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Wednesday, 22 August 2012

NicaBell: Korean FOOD!!!

Well last 27 Jul, I took a leave from work and went back to Papar for a gathering with my 3 favorite cousins. We were not in a same age but we were very close. The eldest among 4 of us had been crazy with Korean drama and she is the one who infected me with the “RM FEVER”. And this cousin of mine had been saying how she really extremely eagerly wants to taste Korean food. I would like to try them out as well.

We want to try Korean food but kind of scared that we will embarrass ourselves in the restaurant. But when my ‘Korean wave’ craze cousin heard that there is a Korean restaurant opening in Papar, we thought that we just had to be brave and try it out.

The five of us went there together after two of my lovely cousins went there to scout if it’s opened for public or not in the morning earlier. The place is just by the road of Beaufort highway in Kg Benoni, Papar. It is kind of deserted because there was no other building or houses or shop besides it. But it was bright, peaceful and easily spotted. The restaurant looks like a normal Sabahan brick house, except the signboard with some Korean words on it. If I was not mistaken, the restaurant's name is Jung Won Garden Restaurant.

I odered the one Korean food I have been hearing alot.
This is BiBimBap
It is a bowl of rice, which to be mixed with a bowl of few kind of vegetables and bit of pork, as shown in the picture aboce. A small plate of thick red sauce that look spicy, but actually not, should be added in the mix as well. My BiBimBap was also served with 5 side dishes: pickled squid, kimchi, spinach, bean sprout (taugeh) & carrot slices, dried bilis & peanuts.

JaJangMyeon ordered by my younger cousin.
JaJangMyeon is a Korean Kon Lau Mien, but minus the pork or chicken; It's consist of thick yellow noodles and thick soy sauce that have a lot of garlic in it. Vampires, beware! My stick skinny cousin can't even finish that, despite how hungry and how big her appetite is.

Kimbap – Korean sushi, minus fish. Kimbap used dry seaweed sheet, rice, kimchi, eggs, ham, cucumber and some other things that one could possibly put in. I did took a picture of it but I'll put a link to other's people picture over the internet.

KimChi JjiGae? I think that's the name, if I'm not mistaken
KimChi JjiGae is the Kimchi soup served with rice and also the same 5 side dishes I was given. I didn't taste it at all. Because I have tried kimchi and didn't like it at all. But according to my cousin, it is not that spicy despite how spicy it looked like. 

The waitresses were, we found no surprise, Filipinos. I don’t really know how to detect their ethnicity, but I am guessing they are either Sulu or Cagayan or probably Bisaya. I am not bothered to be served by immigrant (to me, it is fine and quite relief that they made efforts to earn money by working rather than stealing and robbers. To those who scowls on that, what do you aspect? They are human too. They need food to eat, clothes to wear and children to feed.), but I’m a little bothered when I was trying to order Soju (Korean sake) and ask which Soju is good and they don’t know how to answer. Because they Muslims and don’t drink. But no fret, one of them is quite witty and observant. She recommended the one that the Korean folks who work at the Kimanis took liking. 
A bottle of soju with the 5 side dishes.
And see that fried rice? That is another meal ordered by one of my pregnant cousin.
Nope, she didn't drink soju.
Soju is a distilled beverage, simply a alcoholic drink. I would say that is burned the throat like vodka but much sweeter and I LOVE IT! I would compare it to the Sabahan rice wine, the Montoku. But montoku is undeniably stronger in taste, smell and alcohol level. My cousins do not take a liking to the drink and request to pour Sprite in their short glass. I personally think that the soft drink contaminate the freshness and the taste of the 20.1% alcohol soju but I have to comply and listen to them. After all, they are older than I am. 

Jung Won Garden Restaurant is definitely a great restaurant. But I think, Kg Benoni - where the restaurant is opened, is where the Muslim community in Papar live. There are more Bajau Brunei there than Kadazan Dusun. So if only the restaurant removes pork from their menu, it surely invite more Muslims and SDA folks to come to the restaurant. 

The price is certainly pricier than any other regular/local restaurant but it were all worth it. All of us cannot finish out food at all! My BiBimBap is like for 3 people! The hospitality is certainly great.

What fascinates me about Korean food is that their food have more vegetables than meat. I can see myself become skinny if I ate BiBimBap every day! Of course cut down the amount of the rice and minus the egg yolk of course! They also serve more pork than any other meat. Most Korean food that was served in the restaurant are food that is easily prepared. Like the BiBimBap, they use vegetables that can be found easily here. KimBap use the same ingredients and kind of like the leftover in the fridge 'restyled' so the kids won't get bored with food.

I am a firm believer that foods are the doors to a culture. I may not that fond of KimChi, but I do love these pro-vegetables foods. I can imagine myself living in Korea and eats BiBimBap or KimBap with a shot or two of cold Soju everyday!  It was a great meal and refreshing experience^^ 

Till next time




  1. I love Korean food, yum yum especially their fried chicken smothered with sweet and spicy sauce and sesame seeds. Yummmy-O

    1. Oh dear, you made my tummy grumble! Korean dishes use a lot of sesame seed/oil which make their food so yummy^^


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