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Beyond the barbecue

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The aroma of meat on the grill draws customers to Bulgogi Brothers but Tan Bee Hong finds there’s more to the diner than just grilled beef

THE name rolls easily off the tongue. Bulgogi Brothers is the newest thing in the hallyu (wave of Korean culture) sweeping across the country.

Opened just weeks ago, the restaurant in Paradigm Mall in Selangor, is already gaining popularity through word of mouth... helped in no small measure by the tantalising aroma of meat on grill that make customers walking past, go weak in the knees.

The Korean chain restaurant has over 35 outlets in South Korea, one in Canada and three in the Philippines. It plans to open three more outlets this year in the Klang valley.

The decor is modern yet elegant. Customers can sit in air-conditioned comfort or al fresco.

CORN TEA & BANCHAN

Almost as soon as we sit down, a waiter offers us a plate of steamed corn, boiled sweet potato and soya beans to nibble on.  

Customers are also served a complimentary flask of oksusu cha (hot tea made with roasted corn) said to aid those suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney problems. It’s an acquired taste but there’s plenty other choices on the menu. Not gratis of course.

Banchan, appetisers that are an integral part of Korean dining culture, is complimentary. At Bulgogi Brothers, we get a plate of mashed potato with lotus root and spinach as well as individual plates of cabbage kimchi, fried kangkung and musaengchae (shredded radish kimchi).

GRILLED OF COURSE

Built into every table is an induction hob where a metal grill will be placed for barbecuing meat.

Bulgogi is translated as “fire meat” in Hangul, and refers to marinated meat cooked with traditional grilling techniques. It usually comprises thin slivers of sirloin or other prime cuts of beef that are marinated with soya sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, pepper and other ingredients. It is then grilled at the table and served with scallions, onions or mushrooms.

Bulgogi Brothers serves various styles of bulgogi, including Gwangyangsik and its signature Unyangsik with heart-shaped slices of beef.

NO BEEF

But we are not here for beef. We are wondering if those who don’t eat beef will be able to get a square meal at Bulgogi Brothers.

Not a problem. Though the pride of the restaurant is beef bulgogi, chicken and seafood items are just as popular.

Dak galbi bulgogi (RM29.90 for 300g) has chunks of deboned chicken thigh cooked with vegetables and tteokbokki (a popular Korean rice cake shaped like sausages), using a spicy soya bean paste. I find the tteokbokki even more interesting than the well marinated chicken itself. It has a certain resilient texture but is smooth and a lovely chewy texture.

We’re looking for a soup and find a hearty one in haemul doenjang jjigae (RM29.90), a rustic seafood stew made with soya bean paste. It has mushrooms, vegetables, crab, prawn and mussels. Served with a bowl of white rice.

Equally satisfying is janchi guksu (RM17.70), also known as “party noodles” because this is a dish that’s usually served only at celebrations. The slender rice noodles are served in a hot seafood broth with sliced omelette, kimchi, deep fried tofu, cabbage, leeks, mushroom and seaweed. It looks austere, but the taste belies its simple appearance. And it’s the clear, sweet flavours of the seafood broth that elevates this dish to party status.

Bulgogi Brothers

Where
GB13, Ground Floor, Boulevard
Paradigm Mall, Jalan SS7/26A,
Kelana Jaya,  Petaling Jaya

Tel: 03-7887 3543

Opening hours
Daily, 11am to 11pm

Getting there
Along Damansara Puchong Highway (LDP)

What’s cooking
Korean barbecue and other dishes

Must try
Unyangsik (heart-shaped slices of beef) and janchi guksu (party noodles)

You’ll pay
About RM50 per person

Atmosphere
Modern chic

The loo
Shopping mall facilities

Service
Efficient

Overall verdict
Go give it a try
 

Dak galbi bulgogi has chicken, vegetables and tteokbokki, a popular Korean rice cake

Janchi guksu or party noodles is a delicious one-pot meal


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