Monday, November 12, 2007

Secret Garden Korean BBQ Restaurant

(Update: Returned for lunch Tuesday and the portions were smaller, pa jon cold and the kalbijim, which I asked not to be too sweet, was watery, pale and not as well-flavored. Go for dinner.)

It was drizzling and very cool last night. Ming and I love soups in such kind of weather. Wey loves Korean food (mainly for the samgubsal bulgogi) in any kind of weather. Hub generally goes with anything but doesn't quite like Korean or Japanese - the portions never quite satisfy him. Our favorite Korean restaurant is/was Arirang at Api-api, where the owner always gives us a free plate of pa jon (Korean pancakes) or japchae (noodles). Free dishes don't come free because for that she always hugs Wey and calls him "My boyfriend!", while I have to tolerate insinuation that Wey's father is Korean. The first time we walked into the restaurant, years ago when Wey was obese and had a puffy round face, she spoke to Wey in Korean, and insisted he's Korean. Since then we've become friends; the lady is motherly and nice. Her food is also very homey. The only thing I don't like about the place is when the diners start smoking. The restaurant isn't big, and I just can't stand tobacco smoke.

I asked Ming to check with Chris, a Korean, where his family usually go for Korean food. The reply was, "The restaurant in Api-api and P-won near Merdeka Supermarket." Really. We'd only been to 'P-won' once years ago.

When we got to P-won (much shorter than Secret Garden Korean BBQ Restaurant), there were two busloads of Korean tourists, no locals. We sat down eagerly and ordered whatever the Koreans were having.

Samgubsal set meals, RM30/US$8.80 each. There are two sets here.

This is the most generous samgubsal set we've ever tried (we couldn't move after the meal; I was full of regret for I need to loose some weight before Christmas), and we only had 2 sets of bulgogi for the 4 of us. The side dishes kept coming. We must've had 5 plates of pa jon, kimchi and salted anchovies. The kimchi was very fresh and yummy (they sell kimchi for RM17/kg if you want to take out), the way we like it, still crisp and new instead of over-fermented. I found the kimchi soup too sour (made from over-fermented kimchi). The pork bulgogi was teppanyakied (so they can handle the volume), not grilled, but tasted the same.

For those who have thin kids and want to fatten them up (very Asian thing), try feeding them samgubsal. My Wey was pitifully thin as a little boy. He refused most food and threw up easily. Then one day our church, Skyline, which is situated in Sutera Harbour Resort, provided special discount coupons for the Sunday buffet lunch. That's how Wey's bingeing started. And with his improved appetite, he also he discovered plain pork bulgogi or samgubsal. I was so desperate I cooked samgubsal a few times a week for a whole year! That's how he got so fat. This year I've decided it's time he learns to eat what we eat, so I've been cooking lots of fish, and he hates that. It doesn't help him that I only cook my fish two ways: wok-fried or steamed. When pity overwhelms me, I make battered fish fingers for him.

Kalbi jim (beef ribs stew), RM25/US$7.40.

This was very good, tasty with a strong beefy aroma.However, the portion seemed small for the price and the sauce was too sweet for my Chinese tongue.

P-won doesn't have a large menu. From what I saw, people go there for bulgogi and soups, both very standard everyday Korean food. P-won is in Taman Emas, the turning on the left before the turning into Merdeka Supermarket. The place has a mini-golf course nobody plays on, is open-air, casual and best of all, the service from the all-Filippino team is the best I've experienced in a long time. They even massage your arm if it's sore. Next time, I'll ask them to sing.


Greg Wee said...

NEE: Next time your birthday inform earlier. but since your day is so near christmas dont think i will want to get scolded (for destroying your diet) for sending layer cake.

Hmm..i notice you thought quite highly of my thingy on sponge cake (caught it as i almost close the page). eyes almost pop put. really blushing liau and now i am praying that everyone who try will get a good sponge cake. thanks anyway.

Danny said...

i must agree with hub that korean & japanese food portions are not satisfying at all!

let alone the price :O

Mandy said...

oh my, I don't even know there's korean restaurants in KK! Nobody ever told me! :( I shall check them up the next time I come home. Thanks for the nice review :)
Btw, mind sharing how you made the pictures links on your left sidebar?

mike c said...

happy belated B'day, terri...
just replied ur email.

Denise said...

HA! U think Wey has so-called "Lady-Luck" surround him ah?
hhahahah, looks like he's the female's fav leH! hahahahahha
I dont know, I never seen him in real , but I really like ur little boy!!! * LOlz *
I enjoy reading Wey's story rather than the fooD, haha, sowwie about that! HAhahahha

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

gregwee: ur sifu mah!

danny: hey, happy birthday on 12th! scorpion too ah.

mandy: there r many korean restaurants here n the koreans r coming here like never b4. they love t slower pace of life, n the weather. do u mean t picture links mandy?

mike: :) thank u

denise: oh-oh, maybe i've painted a too-nice pic of him. but he is rather cute. i need to sniff n hug him 50x a day. he hates it.

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

mandy: yes, i just saw u mean pic links. u just copy my code n amend the html...actually my hub's staff did it. i just copy and amend...i'll ask him the steps n tell you!

Denise said...

haha ! I always sniff & rub my nose to my 3yr cousin's cheeK!
Oh! I forgot to tell u, i like to see when Wey shows his grumpy face rather than he's smiling. I can't remember where I saw that pic before

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