Friday, May 15, 2009

Korean food @ Ko Hyang, The Gardens, Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur

can you believe they had 6 people in small cramped space behind the counter cooking?

Korean food + Splashie Boy = great memories

Long before everything and anything Korean became so popular under the sun, whether it was movies, television shows about palace ladies cooking away and Rain (nope not what we want to cool us down in Malaysia but the singer), Korean food always had a special place in Splashie Boy's heart (and tummy). He was first introduced to Korean food, weirdly enough by his American German-descent colleague, MVE who is based in Korea. Like all food memories, nothing has come close to that first taste of his best-ever bibimbap. Served in a small shop in Seoul manned by an old Korean lady, he often tells me, it was simply unforgettable.

bibimbap - mix it good

Strangely enough, after 6 years, he seems to have found something quite close to that memorable taste at this tiny kiosk in Gardens. Owned by Chung Hee Jung, a Korean who used to study here, this simple no-frills place serves a menu of Korean favourites. They have bibimbap (of course), bulgogi, jap chae, bi bim kuk su (sweet and spicy noodles), jan chi guk su (seafood noodles), su je mi (a kind of hand torn dough with soup that bears a striking similarity to pan mee), kim chi ji kye (kimchi stew with tofu and vegetables), sun du bu ji kye (kimchi stew with tofu, prawns and vegetables) and kimchi bokem bap (fried kimchi rice).

not to spicy but satisfying kimchi soup, panjeon and side dishes (banchan)

Bibimbap (RM15.90) here is served in a large metal bowl, looking so pretty with all kinds of vegetables including mushroom, onion, carrot, zucchini, bean sprouts, parsley and seaweed. You have a choice of minced chicken or beef, that you will mix together with the spicy gochujang chilli paste and a fried egg. Mix it all up and you get to enjoy all the different flavours together. We also liked the rice they use, a kind of brown rice that is slightly sticky. I had the kim chi ji kye (RM14.90) - a not too spicy but satisfying tangy bright orange soup with beancurd, vegetables and glass noodles. Thumbs up to the taste of the food, as it had a homey feel to it and best of all, it was very tasty without any additional MSG. Often I have dined at other Korean places and the food tends to taste bland.

As a side dish, we also had the pajeon (RM9.50), a seafood version with prawns and spring onions. The soft but slightly oily pancake, a popular street food in Korea was tasty especially when dipped with the tangy sauce on the side. To cool off, try their Sik Hye (RM3.80), a cold sweet drink made from barley malt powder and sweet glutinous rice. Seems the refreshing drink is boiled for 7 hours. Apologies in advance if I got any Korean references wrong. Still trying to figure out what is what from my Korean cookbooks. For more pixs, see the Flickr set.

Ko Hyang
LG-K05, The Gardens
Mid Valley City
Kuala Lumpur

(Pork free. Place is opposite Justlife and located on the lower ground floor.)

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. This review is time sensitive; changes may occur to the place later on that can affect this opinion. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from this place for writing the review.

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Sean said...

the first time i had bibimbap was at bonjuk in hartamas a couple of years ago. love at first bite. i think one of the things i like about korean cuisine is that it's ideal for sharing among family or friends. i haven't had korean at all this year though! been meaning to check out the one that opened a few months ago at one bangsar...

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

i still remember the craze with korean dramas and plenty of restaurants were serving their instant noodles for plenty of markup!

Ohhh making me miss my korean bbq now..

Precious Pea said...

Been a while since i last had Korean food. Hubby a big fan too although he usually stick to the bbq meat. I love kimchi chigae with rice..slurps! Can we do Korean next??

Precious Pea said... in, after our crabby meal. Hehehe.

sc said...

my friend who goes to korea every year says that this place serves good value korean food, and that the food here tasted very much like those she had in korea. been wanting to try, but have not yet! :(

qwazymonkey said...

I always have to give this place a pass during lunch time cos it's crazily packed and I've no patience waiting for a seat. Will definitely try it one day, perhaps off peak hours. :)

HairyBerry said...

who wudda thot that amidst the frenzy kopitiams and cafes at the gardens' LG that we'll be able to find an interesting eatery like this. very good prices as well. must go, must go!

thule a.k.a leo said...

Ha Ha... in Malaysia, Jenn & I always go to Daorae if we want to satisfy our taste bud for Korean food. But I can have simple meal in The Garden itself... how come I never notice this place before?????
How long has it been opened for business?

minchow said...

Yes! This is one of the last few remaining decent mall joints that isn't making a molehill out of mediocrity... really a dying breed! I was really impressed when I had the kimchi fried rice here once... props to the perfectly golden fried sunny side up, runny yolk intact!

Bangsar-bAbE said...

I usually get my Korean food fix from Little Korea in Mon't Kiara. I love that fist shot of the bibimbap!

J2Kfm said...

yes, i rmbr passing by this outlet late last year, if i rmbr correctly. during lunch hour, the place was packed (easily, as not many tables) with the lunch crowd.

probably one of the cheapest authentic Korean food around.

rambomadonna said...

If I am not mistaken this eating place was featured in the Star.

Anyway - There is a Korean stall at The Garden Food Mall on the 3rd Floor - SamSam Korea. I am not sure which one is better but I am gonna try the Bimbimbap here.

foodbin said...

food looks authentic-must try it out-thanks for sharing.

boo_licious said...

sean - I love bonjuk too but I guess more for andrew kim's personality. It felt very personalised when he was running the show there somehow. Now, without him, the food is still good but lacks the extra oomph. Yeah, the new Korean outlet in One Bsar looks good; spotted them opening and it is packed with koreans so that is always a good sign.

Joe - LOL, kinda like the HK chan tengs with TVB dramas.

precious pea - crabbies first rite esp since u're the crab queen? We have a long list to cover before you go Melbourne.

Wow sc, that is one great endorsement from yr friend. No one someone said it tasted just like what he ate in Seoul before.

qwazymonkey - yup, it got my attention since it was virtually packed all the time. We had a pretty early lunch that day so it was quiet when we sat down but that busy when we left.

boo_licious said...

Nic - amazing that a mall can yield such a gem. Kinda like the no-frills Viet place in BB Plaza food court.

Leo - Daorae in Hartamas is ok but in subang, it was bland and more bland. No idea how long it has been around though but definitely not a newbie.

550ml - awww, that sounds so yummy, kimchi with rice plus an oozing egg.

bangsar-babe - ooooh, yeah the choices in Hartamas and Solaris is huge. Every other shop is either Korean or Japanese.

j2kfm - wouldn't say it is cheapest in town but it is reasonably priced for the Gardens, which often marks up the price since they're so "prestigious"!

rambomadonna - yeah, Sam Sam also has an outlet in Pavilion's food court. Looked the most interesting out of that pristine looking foodcourt.

You're welcome foodbin. Enjoy!

Wenja said...

i was hunting for foods in mid valley and i found this Ko Hyang, and decided to give it a try. But when i sat down and looked at the menu, i regret, coz of the prices. I ordered a plate of glass noodle and a barley tea, it cost about RM19.xx and i think it is too too expensive. A plate of fried glass noodle cost me 15.xx? though the food was delicious, but i can't accept this price. A korean restaurant at the food court near the 'feng sui' is a lot cheaper than this. I am sorry to say that I will never come to Ko Hyang again unless they reduce the price.

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