Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Daorae Korean BBQ

The year passed really swiftly and it was another celebration of sort. My wife opted for a Korean meal. And we were off to Daorae in Subang Jaya Taipan. Daorae is a chain of 10 restaurants with six outlets in the Klang Valley, two in Penang and one each in Ipoh and Melaka. The Subang Jaya outlet is located on Jalan USJ 10/1J, at the Top Speed Business Center, above Affin Bank.

We drove around the Taipan area in Subang Jaya in the midst of the pre-CNY traffic madness and found a lot in a dodgy car park. We walked across towards Affin Bank, into a side entrance and took the elevator to the 2nd floor.

As the elevator door opened, we were in a really nice foyer of the restaurant and were immediately greeted with "Annyeonghaseyo". A couple of the staff even bowed at us. A wonderful first impression.

The restaurant was impressive. It was big and had several dining areas. We were led to a very nice contemporary dining room, with comfortable seating and a nice mural on the wall. We settled ourselves near a window and were each given a menu.

As my family made sense of what they had to offer, I moved around to explore the big place and to take snapshots. Beside the dining room that we were ushered into, there was another with a modern oriental setting...

.. and a large tatami floor.

The one thing I hate in Korean restaurants is their silly chopsticks. The flat and tapered metal sticks are so difficult to use. Just like my cocker spaniel - nice to look at but totally useless.

The menu was the typical Korean BBQ and the usual Korean dishes and soups. They were pricey. We made our selections and settled down to sipping our burnt-rice tea. Burnt-rice tea or genmaicha (玄米茶) is actually of Japanese origin. It is green tea flavored with roasted brown rice. The flavor of the roasted rice is distinct and unmistakable. Our daughter found it weird and ordered a coke. I was OK with it but I would had preferred my usual tei guan yin (铁观音).

After a short while, our table began to be filled with various small dishes. First were the sauces for our meat.

Then the usual complimentary side dishes that all Korean restaurants serve. Different kinds of kimchi...



And eggs...

While we were picking on the side dishes, the waiters brought in the red hot coal stove.

We ordered 3 meats. The sam-kyub-sal (pork belly meat) was great. It was the best of the 3 meats we had. It was succulent and tender. 

The mok-sal (pork shoulder meat) had less fat on it. Thus it was less succulent and a wee coarser. But it was very fresh and was equally enjoyable.

Finally, the sut-bulogi (beef rib eye marinated in sweet soya sauce) was a bit of a disappointment. It was somewhat a mess. It did not taste as good as the pork and we did not like the sweet soya marinade. 

The meats were eaten with raw garlic and the sauces wrapped in fresh salads. Tasted yummy.

We had 2 additional dishes. The sam gye tang (ginseng chicken soup) was a little bland. There was ginseng, red dates, rice, perhaps barley, and other stuffs in it. Maybe there was to much meat that evening. I really did not appreciate the soup very much.

The other dish was the nakjee bokkum (octopus stirred fried in spicy vegetables). I was looking forward to having some nice fresh octopus. But there was hardly any. We tasted some thin slices and we couldn't really tell that they were octopus. The rest of the dish was some mushy spicy vege. It was a major disappointment for the price (RM35) we paid.

The Korean pancake was compliment of the house. Perhaps to compensate for the lousy octopus.

It seemed like a lot of food for 3 persons. And indeed it was. We definitely over-ordered. We could had done without the ginseng chicken and/or the octopus. But we are a little wiser now on Korean dining. 

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