Kim's Dakgalbi has been in business for quite some time (located next to Bali Assam House in Ipoh Garden East) More than 3 years I would say. It is THE first dakgalbi restaurant in Ipoh. I refused to try dakgalbi until Daebak was opened in De Garden. Well, I did try out Uncle Jang in Puchong and found it to be quite spicy to my liking. During that time, there were NO korean cuisine available in Ipoh yet. Probably Onix Jun only. Before big player Daorae invaded De Garden and send Korean waves which Japanese restaurants in Ipoh feeling the ripple effect. Knowing that Kim's are actually manned by a Korean couple and they have an extended menu... and they have CHEESE hot plate! I decided to give it a go! I opted for Set B instead of Set A because of the Cheese hotplate
Besides ordering set B, I had a side portion of Kim-Chi fried rice (RM10) to be stir fried into the grill later on. They did not use high-calrose rice like Daebak Dakgalbi. And Daebak is charging RM8 for similar portion (without the kimchi that is) but heck, kimchi is FREE in the form of banchan, you can add in as much as you wish later on. And they are a bit skimpy with the seaweed portion.
The offer free plain drinking water just like Daebak (Daorae offers free roasted corn tea), unlike a Modern Korean cafe nearby which not only refuse to give free drinking water, and yet price the drinks quite exorbitantly. Banchan here is limited to a serving of Kimchi and picked cucumber and long beans. The kimchi is tailored to Malaysian tastebuds. The evidence is both my parents enjoyed it alot. It is not as pungent and spicy but toned down to a more salty after-taste.
This is the Grilled Sweet Soya Sauce Pork and Spicy Pork Belly. The portion seems to be enough for 2-3 pax. Is it just me or I noticed that the non-spicy pork portion was not marinaded in soya sauce as claimed. Hmm...
The STAR of Set B - Cheese Pong Dak came separately in a hot plate which was prepared from the kitchen instead. A single portion could be ordered at RM26. The actual product was indeed a far-cry from the illustration used in their menu. From the picture in the menu, it looks like pork ribs on a layer of melted cheese. And the real thing came out to be boneless chicken meat instead. The cheese was there though, only to be overshadowed by a slightly too dilute sweetish gravy and some cabbage and teokbokki (rice cakes). The watery gravy was probably due to the water from the cabbage itself. To be honest, it does not look quite appealing to me. Perhaps I am biased since I am served chicken instead of expecting to get pork ribs instead. Or rather, in my mind, the memorable meal in Ticket To Korea has set a benchmark for cheese ribs?
Okay, perhaps the proper word is Tteok/Ddeok (rice cakes). Tteokbokki probably means stir-fried rice cake stew. I have a soft spot for rice cakes and coupled with oozing cheese for you to twirl it, the savoury yet slightly salty taste from the melted cheese (mozarella and cheddar mix perhaps?), slightly sweetish and mildly spicy sauce and not forgetting the soft and chewy texture of the rice cakes? So addictive!
While you twirl around the cheesy hotplate, the Korean boss (or the waitress) would do the stir-frying of the meat. The meat is quite well done, slightly charred but grilled to near perfection. The slight drawback could be the portion from the shoulder seems to be slightly tough. Tastewise, it is well flavoured although minimal marinade was applied but some element seems to be missing, one which charcoal grill could only deliver. And that smoky BBQ fragrance over charcoal fire could not be replicated from a hotplate grill. Just my opinion :)
They will add in the rice and stir fry it at the centre. And they will mix in the Cheese Hotplate at one end too. Honestly, I do not really fancy mixing everything at one go. Seems messy. Is the Cheese Pong Dak supposed to be eaten this way or enjoyed seperately? As the gravy sizzles off and absorbs into the rice, it was not bad actually. Nevertheless, I think on my next trip, I will just order Set A which is almost RM20 cheaper and just add on a serving of cheese at RM8. Instead of going for Kimchi fried rice, maybe I will just opt for plain white rice (RM4) since I am disappointed I do not get the round calrose rice. That would probably reduce the total bill of RM93+ to RM70+ on my next visit :)
Tadaa!!! See this photo above. Now this is DA BOMB! the trendsetter! the BENCHMARK!
Follow my previous write up on the legendary cheese ribs and the near 2 hour wait at Ticket to Korea by clicking on this link: http://softshellcrabtemaki.blogspot.my/2016/08/cheesy-pork-ribs-at-ticket-to-korea_6.html