Friday, 2 November 2012

Madanggoul Korean Restaurant

So, it's official, I've popped my Korean food cherry.  I'd been for Korean BBQ grill about eight years ago in Toronto but, when my colleagues at the office suggested going for Korean for lunch, I realized that I had never been for regular Korean food!  I couldn't believe it.

I love trying something new as much as I enjoy food in general, so this was a real treat.  We went to Madanggoul Korean Restaurant at Denman and Haro and ate family style.  The food was spectacular!  The restaurant is family run, the family is very welcoming, the service is good (albeit very slow...I'm still not sure why it took 30 minutes to make tea), and the food was delicious!  I definitely owe my colleagues one for introducing me to Korean food and teaching me how to order.

Things to note: (i) If you're also new to Korean food, I highly recommend this restaurant.  The menu includes pictures and English descriptions, so it makes it easier to order if you're a newbie.  (ii) I was surprised with how expensive the meal was ($23/person, tax and tip included).  The restaurant was nice and clean, but it was a bit of a hole in the wall so I was expecting it to cost a max of about $15.  We started out ordering 5 dishes for 7 people and it wasn't enough so we ordered three more dishes, which was about right.  I think it came down to the pancake being quite expensive and the meat dishes being fairly tiny (enough for one piece of meat, or spoonful per person).  (iii) I'd save this meal for a time when you're not in a rush.  It took us about 1.5 hours from start to finish.  (iv) They accept VISA, but their machine wasn't working when we were there, so I'd make sure you have enough cash on hand, just in case.  (v)  The music was awesome!  Eating delicious food while being serenaded by Korean Britney Spears and Gangnam Style definitely made my day. 

Overall, there were hiccoughs during our meal, but the food was yummy enough that I'd definitely go back.

Mul Mandu: water-boiled dumpling with special soya sauce. ($8.25)  Like pot stickers but way more flavourful and not greasy at all.  I loved them!  The other dishes around the dumplings come with the meal and you can get as many refills as you want.  Counter-clockwise: potatoes (almost like Greek lemon potatoes because they've been soaked in some sort of sauce - these were a table favourite), some sort of jelly vegetable (not very flavourful, and definitely the table's least favourite), fresh bean sprouts (I love sprouts!), lettuce (refreshing), kimchi (spicy cabbage - very yummy).

Haemul Pajeon: Korean pancake made of seafood, vegetables and green onion ($17.95).  At first, I had no idea what to think of this.  Imagine seafood and veggies, with shredded hashbrowns on top to make an inch thick, solid pancake.  To be honest, I didn't think I was going to like it, but it was really good.  It's quite rich, so I didn't enjoy my second slice as much as the first, but it was delicious enough to go back for a second slice.  We ordered two of these.

Sogogi Chapchae: stir-fried oriental noodle, beef and vegetables ($14.95).  This was hands-down my favourite dish.  It was mouth-watering good to the point that I could have eaten it all by myself.  We ordered two of these.

Dak Gal Bi: grilled marinated chicken breast with spicy B.B.Q. sauce.  Very yummy!  And on the spicy scale I would give it about a 2 out of 5.  ($14.95)

Bul Gal Bi: grilled beef short-ribs with Korean-style B.B.Q. sauce.  The flavours in this beef were amazing! ($14.95)

Bul Go Ki: grilled slices of beef rib eye marinated in Korean-style B.B.Q sauce.  Very yummy.  Personally I preferred the Bul Gal Bi, but I would order this dish again.  ($14.95) 

The true sign of a delicious meal!  Plus, I'm not going to lie, I liked the different chopsticks and wanted a picture of them.

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