Firstly just let me say that I am not a fan of Korean food whatsoever. The last time I had Korean food was at Daorae and it was not an experience I would like to remember nor looking forward to repeat.
I am very very sure I am not the only person who finds Korean cuisine to be an acquired taste, may I even say weird? This holds especially true for me when it comes to the extremely sourish and spicy kimchi. Maybe because I went to the wrong restaurant for Korean food, or maybe it was the chef’s problem for not being able to churn out the same authentic taste that everyone loves back in Korea. I don’t know and who am I to comment anyway?
Recently I had lunch at Go-Gung Korean Restaurant at Mid Vally The Gardens hoping it would change my perception towards Korean food. I had this expectation because from the info I gather from friends and blogs, it is said to be one of the good ones albeit pricey.
For a normal working day lunch I am not prepared to fork out fifty to hundreds for a main course so I simply had their set lunch, priced in the region of RM18-RM25. Most of them come with soup, unlimited side dishes, and Pajeon (Korean scallion pancake) Honestly speaking only a few side dishes tasted acceptable for me like salad and that vege thingy with anchovies, the rest was nothing great.
I scanned through the main course available for the set lunch and found most of them to be kimchi-based, which was simply bad news for me. I remembered having Bibimbap before and found it to be quite OK so I chose the Dolsot Bibimbap (mixed rice in hot stone pot), said to be one of the tastiest dishes in Korean cuisine.
I wouldn’t use the word ‘tasty’ to describe the Bibimbap I had.. maybe ‘weird’. The flavor was complicated too. It wasn’t sweet, wasn’t sour, wasn’t spicy nor bitter. You could say I was very confused with this dish. And that would be my kindest comment I could give.
Luckily, really lucky there were some other dishes that we had like the Pajeon and Bulgogi (marinated barbecued beef) that were more suited to my tastebuds. The pancake had to be eaten while it’s still warm and crispy before it turns into an oily, soggy pizza like thing. And the sweet-tasting Bulgogi is typically enjoyed with a lettuce wrap.
While I did not enjoy the food too much (just a personal preference) the decor and ambiance of Go-gung is commendable. They really spent a lot of effort to recreate a Korean Palace kind of feeling here, which I think was pretty successful.
However, the same couldn’t be said for the service. The best way to sum up my feeling in the most Malaysian way possible is “eating here is like I owe you money like that”. It really wouldn’t hurt just to smile a little, or be a bit more courteous towards your customers.
After this meal my perception towards Korean food remains the same. If I am loaded, maybe I wouldn’t mind visiting more Korean restaurants in future. Sadly I am not so I think I will just skip any Korean food in future, they are not cheap you know?
But! If you were a non-Korean food eater but managed to convert to a Korean food lover now, I would like to hear your story and perhaps share with me which restaurant in Malaysia changed your mind. I believe there is a turning point when it comes to food – just like how I learnt to appreciate sashimi and how it became my favorite dish in Japanese cuisine after dining at Kin Shui Tei.
Lot 212, Level 3,
The Gardens, Mid Valley City
GPS Coordinates: N3 07.145 E101 40.538
Tel: 03 2287 2981
ah ah ah … we have exactly the same taste in term of Korean food. I can not eat Kimchi too; but usually Korean meat is very good.
I’m also one of those who don’t fancy Korean food as much as Japanese, one thing is it’s mainly barbeque-ing and that’s about it.
Kimchi, is one of my fav! There’s a little Korean mart at Sri Hartamas and they homemade Kimchi to sell. I’m hooked and always had some with Japanese rice and some pickled bits.
Korean food never appear on my food radar screen. However, Chua Lam the Hong Kong based writer, connoisseur once wrote an interesting dinning experience he had in korea.
In the 60s while holiday in korea ,Chua visited a seaside where Korean women (a.k.a sea-women) extract abalone and provide tour for a living. Together w a boatman and 2 sea-women ,Chua sailed off to a nearby shallow sea. The boatman jumped off and swam back to shore leaving Chua and the women on board. The women set-up a bbq stove while entertaining Chua with wine and songs, moment later both women stripped and dive into the water and back with some freshly extracted abalones. They had the abalone bbq while providing more entertainment to Chua. After much abalone + wine +entertainment ,Chua felt asleep on top of those women laps, then the boatman swam back to the boat and rowed them back to shore.
