Korean Dalgakbi @ Choi's Don & Dak, Kuchai Lama
Korean food have always been all the craze in KL and Selangor and there have been tons of Korean eateries popping up like mushrooms around town. Well there are a lot of types of Korean food like the popular Korean BBQ, Street Foods and of course not forgetting Korean Dalgakbi.
I have tried several Dalgakbi restaurants and you can check out my precious reviews of Ayami Korean BBQ here. Among all the Korean restaurants out there, Choi's Don and Dak is one of the newest Korean eateries in town and they are the first eatery to serve both Chicken and Pork Dalgakbi.
Located at Kuchai Lama they are at the same street with Food Talk which is a strategic location for food lovers thanks to the bustling area with many shops and offices. The shop area is able to fit around 12 tables which can comfortably fit 4 to 5 people. Each table is fitted with a huge cast iron round pan which weighs a ton and is thicker than the other iron pans you see in other restaurants. The furniture and the pan was brought in specially from Korea.
Dalgakbi is considered to be one of the popular street food in Korea where is it usually enjoyed with Soju. It is also considered to be a comfort food as the meal is hot and filling. Dalgakbi consist of a meat ingredient like pork or chicken and added with many other ingredients like cabbage, carrots, rice cakes and many more. You can also choose to add on additional ingredients like ramyeon, udon noodles, mushrooms, hotdogs and rice. The special ingredient would be the sauce added to give it the flavour and additional kick to the whole dish. Each restaurant have their own signature sauce which complements their own cooking style. You can also choose to add on cheese to get a flavourful cheesy burst!
|Add ons: Ramyun, Mushroom, Assorted Sausages, Udon (Note: Portion shown for Ramyun and Udon is just half)|
At Choi's Don and Dak the sauce is made specifically for the different types of meat. This means that the owner prepares a different sauce to cook for the pork and the chicken. There are a lot of ingredients added into the sauce and they used a lot of fruits to give it that natural sweetness. In order to promote a healthier eating style which is the actual style in Korea, the dalgakbi you find in Choi's Don and Dak uses minimal oil to cook their dish. You don't get that greasy feeling as compared to eating at other restaurants.
The prices at Choi's Don & Dak are:
Dalgakbi RM 19.80/pax (Additional RM 2.00 for spicy)
Pork Jumuluck RM 22.50/pax (Additional RM 2.00 for spicy)
Assorted Mushroom RM 8.00
Korean Ramyun: RM 6.00
Korean Udon: RM 7.00
Mozzarella Cheese: RM 8.00
Rice Cake: RM 7.00
So let's see how the dalgakbi is cooked. The cast iron pan is heated up and the meat and vegetables are added in with their sauces. Then the server will proceed to cook your dish and you just have to sit back and wait to enjoy your meal. One thing I noticed is that I didn't get any oil splatter from the cooking process where normally I would have to sit like a few feet away from the table and wear an apron to make sure my clothes don't get any oil splatter. Not only that, there wasn't much oil in the pan after the meat finished cooking and surprisingly our food did not get burned even if we did not continue to stir it. The secret to this is that the owner uses high quality cast iron pan which is thicker than normal pans and can hold and transfer the heat more evenly.
Now it is time to dig in! I love it!! It was flavourful and I didn't get sick eating it. It tasted healthy and I didn't get that guilty feeling of digging into my guilty pleasure. The meat was really tender and I liked how the dish was well balanced. I found out from the owner that they actually went through a lot of process to prepare the meat and remove any odour from the meat. Besides that they purchase their meat daily at the local hypermarket to ensure that they serve fresh cuts of meat.
|Dalgakbi RM19.80/pax (Spicy +RM 2.00)|
Served together with the dalgakbi are some banchan or also known as side dishes. Their kimchi is one of the best kimchi I have tasted in any Korean restaurant. It had the right balance of salty and sour and was fermented for the right amount of time. Meanwhile their mashed potato is to die for. Initially we were quite sceptical about the mashed potato as it looked quite plain and tasteless but at our first bite we went straight to heaven and back. It was so creamy and flavourful that we kept picking at it. The owner said that the staff who prepared the mashed potato used to work at a German restaurant. No wonder it tasted amazing! When eating the dalgakbi you can choose to make a 'sam' or known as a lettuce wrap. Place some of the dalgakbi on the lettuce and add some green pepper, garlic and kimchi. Then wrap it up and eat it whole! I'm telling you it tastes anazing!
After we literally sweep the pan clean, the owner proceeded in cooking their fried rice on the pan which used short grain rice, seaweed, their special sauce and some lettuce. The rice was fried thoroughly and pressed flat on the pan to give it a crisp texture. It was then rolled up and served. The rice was slightly charred which gave it a crispy texture and it was really fragrant. The seaweed added also gave it the additional flavour in the dish.
|Fried Rice with Dry Laver RM 7.00|
Besides dalgakbi, Choi's Don and Dak also serves other dishes like Ramyeon, Jjapaggeti, Pork Chop and others. The ramyeon was the usual ramyeon that you can purchase at stores but I would like to commend the owner for being able to cook the ramyeon to the right texture. Do you know that ramyeon is actually one of the hardest dish to cook as you need to have the right ratio of water and to cook a good ramyeon you need to know when to stop cooking so that the noodles are not soggy and stay springy.
The Jjapaggeti is actually a fusion of the black bean noodle using ramyeon noodles. The taste of the black bean sauce was rather heavy and leaves an aftertaste in your mouth but if you are a fan of jjajangmyeon you would enjoy this dish.
|Koream Jjpaghetti RM 7.80|
Finally we have the Pork Chop which was deep fried in batter and breadcrumbs and topped with a sweet sour sauce. The Pork Chop was fried really well and although we left the sauce on the Pork Chop for quite a while, the exterior remained crispy and there was still that crunch when you bite into it.
|Pork Cutlet RM 16.50|
I had the opportunity to talk to the owner of Choi's Don and Dak, Grace Choi and her husband. It was really inspiring to hear her life story of her and her family moving to Malaysia from Korea and it was amazing to hear her testimonies. The kimchi served at the restaurant were made by her and her church members at church every Sunday. All her recipes were the exact food she cooks at home for her family which shows that you can expect good quality and healthy food at the restaurant. Besides that, there are plans to have Lunch Menu Set to cater to the office workers in the nearby offices.
We finished off the dinner with Corn Silk Tea which cleared our palates and helped us digest our food better. Do order the Corn Silk Tea to experience an authentic Korean dining experience. Of course there are other drinks that you can order and they also sell Soju for you to enjoy with the dalgakbi.
So the next time you are craving for some comfort Korean meal, come on down to Choi's Don and Dak at Kuchai Lama and enjoy this meal with smiling faces serving you. Remember to scribble your thoughts about the food on their wall as well!
Note: Sorry for the wrong restaurant name on my photo watermark. It is supposed to be Choi's Don & Dak.