Several weeks ago, while working along Kingsway, by Metrotown, I noticed a new awning adorning Tai Won Chinese Restaurant. Always intrigued by new restaurant signage, I made a mental note to go check it out. Before I got a chance, Shokutsu from Foodosophy beat me to the punch. His well-written, in-depth post only intrigued me more.
Tai Won is located on a quite safe stretch of Kingsway in Burnaby. One must always be aware, however, of unsavory types lingering on the roadside looking for dining partners. This particular gentleman was especially persistent to the point that we invited him along for some lunch.
There is a fair bit of confusion about this establishment. The sign says “Chinese Restaurant”. However, once inside, you immediately can tell it’s a Korean-run spot. The staff are Korean as are all the menu items. Shokutsu cleared up some of the confusion on his post with this: “Its a Chinese-influenced restaurant however, but basically the niche genre of Chinese-Korean cuisine that’s available in Korea.”
Our server made a point of asking if we knew that they serve Korean-Chinese fare. Not knowing exactly what that meant, we all said, “Um, ok!”. Bring it on!
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.
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may have noticed that I enjoy soup. A lot. It is usually the first thing that springs to mind when lunch rolls around. With all the excellent variations to be had, I never seem to get tired of it. When I took a moment to think about which soup I’ve never gone and tried, I was shocked that I couldn’t remember ever going for Ramen! How could that be? As a lover of soup, I am deeply ashamed.
One nearby location for Ramen is Kenzo Japanese Noodle House. It’s another one of those places I’ve driven past hundreds of times and swore I’d eventually visit. Well, today’s the day! Please bear in mind that I’m a complete novice when it comes to this type of soup. The only thing I’ve got going for me is having had many, many great bowls of soup. It’s just that I’m unfamiliar with what an exceptional Ramen should taste like.
Another thing in my favour is knowledgeable friends who love their food. One such friend, whom I’ll refer to only as “The Gut”, told me Kenzo is a Korean-run establishment. To me, that means only one thing….spicy soup! Therefore, after perusing the oddly Egyptian-motifed menu, I knew there was only one choice…Kimchi Ramen.