Sae Ma Eul, one of the most popular charcoal Korean BBQ chains in town has recently opened at Publika. For a change, a couple of friends and I opted to have our pre-CNY dinner here instead of at a Chinese restaurant.
For dinner, Sae Ma Eul runs a fine promotion which includes two BBQ sets that could be shared among 2-3 people. They come with unlimited refills of water and side dishes as well.
For RM59, the Set A includes sliced pork belly, pork shoulder and baby octopus. They are not stingy with the portion and you can tell that the meat is fresh and more importantly not frozen.
That’s a lot of meat!
For extra flavor, you can opt to top up Grilled Cheese @ RM12 to dip the meat into. Then you can do what the social media is crazy about right now, the cheese pull effect. It sounds like a cheesy thing to do, but I am not going to lie, we did it and even managed to pull the cheese as high as we our hands could reach.
Upon recommendation by the friendly restaurant manager, we also ordered their best seller – pork ribs marinated in special soy sauce @ RM29.
The sauce was awesome alright and the ribs had a sweet and tangy taste, a bit like char siew but not as rich and sticky. I have to say this was freaking delicious, no wonder it’s a popular item.
The other dinner set costs RM81 which includes generous portion slices of pork belly, lamb and grilled chicken. It is obviously a larger set and better suit those who have a bigger appetite or prefer to have different types of meat.
The lamb and pork belly are equally good but the chicken had to be the winner, mainly because it was marinated in a devilish spicy sauce. Lip-smacking good!
Every set B comes with a free can of Hite beer (RM10 value) and I just found out that this brand is actually the top selling beer in South Korea. It is light and sweet, easy to drink with a slight bitter aftertaste.
Besides beer, we had Soju and Makgeolli too. The Banana Makgeolli @ RM24 is one of the rarer flavors you can get and not all the Korean specialty groceries carry it. It’s fruity with a natural sweetness of banana and a creamy smooth finish.
SL is a soup lover so we shared a bowl of pork rib stew @ RM22. The taste is pretty much as expected from a Korean stew, but it’s the addition of chunky pork ribs that made the difference. It was especially satisfying due to the rainy weather.
The LA-Galbi (beef short ribs) is the only beef option in the menu and it shares the same marinade as the pork ribs we had earlier. It is cut across the bone and has a great marbling and juicy flavor that makes it worthwhile despite the price. I’d order this again in a heartbeat, no question.
A serving of Sae Ma Eul’s Spicy Rice Balls @ RM23 is more than enough to share among 4-6 people, and even more depending on how big you roll the rice balls. This was only my second time having Korean rice balls, so I don’t have much to say.
But at least it’s better (more flavorful) than what we had previously at Shinmapo and we also finished everything. By the way you should try grilling the rice ball first to give it a crispy bite.
All in all, it was an enjoyable meal with great company and none of us felt there was anything we could find fault with. Sae Ma Eul’s prices are sensible for the food quality and serving size, and the service we experienced was excellent as well. I think our BBQ pan was replaced with a new one at least 5 times – all without having to ask at all.
Sae Ma Eul Publika
A1-01-09, Publika Shopping Gallery, Solaris Dutamas.
Tel: +603-6211 1541 / 010-270 0972
Business hours: 11am-11.30pm (closed 1 day on the 27th)