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?

Thanks to Shokutsu at Foodosophy, I was able able to get the name of the complimentary dessert. Sikhye is a traditional sweet rice dessert with pine nuts. A nice, cool palate-cleanser.

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.

Hanwoori Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon


6 responses

  1. Hi Karl, Hey, really enjoy reading your blog. As an Asian food lover all I want to do is follow your recommendations around the city, happily whiling away the days partaking in my fave activity… enjoying the countless variations of Asian offerings.

    Now, however, I DID notice you waxing slightly poetic about the loss of the old Diners. Which brings me to my next point. My fave hangout in my little city of White Rock is an authentic 50’s Diner, much of it unchanged since the old days. Except for one thing.. the food there rocks! Admittedly it is NOT about subtle Asian taste textures and more about great brekkies and killer hand-made burgers with real milkshakes made from an original Mixmaster.

    Anyway, I told our friend Sherman about it, and he did a great write up on his Food Adventures blog, and I thought I’d pass a link along to you in case you ever wanted to check the place out. Here’s the FaceBook link (it’s also on Urbanspoon – (94% like it)
    Pop by, join up.. i think you’d like the place..


    May 2, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    • Karl

      Welcome, Rice! One thing I really like is a big burger combo and a shake. That and a good old-fashioned brekkie. If I’m ever in your hood I’ll definitely stop by for some that great diner fare!

      May 2, 2010 at 11:32 pm

  2. Ben

    Hi Karl:
    The beef is certainly the best of the lot. I would go back again for it often if not for the price. The Sikhye … I did not recall seeing that at all.

    May 2, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    • Karl

      Hi Ben, if we could just get four more hungry people together we could try the deluxe dinner for six! It would be $25 a head but twice as much food.

      May 2, 2010 at 11:29 pm

  3. Hi Karl, Cool.. yeah, every now and again, ya just gotta have a burger.. lol

    Meantime, I’ll await your next submission with notebook in hand… or is that … MacBook on lap??


    May 2, 2010 at 11:39 pm

  4. gastronomydomine

    Hey Karl…

    That herb is Shiso.

    I was thinking about the price of the Gori Gomtang….the big issue is the cost of the Oxtail. What used to be cheap meat is now astronomical in price. I bet they used $8 worth of Oxtail to make that bowl. It is always served bland too – hence the salt on the side.

    May 3, 2010 at 12:19 am

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