Saturday, August 6, 2016

Cheesy Pork Ribs at Ticket to Korea, Setiawalk

As mentioned, be prepared for PORK-themed blog post for the time being. As a continuation from the German beer house in Ipoh, yours truly had a well deserved weekend getaway to meet up with his university friends. No matter how busy, we also need to make time for things or people we deem precious in our lives. And nothing could be better to have good food along with good friends. After checking out some viral posts on Facebook, we decided to check out what is the hype of the cheesy goodness found in Ticket to Korea.

All these while I am only exposed to dakgalbi and Korean meat BBQ and this is my first time dining a Korean fusion restaurant. The setting in this place is simple and looks more like a contemporary cafe. So what makes it go viral and drawing a long queue, resulting in at least an average wait at least of one hour? Lets start off with the Tobokki Stew, which is quite a common dish in Korean restaurants. Korean rice cakes alongside sausages, fish cake, ramen, dumpling and cabbage are simmered in spicy Kimchi broth unlike cooked in a sweetish and spicy gravy in most other places. The small portion costs RM35 and perhaps it is meant for 2 person’s consumption since there are 2 pieces of dumpling only. 

For our group of 5, we only get few strands of ramen and a few pieces of rice cakes. I personally do not like processed food like sausages to be added as it does not feel authentic. I think if they were to give thin slices of belly pork, it would be much better. Nevertheless, I must give high praise for their rice cakes texture, which is simmered to near perfection. Unlike most places whereby they usually served you undercooked rice cakes, the service crew here, despite being busy attending to a full-house crowd, were attentive in follow-up with the simmering time and will advise you accordingly when it is done. A small serving of this soupy dish tantalizes your tastesbuds, paving the way to more meaty goodness to follow...

Guess what? Their famous dish, Cheese Pork Ribs also has Tobokki underneath the ribs! Haha! I definitely have a fond spot for rice cakes! Anyway The star of their signature dish would be the cheese! Half of the hot plate is generously filled with mozzarella and cheddar cheese. The pork ribs were cooked from the kitchen. The steel wok is then heated slowly in front of us....

Few minutes have passed.... we are still patiently waiting for the cheese to fully melt. Or the personnel to come attend to this dish... Took around 5 minutes to reach this stage under low fire as not to result into burnt cheese. Once melted, it’s a cauldron of goodness, but it is still not ready yet....

There is one final step before indulging. The owner, Jeff, will play the role of handling the "flamethrower". He is full of energy, stamina and exuberance. Something Malaysian food and beverage owners should emulate...

The result? The ribs have tender meat flavoured from a marinade which tends slightly to a Western profile. The meat, just like how good ribs should taste like, fell off the bones without much biting effort. The photo here is a representation of the minimum order of 2 portions whereby one portion is RM35. If I remember correctly, there are 10 pieces of ribs. For RM70 it is quite worth it as the cheese itself would've cost alot. Don't believe me? Try check out the price of mozzarella cheese at the cold section of supermarkets.

Pairing with the soft and gooey cheese will give the pork ribs a different gastronomic experience altogether. The melted cheese is also so good to go along with the rice cakes. Ahhh... I should've went all out for some Korean soju or plum wine that night!

Coming up next the is Donkatsu with Cheese, or fried pork cutlet on a bed of cheese (RM30) This is a fusion dish derived from a similar Japanese cuisine. Anyway, seems like most of their best sellers are associated with cheese! We should've skipped this and ordered something else as this bears resemblance to the Cheese Pork Ribs. We wanted to order some grilled salted pork belly dish but we were told that they did not prepare that on that day :(

Feeling the urge to try one more item, Kimchi Quesadilla (RM14) is another fusion hot pick from the Appetizer category. Although this is ordered later when we found out we were not full yet, the winning combination of kimchi and cheese and the crispy tortilla skin make it so appetizing and addictive!

Look at the generous amount of cheese in almost every single dish! The one taking credit for this creation would be Jeff's fiancee, orchestrating the behind the scenes actions in the kitchen.

The advantage of coming in large groups is that you can try all their recommended items at one go, without having to hurt your pocket a lot. The huge draw back of a large group is that it is hard to get an empty table as most tables here cater to groups of 2 and 4. If you come in a group of 6 or more, you will have to wait for 2 groups from tables next to each other to leave consecutively and the chances of that happening is kinda low. But thanks to the efficient and quick thinking boss, the queue for tables is manageable albeit a long wait. It took us almost 2 hours to secure our tables! Throughout the duration, Jeff never fails to come out and apologize, bow and thank us for being patient and keep on assuring that they are doing the very best to set up the tables for those in queue. He has a pleasant personality and the courtesy level is top-notch! :)

This is another proof of the long queue. It was already almost 9:30pm but look at the crowd outside still waiting for tables! Jeff mentioned that it would be better to come on weekdays or before 5:30pm on weekends. There is no guarantee of the waiting time as another friend of mine who came in a small group need not wait at all during a weekday.

Ticket to Korea is situated at one of the first floor unit at Block C, Setiawalk. Puchong. They open from 5pm onwards, so make sure you are there early! You write down your name and contact number on the waiting list then take a stroll around Setiawalk or proceed to some happy hour while waiting for Jeff to ring you up when your table is ready. Anyeong~

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