Tag Archives: korean

korean: mindong korean gourmet (明洞館)

date september 17, 2011

contact 1F, No. 4, Alley 5, Lane 107, Sec. 1, Fuxing S. Rd., Daan District, Taipei City/台北市大安區復興南路一段107巷5弄4號1F/02.2773.6949

hours 7 days a week 17:30-24:00

price 300NT-600NT

rating ♥♥♥ (4 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT (捷運忠孝復興站)

website http://www.mindong.com.tw/ (Chinese and Korean Only)

For Michael’s going away dinner he decided on Mindong Korean Gourmet since last time we tried to go we couldn’t get a reservation.

I called on Wednesday night to make a reservation for 7pm on Saturday night for six. They said they were booked, but could get us in at 7:30pm. Needless to say, reservations are kind of a must for Mindong on the weekend, so be warned.

Mindong is only a few minute walk from the Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station (忠孝復興) exit 5. The restaurant called me a few times just before 7:30pm to make sure we’d be there on time. I was about 10 minutes late, but two of my friends had gotten there on time and were told that they had to wait for the rest of our party to get there before they could get seated. Once I got there we were immediately seated; I think just the majority of your party just has to be there.

The menu at Mindong is in Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and English, although the English may not be very helpful unless you are familiar with Korean food names, as they are mostly just transliterations of the Korean. For those unfamiliar with Korean food names you’re in luck because every item on the menu is accompanied by a picture.

Between four of us we decided to order a few things to share:
– Small Soon Doo Boo Jigae (小豆腐火鍋) 450NT
– Small So Gee Set Kul aka Assorted BBQ (小燒烤總匯) 650NT
– San Dong Shaw G aka Shandong Chicken (山東燒雞) 280NT
– Dog Bog aka Rice Cakes (炒年糕) 260NT
– Peach Soju (真露(水蜜桃)) 350NT

First thing to come out was the banchan (side dishes). At first we weren’t sure if the meal came with the banchan or if we had to order it because we saw it on the menu for 50NT. I think that it comes with the meal, but if not, it’s only 50NT. The weirdest thing about the banchan was that we didn’t get any cabbage kimchi…this is literally the first time in my life that I’ve gone to a Korean restaurant and not gotten any cabbage kimchi. Anyways, none of the banchan was particularly outstanding or memorable; it was all pretty average.  We ended up getting seaweed, fish cakes, bean sprouts, potato salad, peanuts, some green vegetable, something else I didn’t get to try, pickled radish, and kimchi onions. My favorite was the kimchi onions. It had a good vinegar, sweet, and salty combination although it could have used more spice.

We asked the waiter which of the starters he recommended. He recommended the hae mul pa jun aka seafood pancake (海鮮煎餅) for 280NT, dog bog aka rice cakes (炒年糕) for 260NT, and san dong shaw g aka Shandong chicken (山東燒雞) for 280NT. Mike decided on the san dong shaw g aka Shandong chicken. I thought this was pretty tasty. The chicken was really tender and had great flavor. The sauce was a tasty sweet vinegar and garlic mixture. I really liked the cucumber in it because it kind of soaked up the sauce. I would get this again.

The So Gee Set Kul aka Assorted BBQ (小燒烤總匯) comes in either a small or large portion. We asked the waiter what size we should get since we were going to split it between the four of us and get other things as well. The waiter suggested the small portion for 650NT and I think it was a good suggestion. While there isn’t a lot of meat, it’s a good portion if you’re planning on getting other things. I thought all of the meat was pretty good. I kind of wish we would have gotten some galbi or bulgogi, something marinated, but these cuts of beef were pretty good, too. Each of us were able to have one slice of each cut and all was pretty tender, just don’t over grill it. It also came with lettuce, shiso leaves, garlic, and peppers to wrap the meat in.

We also got the soon doo boo jigae (豆腐火鍋). Like the bbq meat this also comes in two portions. Again, on the recommendation of the waiter we went with the small for 450NT. I wasn’t that impressed with this sundubu. I thought the soup itself was not as flavorful as other sundubus I’ve had. Mike and I both agreed that the sundubu at Gyeongju Korean Restaurant was better. When you order the sundubu you can choose how spicy you want it (1-3, 3 being the spiciest). We went with 1 since some of our party can’t handle too much spice. Maybe with more spice this would have been better, but as it was I just felt like the soup lacked depth, not enough seafood flavor or something. Regardless I thought this was still good, just not great.

