mr dakgalbi at mont kiara

9:09 AM sians 0 Comments

august 2012.

the one that left a lasting impression.

it was on a summer evening where the warm season began its farewell serenade through the gentle breeze in anticipation of the romantic season of fall. 

having just returned from our breathtaking visit to nami island, the timing was uncanny. the sun was beginning its descent as i made my way into the huge restaurant. i didn't get a name but wished that i did. 

the sizzling sound was the beginning of the delicious scent that wafted throughout the restaurant that was enough to almost rouse drooling. it looked temptingly delicious, seducing me with its vibrant fiery colors. 

that was my first taste of 닭갈비. 
it was glorious and it had left me in longing for its deliciousness once again. 

romanized / or /
stir fry marinated diced chicken in spicy pepper paste [고추장 /], sliced cabbage, scallions, onions, sweet potato and rice cakes [떡 /tteok/] on a hot plate.

a specialty food for the city of chuncheon {추천}, gangwon{강원} province, an inexpensive beer snack [안주 /an.ju/] to substitute the expensive bbq dishes. 

its popularity.
an alley in chuncheon with a high concentration of dakgalbi eateries called dakgalbi alley {닭갈비 걸목}. there is even an annual autumn festival since 2005 dedicated to this local favorite.

i was beyond excited to try out mr dakgalbi in sohoKL, the next koreatown of kl after the original counterpart in ampang. 

as i entered the dakgalbi eatery, it quickly reminded me of any other korean restaurants that i have previously been. every table had a mandatory hot plate aka dakgalbi pan, ready to go in a moment's notice. even the utensils and napkins can be found in the drawers on one of the sides of the tables.

the walls were clad in vibrant and bright colored posters of animated characters against the clay brick walls and wooden panels. kpop music videos were playing on the tv at the back on mute while the staff bustled from one table to another, stir frying the meat-vegetable in the hot pan.

with a concept that was similar to teppanyaki, it was unavoidable to have the dakgalbi aroma cling to you after the meal. but with the apron provided, you may smell it but not look it especially with the accidental gochujang splatter from the stir frying.

or perhaps the accidental spill if & when you gobble the parcels of dakgalbi impatiently.

dalkgalbi & fried rice set menu :: dakgalbi 2 pax set | dakgalbi x 2 pax + 1 fried rice + 1 ramen + 1 cheese (rm 64)

three of us but we opted to share a set for two especially since we were planning on an after meal sweets.  starting with a hot plate filled with the usual suspects of cabbage, thin slices of potatoes, pieces of chicken marinated in the gochujang sauce and countable amount of rice cakes, it was served along side with a basket of greens, cucumber sticks, kimchi and salad.

what was left to do is to wait while the staff did all the cooking. within a few minutes, the vegetables started to soften and were tinged with the fiery red sauce. the ramen was added next with another dollop of the red sauce for completion. i knew we had to add an additional order of rice cakes especially it was only a mere amount of 4 with the set. we were waiting rather eagerly and willing in our hearts for the chicken to be cooked quickly.

it's odd to some but i love ramen. whether it is instant ramen or even the homemade ones - japanese, korean or even the chinese. you name it.

the lightly spicy and sweet with a mild saltiness that is characteristic of gochujang sauce lovingly clung to the ramen noodles, i slurp the springy noodles with a smile and then alternate it with softened cabbage that retained very little of its crunch especially after absorbing much of the sauce. the chicken was cooked just nicely and still hot, it was best wrapped with either lettuce greens {상추} for a taste of refreshing crisp to mellow the heat or perilla leaves {깻잎} for a more herbaceous punch for contrast. add the kimchi for a tart finish.

my favorite bites were definitely the rice cakes. the sauce that clung around rice cakes crisped over the heat from the pan, creating a flavorful crust that juxtaposed the soft chewiness of the rice cakes. a delicious bite size treat that i couldn't get enough of.

as we were making a huge dent into our panful of fiery goodness, the staff came over to slide what was left of dakgalbi to the side of the pan to make way for the finale of the meal: kimchi + seaweed + rice stir fry, very similar to the one i had at palsaik.  the rice is flatten into a disc before the cheese was sprinkled atop where the heat will melt the cheese into a bubbly gooey yumminess.

it donned the same base flavor profile as dakgalbi but with a light seaweed flavor to boot. the cheese was a hearty addition for a lovely richness as the cheese pulls with bitefuls. we would have loved more seaweed for that smoky, salty flavor to impart a different flavor profile to end the meal.

did mr dakgalbi surpassed my first love with 닭갈비in south korea?

unfortunately, not quite. it didn't have the same heartiness and burst of flavor from variety of ingredients in the single pan as the one i remembered from 2012 where i was filled with delicious coziness. however, the good news is this dakgalbi restaurant is good to hold me over until i return to south korea for an encore performance. perhaps the next time we could have a side order of octopus!

mr dakgalbi | location
no j-g-02 soho kl,
solaris mont kiara
kuala lumpur
{opens mon- thus: 11:30 am - 9:30 pm
fri: 11:30 am - 10 pm
sat: 12 pm - 10 pm}

disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.