Korean cuisine have always been one of my sentimental favorites. Be it the love for kimchi, or my constant craving for stir-fried squid. It all pretty much stirs up my joy for Korean food.
So when my friend said, “Let’s go to mini Korean town for dinner”. My heart flipped and I was ruffled. But with the manifold of Korean eateries within the vicinity of Ampang, you’d really wouldn’t know which to pick right?
Despite being rhetorical of my Korean eating habits, I’ve never been to this part of town. The ever-popular mini Korean town in Ampang.
Torn for choices, we drove around in circles, in search of the busiest restaurant. Not exactly scouting for a hidden gem, but rather gathering what the masses enjoy the most.
Hanwoori seemed to have caught my eye this time round. Chic and white exterior, with a wooden and brightly lit interior, the place was packed with hungry patrons when we arrived.
Without fail in most Korean restaurants, there will be a massive LCD screen tucked somewhere, possible playing either Korean music videos or Korean game shows.
Part of the efforts of the Korean government to widely publicize the K-pop culture, I can’t deny that this exposé technique actually worked on me too. I watch the videos that was being played, occasionally commenting on how colorful and creative these music videos are, and not forgetting the barbie-like and identical features of the female K-pop stars, albeit the lack of understanding of its language.
The other thing I’d noticed based on my frequent visits to Korean restaurants, are that most owners are almost always native Koreans. Is Korean cooking that hard to master? Or is it because Korean cuisine is not considered main stream yet in Malaysia?
Happy and Sad. Happy that banchan came bountiful, but sad that there were no sweetened anchovies – one of my favorites. Here, the selection of banchan were typical and didn’t grab my attention at all.
Jumulleok (Marinated beef steak). Rm55.
It was an unexpected surprise that these slices of marinated beef steaks tasted a little like satay. Or premium satay if I may just add. Probably from the similar concoction of sauces for marination.
Don’t get me wrong – these slices of juicy and tender beef steaks were extremely delicious and I couldn’t get enough of it. The hint of nicely charred, sweet bits especially. Slice after another and before I know it, finito.
Marinated Pork. Rm32.
Something new to me in Hanwoori – they change the BBQ grills for different types of meat. If you’d ask me, I appreciate their tentativeness of cooking methods, though I don’t quite understand why they did so.
The BBQ pork belly didn’t really have that fragrant and flavorful aftertaste like the former beef steaks. However, it still tasted quite good. For those who are fussy about fatty parts – beware, these are some artery-clogging pork bellies.
Kimchi Jjigae. Rm19.
This pot of spicy kimchi stew arrived pipping hot and filled with an abundance of kimchi, tofu and slices of pork. You’d probably want to wait until it stops bubbling before slurping a spoonful.
Nakji Bokkuem (Stir fried octopus). Rm40.
My weakness – Stir fried octopus.
As soon as the plate of octopus was placed in front of me, I immediately picked up a pair of metal chopsticks and selfishly dug-in. Devouring a series of chewy octopus drenched in spicy and fiery gochujang sauce (red pepper paste).
Hanwoori’s version was quite delicious, but I thought the sauce was a teeny watery and not a thick as some of the rest I’ve had. The buckwheat noodles at the side was a great touch and reminded me a little of my Daorae experience sometime back.
Overall Rating: 7/10. The BBQ beef steaks would probably be the highlight of my meal. Most of what I’ve had that night were quite good, but really nothing to shout about. For me, it would have to be the distance away from home that would hinder a revisit to this area anytime soon. To note, there is also another branch in Taipan, Subang Jaya.
Hanwoori is located at:
Jalan Ampang Utama 1/1, Taman Ampang Utama, Ampang Selangor.
Food Blog by: Spicy Sharon