Since Will was late and we had started without him, we decided to add another dish so Will could get a little more to eat. We went with the dog bog aka rice cakes aka tteokbokki (炒年糕) for 260NT. I’ve never seen tteokbokki aka rice cakes translated at dog bog, but that’s what it is on the menu at Mindong. I thought their rice cakes were pretty tasty. The sauce was pretty standard. I thought the rice cakes were cooked pretty perfectly: nice and chewy, very “qq”.

To end the meal there is a freezer of self-serve ice cream. I went with the mint chocolate chip, but there were 5 or so other flavors as well.

We also ordered a small jug of peach soju (真露(水蜜桃)) for 350NT. They have about 5 flavored sojus on the menu so we asked the waiter which he thought was the best and he suggested lemon or peach. We decided on peach. Generally I don’t like soju. I feel like for as low as the alcohol content is it tastes pretty terrible. This peach soju was okay, but I wouldn’t want to get it again. Maybe if you like soju you’d like this, but for me this was a miss.

Overall, I thought Mindong was pretty good. There were a lot of other things on the menu that I’d like to try, so hopefully I’ll come back to Mindong to try them. I noticed that Mindong has a second location located at No.40-2, Lane 223, Sec. 4, Zhongxiao E. Rd., Daan District, Taipei (台北市大安區忠孝東路四段223巷40號之2). Maybe I’ll try that location, too.

korean: gyeongju korean restaurant (慶州館)

date august 24, 2011

contact No. 62-2, Fuxing N. Rd., Songshan District, Taipei City/台北市中山區復興北路62號1樓之2/02.2776.9928/02.2781.4931

hours 7 days a week [lunch] 11:00-14:00 [dinner] 17:00-21:30

price 300-600NT per person (+10% service charge)

rating ♥♥♥♥ (4 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt Nanjing E. Rd. MRT (捷運南京東路站)

I really love Korean food, a lot. My friend Mike and I decided to get dinner Saturday night and settled on Korean food. We originally wanted to go to MinDong Korean Restaurant (明洞館), but couldn’t get a reservation. So after further research, Mike found Gyeongju Korean Restaurant via hungry girl’s blog and so we decided to give it a go.

Gyeongju Korean Restaurant is south of Nanjing E. Rd. MRT station on Fuxing N. Rd., about a 5-10 minute walk from the station. The entrance on Fuxing N. Rd. is kind of hard to see, as it is inside a building and there is no sign visible from the street; it is next-door to a Cosmed and on the first floor of the building. From pictures, it looks like if you go around the backside of the building the restaurant has a huge sign, but I did not see it.

It looks like the restaurant has two floors, although I didn’t get to see the upstairs. The downstairs has maybe 10-12 tables, each equipped with a flame for bbqing. We got there around 8:15pm and were sat right away, although when Mike had originally called at 7pm they said they were full.

The entire menu is in Chinese, English, and Korean. There are also pictures of everything on the menu for visuals. The first page of the menu has set meals for groups of two, three, and four plus. After looking over the menu Mike and I decided to do the two person set meal (二人套餐) for 880NT. This is a pretty great deal. It comes with five “courses”:

– BBQ choice of beef, lamb, or pork (鍋盤烤肉 牛或羊或豬)
– Seafood Onion Pancake or Spicy Broiled Rice Cake with Chili Sauce (海鮮煎餅或辣炒年糕)
– Traditional Korean Stone Pot Rice or Soybean Paste Noodles (石鍋拌飯或韓式炸醬麵)
– Stewed Spicy Tofu Soup or Keip (Seaweed) Soup (豆腐辣湯或海帶湯)
– Six side dishes (Banchan) (小菜六種)

We chose the beef, seafood onion pancake, traditional Korean stone pot rice, and stewed spicy tofu soup.

First thing that came out was the banchan (side dishes). From top left (clockwise) there was spicy pickled cucumbers, seaweed, cabbage kimchi, radish kimchi, bean sprouts, and fish cake. I thought all of the side dishes were pretty good. Nothing was that spicy. The kimchi was pretty good, it had a good balance of vinegar, spice, and sweet. I prefer my kimchi to be more on the vinegary side, so this was good for me.

I think I expected the bbq to be a grill, but it was more of a “grill” in the center with a moat of broth around the edge for vegetables. The beef was pretty good and tasted like it was marinated; it had a slight sweetness.

