Ray & Pat visited our sunny island over the weekend, and Pat was hankering for Korean cuisine. We don't usually eat Korean fare unless we're in Seoul, but we made an exception for our dear Pat because there's apparently a dearth of East Asian cuisine in Kuching. They'd dined at ChoWon Garden before and found the food pretty decent, and so, brought us here to sample the Korean cuisine.
Walking in, you'd be struck at how much this place would fit right into any Seoul gil. From the boisterous group of Korean salarymen drinking at a corner, to the trio of Korean women sitting with their legs propped up on their chairs, right down to the surly attitude of the waitress, in typical Korean fashion of course (we had a running bet throughout dinner as to who could make her crack a smile), this cosy homely restaurant is as authentic as it gets. The Hubs said that the restaurant makes him feel like he's back home, hah.
The food here is, like the homely ambience, very homespun. Like what you'd expect out of a homecook's kitchen. Not quite impressive, a little forgettable, but not entirely bad. Just very average fare.
We were quickly served up complimentary Banchan to fill you up and nibble all through the night with soju.
The Kimchi was fairly authentic, a good amount of spice and depth. The Hubs liked it and ordered another portion just for himself.
The Sigeumchi Namul, parboiled spinach dressed lightly in soy and chilli, was a tad dry and plain.
The Fishcake was my personal fave, it was clear, light and bouncy. We got seconds and thirds of this.
An unusual banchan was the Cockles Bokkeum, freshly shucked and juicy, stir-fried with gochujang chilli pepper paste.
The Myulchi Bokkeum, anchovies fried with chilli, was lacking that kickass saltiness present in better renditions.
The Spicy Pickled Radish was crunchy and refreshing.
The Kimchi Jjigae ($13), kimchi stew, was wonderfully comforting in the current rainy weather. Chunked up with soft beancurd cubes, this had enough depth, sinus-clearing spice and sweetness.
The Galbi-Tang ($18), beef ribs soup, didn't fare as well. The broth could be sweeter, and the beef ribs were practically devoid of taste. A big disappointment, this one.
The Jap-Chae ($20), tung hoon fried with slivers of pork, zucchini, spinach, onions and black fungus, was pretty good; garlicky with a hint of sweetness.
In spite of the cold-er weather we've been experiencing, the Hubs wanted to try the Mul-Naeng-Myon ($17), cold noodles, in a beef broth with julienned pears, cucumbers, poached beef slices and half a boiled egg. He'd been missing this a bit. This was icily refreshing, with a fair bite to the chewy noodles.
Chowon Garden Korean Restaurant
2 Peck Seah Street #01-01
Tel: 6225 1317
Open daily from 11.30am to 2.30pm for lunch; 5.30pm to 10pm for dinner