Friday, December 26, 2014

Daebak Dakgalbi

Dak Galbi is a Korean grilled dish consisting of stir fried marinated chicken cubes cooked on a hot plate. The craze for Dak Galbi has blossomed in the Klang Valley with the perennial household favourite name Uncle Jang.

However, many other shops and springing up, alongside with Korean restaurants since the Korean wave took place through soap operas in the early 2000s and K-pop continued to dominate their influence in the later part of last decade. Since then, the impact from the Korean wave at our shores could not be denied; the food and beverage scene is not spared as well.

Ipoh has housed a few Korean restaurants prior to this, but Daorae is the one which bring up Korean dining experience up another level. And they are here again with another project to entice the tastebuds of Ipoh people. Enter Daebak Dakgalbi, situated next to Haagan Dasz at De Garden.

Ordering is fuss free, order accordingly to the number of diners and choose between the normal Dak Galbi, spicy version of the sweet soya sauce version (RM20 per pax for DakGalbi) Please be forewarned that the normal spiciness is beyond the threshold of average Malaysians hence try to refrain from the spicy version on your first outing here. If you think the normal spiciness is of child’s play to you, feel free and be adventurous on your next visit. Note tat paste in the middle, do not underestimate the blend of garlic, ginger, peppers, chilli flakes although there is bottomless free iced water provided.

Menu here is less extensive from their counterpart Daorae, whereby besides Dak Galbi, they also serve a few version of soup. That’s all! If you were to expect myriad of banchan (side dishes) then you will be utterly disappointed as Dak Galbi chains normally serve complementary kim chi and at most another banchan only.

Compare and contrast the spicy paste version with the innocent looking ingredients of the sweet/soya sauce version. Both shared common ingredients of cabbage, rice cakes and sweet potato but the “harmless” version adds in slivers of mushrooms and onions. Replacing the fiery paste is n in-house blend of soya sauce marinade.

Side dishes are highly recommended to ensure a tummy satisfying meal. Choose from Ramen, Udon, Rice, Cheese or additional portion of sweet potatoes and rice cakes. The sides are priced in the range of RM5-8 and must be ordered before they start cooking. Extra portion of sweet potato and rice cakes will be cooked together with the Dak Galbi whereby the noodles and rice can be fried at a later stage.

This is the photo of the normal spiciness level of Dak Galbi. For the first visit, I opted for Udon (RM6). The portion of meat here is 2 servings, enough to feed 3 pax for lunch, if you have ordered a side order or two. Just scoop a cube of meat, cabbage and wrap them in the leafy vegetables provided (refillable at no extra cost).

This is a photo of the stir-frying process of the non-spicy version. The soya sauce if reduced to sweet caramel-like gravy which coats the tender chicken cubes and cabbage. It taste very much like typical Chinese cooking. I would strongly recommend you to try the normal-spicyness of Dakgalbi instead of this as there is nothing really “Korean” about it and after a few bites, you feel a bit bored of its monotonous taste.

Fortunately the staff obliged to my request to put a dollop of spicy paste on the Ramen (RM5) ordered. Can you note the contrast in colours (if you don’t, your tongue will alert you with regards to the contrast of taste)? The fried rice (RM8) is not your typical grainy shape rice. It is starchier and round/oval in shape. I did not request for the spicy version and they douse the rice with soya sauce gravy to complement the non-spicy chicken resulting into a moist outcome. Perhaps it would be more fragrant if you opt for the spicy version

If you come in a group of 3 people, I would recommend you to order meat for 2 pax. If 4 or 5 person, I would recommend servings for 3 pax. This is because you should leave some space to order the sides. The udon and fried rice are good. A side serving can easily provide the carbohydrate fix for 2 adults as the dish itself has a lot fibre from the cabbage and also the leafy greens to wrap the dakgalbi. I have yet to try the other Kim's Dakgalbi situated at Medan Bistari (next to Bali Assam House) but I anytime prefer the ambiance at Daebak and the reason of authenticity as the paste are crafted by the hands of Koreans (though cooked by Myanmar waiters)

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