When the stewed spicy tofu soup, sundubu jjigae, came out it looked like it was going to be spicy. In reality, it really wasn’t. The bright red layer of oil is misleading. Nonetheless, the soup was pretty good. There was seafood (octopus and clams) in the soup and overall was pretty good. It had a good seafood flavor to it, although it could have been spicier.

The seafood onion pancake was probably my least favorite thing in the set. It’s not that it was bad, it was just a little bland. I felt like the pancake was really doughy and didn’t have enough filling.

The traditional Korean stone pot rice (stone pot bibimbap) was not bad. It was pretty standard, pretty tasty, and came to us already mixed. There were the standard vegetables in it, nothing weird or unusual. It could have used more spice, like most of the things we had, but overall it was good.

The waitress said that this was brown sugar mochi with red bean filling. The texture wasn’t really mochi like, it was more jelly like. I wasn’t a huge fan.

I’m not really sure what this drink is, but it came to us with the mochi. It tasted like a really light almond tea, although I’m not sure what it actually was. It was good though.

For the most part I thought this place was pretty great. The set meal for two was a pretty good deal. For less than 500NT each we got a lot of variety and were pretty full. I would definitely come back and try some of the other things they have on the menu.

korean: seoul in taipei (漢城炭烤)

date june 23, 2011

contact No. 5, Lane 130, Tianmu W. Rd., Beitou District, Taipei City/台北市北投區天母西路130巷5號/02.2821.2454

hours 7 days a week 11:30~14:00; 17:30~21:30

price 200-600NT per person (+10% service charge)

rating ♥♥ (3 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt Shipai MRT (捷運石牌站)

I have a love of Korean food. So much so that I’ve managed justifying going to Korea three times and even thought of moving there, yet somehow I’ve never been to Korea Town in Los Angeles…

A friend of mine, who is Korean, is on a quest to find the most authentic Korean food he can in Taipei before leaving in July. Based off a blog post he found online, we found ourselves at Seoul in Taipei.

Seoul in Taipei is about a 5-10 minute bus ride from the Shipai MRT station (exit 1). The restaurant itself is two floors, although the top floor was not open when we went. On a Thursday night at about 7:30pm the place was empty, which was a little discomforting, but shortly after being sat, the bottom floor filled up.

 The menu is in Chinese only and had pictures of every item. The menu isn’t super extensive, but it has your basic Korean dishes: sundubu, bi bim bap, rice cakes, bulgolgi, galbi, etc. We decided to share four dishes between four people so that we could try various items. I was surprised that they didn’t have any Korean beers, only Taiwan beer…Although, they did have soju.

First thing that came out was the banchan. At first we were a little worried that we were going to have to order banchan because we saw it on the menu, but it is free, as are refills. We were given five types: kimchi, seaweed, potato, fish cake, and whatever green vegetable that is. Everyone liked the kimchi, it was pretty standard, definitely could have been spicier in my opinion. Really, all of the banchan was good. I mean, none of them were amazing, but none of them were bad either.

We ordered the bulgolgi, which came with a small bowl of soup. The bulgolgi was okay. Our table seemed to like it, but I wasn’t particularly impressed. I felt like the beef was a little tough and over cooked. The flavor was pretty good, but the meat itself was a little disappointing.

My choice was the cold noodles (伴冷麵) for 200NT. The noodles were topped with apples, pickled cucumbers, kimchi, pork, half a hard boiled egg, and some sweet red sauce. I thought this wasn’t bad. I kind of liked the mix of flavors and the crunchy texture of the apples and cucumbers with the noodles. The sauce was a very very mildly spicy sweet sauce that worked with all the ingredients. This dish was very similar to something I ate on my last trip to Korea, which was the specialty dish of some specific region. I felt like the rest of my table wasn’t a huge fan of this, but I liked it.

So one of the reasons we ended up here was because a member of our party specifically wanted cold noodles with soup (湯冷麵). However, this was not what he was expecting. This dish, for 200NT, was basically EXACTLY the same as the cold noodles, but with a cold kimchi soup poured over it. It had apples, cucumbers, pork, kimchi, and half a hard boiled egg, just like the previous dish. Only difference, the sauce was in soup form. The dish he was looking for had a clear soup, not this red soup. This dish wasn’t bad, it just was not what anyone was expecting, although, we should have known better based off the picture on the menu.

