Korean food is one cuisine I’m not all that familiar with. I can count my visits to Korean restaurants on one hand…one trip to Jang Mo Jib and three to Hanwoori. It’s an odd thing considering all the grilled meat and chili involved…two items at the top of my all-time favorites list. My second time at Hanwoori was for their deluxe dinner for six…a most memorable feast. I hope to do that again real soon!
My most recent visit was an impromptu blogger meet-up with Ben and Fmed.
Hanwoori is a most familiar location for me. Many years ago it was Joy’s, a venerable old diner that we frequented for breakfast. Although I really miss all those old coffee shops, I am more than happy to see them replaced with restos that serve up superior Asian fare.
The really cool part of Korean dining is the complimentary Banchan.
How can you not appreciate free, tasty & unlimited appetizers? Obviously, this concept needs to be incorporated into each and every cuisine. The Kimchi here is particularly delicious.
For today’s feast Fmed suggested we try some of the more unfamiliar menu items. First off, though, I thought we should try some Korean fried dumplings.
Yaki Mandu (Deep-fried Pork and Vegetable Dumpling). These were among the best fried-pocket-of-meat I’ve come across. A perfect light & crunchy exterior stuffed with a good amount of minced pork. The soy and sliced-chili dip served alongside was a tad salty. I’d much prefer a sweeter, more garlicky version.
Next up, the soup.
Gori Gomtang (Oxtail in Soup). This isn’t what I’d expected. Instead of a bland, milky broth, I figured on a deep, spicy beef stock. I can’t quite get my head around charging $12 for a weak soup with a load of bone and rubbery meat.
The soup was served with sea salt and scallions on the side.
These did flavor things up a bit but a whack of chili oil would of helped out a lot.
The highlight of the day was Rose Pyunchae (Smoked Raw Beef with Vegetables). Sixteen tender slices of nicely marbled raw beef, daikon, bell pepper, raw garlic, pea shoots and an herb I can’t for the life of me remember. After this was placed on the table, the three of us stared at it without a clue as to what to do. We called over our friendly server and she showed us. It turned out to be quite simple. Take a slice of beef and load on whatever you like…
…roll it up and dip in the vinegary soy. Eat. Smile.
Although pricey, damn delicious. Thirty bucks seems a tad exorbitant, no?
Aside from the under-seasoned soup, this was an interesting and unique meal. Judging it on price alone, I have to say, the value wasn’t there. The unlimited banchan helped a bit but, in the end, I expected more.