spice of the rice cakes.

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The “Seafood pancake” reminded me of onion pancakes offered at Taiwanese bubble tea place. It also looked like a pizza and was loaded with just as much toppings as one. Crispy fried dough made savoury with vegetable and shrimp, with an even ratio of dough to ingredients. Thick cuts of leek and cabbage and large chunks of shrimp were clearly visible. We ended up eating half of it without its dipping sauce. It came separately and earlier, and we didn’t know its intended purpose was to be paired with this dish. The waitress observed us eating the pancake as is, with the dish pushed aside; so redirected us accordingly. It was much better with the sauce. This ate like a meal, with us two struggling to finish it. Thankfully our third dish never got processed, as we were already very full. Otherwise it would be a negative note for the staff to not have remembered our request for “Japchae”. My trying to cancel it, revealed that it was never punched in to their system to be prepared. A fact I only realized when a wait too long had me wanting to cancel the dish.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I found everything we had good, but none of it worth revisiting as something you can only get from here. Our food was all very flavourful and all very salty, I needed so many glasses of water that the staff couldn’t keep up their filling with my drinking. I would like to return on a cold and rainy day to try their soup in stone bowls. It must be their name sake for a reason and there must be a good reason why so many Korean guests came here just for it. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

TOFU SOUP
4563 North Road #1, Burnaby BC, V3N 4J5
604-420-5254
Click to add a blog post for House of Tofu Soup on Zomato

Hanwoori Korean Restaurant

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Tonight this was our destination for some cook-it-yourself Korean BBQ. The restaurant was pretty regular inside and out. Designed for function there was not much to describe in terms of aesthetics. Even the Christmas lights with its pine trim was kept up all year long for practicality. You turn it on to celebrate, otherwise it stays off the rest of the year. 

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Seating was either on a spacious cushioned booth or within an individual room, like a cubicle with four walls and a sliding door. The latter, a perfect solution for any large and especially rowdy party. But only a few seats came equipped with a table top stove, a prerequisite for the barbecue process. After all, they have plenty of other Korean cuisine classics if you weren’t keen on cooking your own meal, or wearing the scent of barbecue on you all day. 

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The menu showcased the various barbecue combinations first. The success of each was dependant on the number in your party or the cuts of meat you desired. In general such places only offer finer cuts of meat, so you end up paying for what you get. We chose the smallest of such combinations suggested for 2-3 diners. “BBQ combination A” which included prime beef ribs, sliced beef, chicken, and spicy pork marinated in their house special bbq sauce. 

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Along with all the red meat came various cooked vegetarian sides, a common sight at most Korean restaurants and a perk for dining at them. A simple broth and a green salad with shredded lettuce. We also each got a bowl of rice, served in a metal container with a lid. It helped to balance out all the protein, and give the base for the food you craved.

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Julienne pickled daikon and bean sprouts with shredded carrot and cucumber. 

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Boiled potato in a sweet sauce and pickled assorted vegetable including cucumber and radish. 

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Spicy kimchi with pickled cabbage and steamed broccoli with a brown tangy sauce.

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The cooking is done with the electric heat source, built right into the table, a covered hole with the dials to control the temperature located on the side of the table. After ordering their barbecue selection the server sets things up for you. The lid is replaced with a metal coil. A protective ring is placed around it, to prevent you from sticking your hand too close and burning yourself. 

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The meat arrives sorted into lumps on the same large plate. The prime beef rib was served on the bone, with sharpened scissors our server cuts things down to size. Rectangular cuts she then places directly on to the coil, after first greasing it with the tiny cube of butter provided. The meat starts to sizzle, it cooks quick, a few flips and you are ready to eat. It smells delicious. Using the tongs provided you serve each other from grill to plate. The above process is repeated yourself for the rest of the remaining meat. If you weren’t sure how to do it all before, the demo from the server helps. Half the dining experience is grilling yourself and conversing with your guest as you do. Though it does get troublesome as you can’t fully immerse yourself in enjoying the actual dining part of dinner. You are force to watch the rack in case things burn. Dropping chopsticks for tongs, having the food before you cool down, all in order to have meat continuously coming off the grill in a timely manner. Taking turns on cooking helps. But better yet, come with someone who actually enjoys the activity portion of Korean BBQ, someone who doesn’t mind serving you. 

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The short ribs were my favourite. I usually save the best for last, and this was definitely the best cut out of the four as part of the “BBQ Combo A”. But seeing as the server placed it on the grill for us, there was no going back now. Each piece was juicy with just the right amount of tenderizing fat. 

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Chicken with button mushrooms. 

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Sliced beef. 

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Spicy marinated pork. 

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My guest was keen on this Korean delicacy. “Yukhwae”, shredded raw beef marinated in seasoned sesame oil. Given that it was essentially just raw beef I was paying for, I was glad that there was some thought put into its presentation, though they do shortly mix it all together at your table. And when they do it all looks a little less appetizing. We paid $22.95 for raw ground beef, raw garlic, raw turnip, and raw egg. If you think about it, you can get lean ground beef from superstore for $3.89, though I am sure it is no where near as fresh as the serving we were having now. I did think it a little weird, but as an indiscriminate food blogger I go with the flow and am willing to try almost anything. (For the record I can’t do snails, sea cucumber, and wilted or soggy leafy green vegetables.) The shredded turnip provided some texture, a crunch; and the Yuzu leaves gave it some spice, more than just a sesame flavouring. We imagined it sweet, but it wasn’t. It tasted like how you would expect it to. It is like how you imagine eating raw beef would be, texturally. I personally didn’t like it as I am a textural eater and I need crunch in my savoury. This was all mash. We did not finish it. Seeing as there was already an egg in the mix, my guest took the leftovers home to make hamburgers with.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
The activity was enjoyable and the seasonings on everything was good. If we didn’t like anything, we only had ourselves to blame, as we were the ones to do the actual cooking. The restaurant itself was not a stand out for me. Aside from the rooms it was all pretty standard and all available at many other like Korean restaurants, featuring the possibility for barbecue. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

HANWOORI
5740 Imperial Street, Burnaby BC, V5J 1G2
604-439-0815
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