We also ordered seafood sundubu (海鮮豆腐湯) for 250NT, which includes a bowl of rice. This dish was pretty popular amongst the table. It wasn’t that spicy, so for people who fear spicy Korean food don’t worry because this isn’t Korean spicy. The soup was pretty good and it had good flavor. Honestly, I felt like it was a pretty standard sundubu though; it wasn’t particularly memorable in anyway.

Overall I thought this place was okay. I don’t know. I kind of feel like I was a way harsher critic than the rest of my party, including my Korean friend. The service was good; even though the closed at 9:30pm, the waitress was really nice and told us to take our time. This place is not bad, it’s just not memorable. I would probably never feel the need to come back, but at the same time if someone was like, “let’s go to Seoul in Taipei”, I wouldn’t say no. However, with a name like Seoul in Taipei, this was not Seoul in Taipei.

korean: jong ga house.

date 11.21.08

contact 372 Grand Ave/Oakland, CA 94610/510.444.7658I

hours Mon.-Sat. 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m./Sun. 12:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

price $10 – $30

I was on some mission to find all the best restaurants in the Oakland/Berkeley area, so I yelped all the foods I liked and bookmarked them. Feeling like Korean food, Dan and I decided we’d go to Jong Ga House in Oakland near Lake Merritt. We usually go to a different Korean place down Telegraph, but we figured we’d try this place. The first time we went, I forgot my camera. Erin came down for the weekend and we went again, with my camera.

The inside of this place is pretty big and pretty nice. I guess this place does Korean BBQ as well; all the tables are equipped to BBQ.

Inside of Jong Ga House.
Inside of Jong Ga House.

Once you order they give you a small bowl of cold kimchee soup with noodles. It’s pretty tasty. Then my favorite part, the side dishes. They give like 18 side dishes! It’s amazing!

Side dishes.
Side dishes.

Jong Ga House has some sides that I’ve never gotten before and they are good! One of our favorites is the tempura-ed broccoli. It’s served cold with some dried chili(I think) on top.

Tempura-ed broccoli side dish.
Tempura-ed broccoli side dish.

Another one of our favorites is the deep-fried potato pieces. It’s fried in some kind of tempura like batter then drenched in a honey like sauce. It’s served cold, which makes the batter drenched in honey kind of hard, but it’s still really good.

Fried potato side dish.
Fried potato side dish.

The menu here is quite extensive. They have something for everyone. Noodles, rice, soups, meat, veggies, seafood, they have it all. For someone like me, who is very indecisive, this menu is quite a feat to tackle, but I like that there are so many choices. After much deliberation I decided on the kimchee fried rice with beef ($9.95).

Kimchee Fried Rice with Beef.
Kimchee Fried Rice with Beef.

When I saw the plate come out it looked amazing; lots of kimchee and lots of sauce. I wasn’t expecting it to be as sweet as it was. Actually I wasn’t expecting it to be sweet at all, I mean, it’s fried rice. The first bite was interesting. For fried rice this was pretty saucy. The sauce was sweet with chili in it and I wasn’t sure if I liked it that much or not. However, the more I ate it, the more I liked it. The beef in mine was a little tough. I felt like I got pieces with lots of gristle or something, but the ones that didn’t have it were good. The best part of it was all the chopped up kimchee. I love kimchee. I pretty much went to Korea to eat kimchee. The kimchee was very good, not too vinegary, not too spicy, and still crunchy after being stir fried. Of course there was a sunny side up egg which seems to come with every Korean dish. I liked the yolk on the rice. I tend to like yolk on most things, but the yolk on the rice tasted really good. It kind of balanced out the sweetness of the rice. I only ended up eating half of my meal and taking the other half home. Honestly, I think I liked it better a day old and cold. It didn’t taste as sweet and the sauce made the rice kind of gooey in a good way. I don’t know that I’d get this again, but I’m glad that I tried it.

Overall I love this place. The price is good for as much as you get and the service is great. Not to stero-type, but generally I’m not used to good service at Korean places unless I’m with someone who speaks Korean. At Jong Ga House the servers are attentive and very kind. They filled waters, cleared plates, and asked us if we wanted anymore side dishes, even though we hadn’t touched most of them they saw that we’d finished the ones we liked. So, if you’re in the Oakland/Berkeley area and are looking for good Korean food, stop by Jong Ga House in Oakland. It’s good eats!