Kimbab Cheonguk which means Kimbab Heaven is located in a small mall on North Road. This area is basically filled with Koreans. Kimbab, which seems to be spelled Kimbap, are essentially the Korean style of sushi rolls. Basically, seaweed wrapped rice with veggies filled inside. Kimbab Cheonguk does sell them, but they seem to be more popular with the other items. The restaurant is basically a quick snackbar.
The shop is fairly small and the seating is very basic. It seems to family run and most diners are Korean. The place seemed to have a constant flow of people even on a weekday afternoon.
Their menu is fairly simple, with only around 12 choices. They are listed across the kitchen counter as well as by the wall next to your table. The menu is basically in Korean, or with Korean written in English, so it’s difficult to understand if you don’t know any Korean. Luckily, they also have pictures stretched across the wall, so you have a sense of what you’re ordering.
J asked me if I had Soon Dae before. I looked at the picture, and was confused as to what it was. They looked like some sort of meat. He told me that it was basically Jap Chae, but had a weird smirk on his face. Whatever. So we ordered it and when it came, I honestly thought they looked sort of gross. But I guess I would give it a try anyways. It is to be dipped in the seasoning, which gives it a little salty flavour. Still having a smirk on his face, I decided to Google what it was. Turns out, Soon Dae is essentially an intestine filled with pork blood and Jap Chae noodles. The good part is, that the only intestine part of the dish was the outer layer, which I had kept asking what it was made of. I thought it was some sort of thin rice wrapper for the longest time. I guess it wasn’t that bad, and it tasted more like bland noodles compressed together. Apparently, it’s a popular snack in Korea, kind of like how beef stomach is popular for the Chinese.
Mul Naeng Myeon
Since I essentially had no idea what the menus meant, J ordered me the Mul Naeng Myeon. This is a popular Korean dish, meaning “ice water noodles”. It’s made from flour and starch, including buckwheat, potatoes and among others. It is served in a stainless bowl filled with a tangy iced broth, cucumbers, slices of beef, and a hard-boiled egg. Upon serving the dish to us, the server then took scissors to cut the noodles apart.
When mixed together, it looks like this! You then add a spicy msutard sauce and vinegar to add more flavour. I eat quite bland at home, so I thought the addition was a little too tangy for my taste-buds. The noodles were extremely chewy, and had a texture that I hadn’t quite tried before. Really interesting and a great dish to have on a sunny day as it was refreshing. J on the other hand, got a variation of this noodle, which was a spicy version. It was way too spicy for me though!
Oh and another note is that they serve you a beef broth that comes in a teapot. At first, I was really confused what it was. But apparently, this tea is supposed to help you digest your food. How thoughtful! It was rich and tasted extremely good! A little salty, but so tasty.
Book Kyung Ban Jeom is located on Robson St. where the rest of the Korean restaurants are located. It seems that there is this one little strip that is just filled with Koreans!
The restaurant is filled with mostly Korean families and young diners. The promotions on the wall are also all in Korean, so you basically don’t know what they are unless you’re Korean. The menu, however, has both English and Korean.
The side dishes aren’t exactly the ones I prefer. They included yellow daikon and radish in a kimchi-like sauce.
We ordered the Tang Suyuk, which reminded me of the Chinese sweet and sour prok. I believe this actually beef though. The outer layer is thin and crispy and not too greasy. It’s quite a large dish, so great to share. The sauce is thick and gooey, but not more on the sweet side than sour.
Ja Jang Myeon
We each got a Ja Jang Myeon, which is essentially the Ja Jiang Mian that Chinese people eat. However, the sauce and fillings are completely different! It’s a very gooey sauce and filled with lots of onions. I’m not a big fan of onions, so I actually prefer the Chinese style much more. The sauce is also much more focused on the sweet side, rather than the spicy side. An interesting variation!
Hanok Korean Restaurant recently took over the Mongolie Grill in Richmond on Alexandra Rd. We decided to check it out since there aren’t that many other Korean restaurants in Richmond. The restaurant seems to be owned by a Korean man, but the servers don’t speak Korean. S and I decided to let J decide what to order, but little did we know that we would be having a feast. J communicated with the owner and we ended up ordering a set menu that included more than 10 dishes…for the three of us.
Each of us were given a small bowl of Green Salad. Actually, it wasn’t that small now that I think about it, given the amount of food we had. This could’ve been downsized by half. Romaine lettuce and cucumbers along with a ranch-like dressy that was sour made it a great appetizer.
There was the typical dish of Kimchi which I did not end up trying since there were so many other dishes to try.