If any of our seafood restaurant in Klang would offer this kind of dinning experience, pls let me know. (replace abalone with siham will be just fine)
Danny’s story sounds odd.
I don’t like kimchi and I will never step into any Korean restaurants. Sorry.
try bee won in ampang: B5 1-1, One Ampang Business Center,
Jalan Ampang, 68000 Selangor.definitely cheaper then go gung too :) however, i’m one who loves kim chi, so yeah :P
probably you can try woo ga chon, just opposite yuen steamboat, behind the petrol station… or seo gung in ss2, starbucks that row.. there’s a lot more in korean village, opposite ampang point… just don’t go to those in shopping malls or solaris… they are really expensive…
Hi vkeong, I really enjoy your blog and the pictures *drooling*… As I often share your blog with my colleagues (and some of them are Malays), I was wondering if you can add some remarks in your blog, i.e. halal, pork free etc. Currently, I help to call up the restaurant each time before we have our company gathering at those places you recommended. Hope my wish can be granted – cheers!
My first experience with korean food wasn’t nice. I was not used to it. But after a few tries i like korean food especially kimchi. The pungent smell of the garlic and some other stuff in it made me like it more after several tries and the way korean food is prepared is quite fascinating. Like the things they use to season the meat you can taste the base is fermented soy beans, and others would be like sesame oil, something simple and plain. Not complicating and i don’t taste much msg in it compared to chinese food. But the dishes won’t turn out too bland for me.
My first experience eating Korean food was at Dae Jang Gum Korean BBQ House at B-3-1-1 One Ampang Avenue, Jalan Ampang Utama 1/2, 68000 Ampang (Opposite De Palma Hotel Ampang). The food is really soooooooooo good I am a fan now…. This restaurant was recommended by a friend who has gone to most of the Korean restaurants in Ampang… So far, this is the best according to him.
The food came about RM75 for 3 persons. We were really full. We ordered pork, chicken and 1 seafood+tauhu soup (red in colour). Since one of us didn’t take beef, my friend said that the beef rib soup is really great too. It comes with rice (must eat korean food with rice, really sedap).
I fall in love with Korean food after been to a homie korean food restaurant. No doubt Korean bbq is famous, however, the homie and traditional korean food is more impressive and tempted. you may go to strand kota dmnsara Bulgogi BBQ house for the homie koread food. so far, one of the best in PJ area, and taste like Korean Mama’s cooked food.
hmm.. I’m Korean and looking for a good lunch for tomorrow n end-up write something here.. haha.. Maybe go to Korean restaurant which my family usualy go.. GoGung food is actually not bad for Korean(at least my local Chinese wife). We very much enjoy but..its too expensive so we go there once a blue-moon.. :) GoGung food is basically nice and authentic taste if compare to others but just over budget. By the way, all the photos are taken by you?? Very good photos anyway.. in KL, there are lots of Korean restaurant but few are tasty actually.. most of them are just horrible. Not even closer to real Korean food….because most of the foods in there are cooking by non-Korean… haha.. you guys actually eat “don’t know-what” food from most Korean restaurant but,, if you try bbq, you will have nice memory of Korean food. If you guys really want to go Good/Cheap/Nice Korean restaurant, send me an email then I may let you know where to go… :)
Annyeong, James Kim ssi! May I know what good korean restaurants you would recommend in Klang Valley? Thanks!
Though it sounds very obvious, there’s nothing like going to the place of origin to taste those delicacies. But to be frank, the pricing is surprisingly similar between Malaysia and Korea.
Sorry this post seems kinda out of topic. :P
i went to the korean food kiosk somewhere near cold storage, the gardens, the taste has been modified to suit the malaysian tongue, a touch of sweet, sour n spicy…cheap n definitely not weird…
i think, its all about the place u went to eat, many times, my experience of eating korean food is fabulous esp. during my trip in jeju, the mackerel kimchi and abalone porridge is just out of the world…
excuse me mr vkeong..i found your sites when i tried to search some info on GoGung restaurants..i am a Muslim and i am trying to find out the halal-ness of GoGung restaurants..you tagged halal in your post and according to my friends, GoGung does not serve any alcohol or pork..but that does not sufficient to say a restaurant is halal..i looked under Jakim website, and it is not registered..but that also does not mean GoGung is not halal..sorry being a bit fussy about this matter but for a Muslim like me, it is a serious matter..halal does not mean no alcohol no pork