I’m not sure what this was actually. But I remember it was really tasty! It was almost like rice with mushrooms in a soup. Kind of like porridge but better. We were each given a bowl of this as well.
I have no idea what this was called, nor do I know exactly what it was. But it was really interesting! It was almost like a jelly. Alone, I don’t think it has any flavour, but it was topped with a spicy sauce. Very interesting, and definitely something I wouldn’t have ordered on its own. I also don’t see this often, but maybe it’s cause I don’t know what it’s called on the menu!
They also had the typical side dishes of Marinated Seaweed. Quite typical, and nothing too special.
This was also like the jelly dish above! But it was in a different sauce. This one wasn’t spicy, and seemed to be marinated in a soup or something. Honestly, I’m not too sure, but I really enjoyed this dish.
Assorted Deep Fried Tempura
The set menu also included some dishes that weren’t so Korean. I felt like I was eating at a Japanese restaurant for a second. There were Assorted Deep Fried Tempuras, with yam, carrot, and squash. Of course, these weren’t as good as the ones you get at Japanese restaurants.
Salmon Sashimi was also part of the menu! Kind of weird to be honest. The salmon wasn’t as fresh however. It was a little mushy and didn’t have the bouncy texture that fresh salmon had. Still, it wasn’t the worse I’ve had. The dish was huge for three people as well…
Assorted Pan Fried Delicacies
There was a dish of Assorted Pan Fried Delicacies. The one on the left seemed to be a mixture of meat packed together with veggies. The middle was a fish, and the one on the right was a mushroom. Not bad, and quite interesting.
This dish seemed to be similar to a Chinese dish. They were deep fried chicken in a sweet sauce. This one was just okay.
S loves her Sweet Potatoes at Korean restaurants, but surprisingly, the side dishes didn’t include it! J asked the owner if we could get some, and he happily offered them to us!
I wish I took a clearer picture of this dish because it was presented quite nicely! This was extremely interesting. At the bottom is a piece of lettuce. Then the next layer is a pear that is not quite ripe. Then there was a layer of ginseng mixed with honey. It was such an interesting combination and had a great crunch to it. It also felt very healthy!
This dish reminded me of a Chinese dish once again. It had a light soup with rice crackers in it, which when dipped in the soup became soft with a slight crunch. It was topped with a mixture of seafood including squid, shrimp, and mussels. Not bad.
I usually love Jap Chae, but to be honest, I was much more interested in all these new dishes I hadn’t tried. The Jap Chae was just typical, or I was just less impressed by it since I was amazed by all the other dishes. And by the way, our table was literally filled by now. We didn’t have room to move our dishes at all…
This was a fish that J said is filled with bones and not something that everyone likes. I didn’t end up trying it since I’m not a big fan of eating fish with bones in it.
Braised Beef Short Ribs
Another dish was the Braised Short Ribs. The sauce was sweet and flavourful and filled with squash and carrots. The short ribs were huge and tender.
This was also a very interesting dish. The bottom was a thin slice of radish. On top was something similar to pork belly. The top had minced garlic. I felt that the minced garlic was too much for me so I brushed most of it off, but other than that, it was really interesting. It was refreshing and had a great crunch. It reminded me of Peking duck dish we eat at Chinese restaurants.
Another dish that tasted similar to kimchi. I think it was some sort of radish though. I found this spicier than kimchi.
Spicy Soft Tofu Soup
The Spicy Soft Tofu Soup came in a sizzling pot. It was filled with tofu and was in a tasty broth that had a hint of spice.
Spicy Stir Fried Squid with Rice Cake
The Spicy Stir Fried Squid with Rice Cake was a dish I had at another Korean restaurant. The squid was tender and the rice cakes were chewy. The sauce wasn’t too spicy, so I enjoyed it.
This was an extra dish that the owner also gave us. It was some sort of radish that was sour and reminded me of pickles. It was marinated in a kimchi-type of sauce and J loved it.
Lastly, when our bill came, we were given oranges that had been nicely peeled and cut out already and put back in the skin. How cute!
Overall, I was extremely pleased with Hanok! Look at our table for three! This was only halfway through dinner too, so our table was literally filled with food at all times and we had to eat quickly to clear up room for more food. The meal cost $35 a person, so it’s a tad more expensive than a regular meal, but you get A LOT of food. The meal was definitely enough for 4-5 people. The owner was also really friendly and constantly came to check up on us. At the end of dinner, he also came by to ask for feedback about which dishes we enjoyed and didn’t like. That is definitely a good start to understanding your customers better! I heard they also have good deals for lunch, so I will definitely come back to check it out.