A couple weeks ago we were invited to Goong Korean BBQ Restaurant at Ampang with the promise of a hearty traditional Korean meal.
The restaurant is located at the appropriately named “Little Korea” right across the road from Ampang Point, an area littered with many restaurants, with more than half of them serving Korean food.
Goong Korean restaurant at Little Korea in Ampang
The restaurant itself is located on the first floor, right on top of another restaurant that serves, you guessed it, Korean food.
The interior decoration is best described as minimalistic, or if you’re a little more direct, supremely bare. However, one does not eat tables, chairs, nor the pretty paintings on the wall, so if you’re looking for food instead of an ambiance worthy of that fine date you’re bringing, this arrangement would suffice. It was clean and comfortable.
wide selection of banchan to go around
Our foods were pre-ordered by the lady boss, Laura (despite the name, she is Korean), who also doubled as the chef.
First to come were the multitude of banchan, or small dishes that always accompany pretty much any Korean meals. This includes kimchi, seaweed, broccoli, and various other types of vegetable with chili pepper seasoning. They were generally pretty good, I like the fact that the kimchi served was quite strong and well prepared.
grilled meat, the main stay of any Korean BBQ restaurant
Since the name of the place includes the word “BBQ”, they do have classic Korean BBQ dishes in the menu.
We tried Dwaeji Galbi (grilled pork ribs, RM30) and Gochujang Samgyeopsal (Grilled Pork Loin with red hot pepper paste, RM22). The meat were well marinated and tasted pretty decent, but BBQ pork can only go so far, my favorite is still Galbi (marinated beef short ribs), but unfortunately we did not try the version from here.
The point to note is that so far as Korean BBQ pork dishes is concerned, these were more than reasonable.
hot & spicy pork and Mandu (dumpling)
The dish that intrigued us the most was the hot & spicy pork (RM 22) that, according to Laura, required tremendous patient and multitude of steps in preperation, and she also promised that it is a dish you can’t find anywhere within Klang Valley. This is as “traditional” as it gets.
True to her words, it was delicious, and doubly so if you love meat with strong flavor and good dosage of spiciness. I loved it and would not hesitate to order the same thing when I’m there again.
Mandu (dumpling, RM 20) is another home-made affair by the lady boss/chef. While homey and warm, I find the skin a tad too thick for my liking. As far as dumpling goes, I still prefer my siao long bao and sui kao.
Bulgogi jeongol (beef) and Samgyetang (ginseng chicken)
Bulgogi jeongol (beef hot pot,RM 50) is just as what you’d expect from some of the better Korean restaurants. Sweet and flavorful, goes well with a bit of Korean steamed rice and some tea.
The Samgyetang (chicken ginseng soup, RM 30) is a good comfort food perfect for those rainy nights, and one that would probably help my runny nose right now as I’m writing this article. You can also ask for the version with rice stuffed in the chicken’s cavity. This dish was actually my first Korean experience, and I still like it as much after all these years.
bibimbap, Kimchi Jeon (pancake), Kimchi Jigae
If you come alone and prefer something ultra healthy, Goong does serve bibimbap. I was never a fan of one, but this version does taste okay to me.
the Kimchi Jeon (kimchi pancake, RM 25) is, if you would, Korean pizza that tastes like a cross between pancake and pizza but with a strong flavor of kimchi. I find it easy to eat, and would love to have one delivered to my house while watching those late night NFL games.
Last but not least, Haze gave her seal of approval to the most important dish of any Korean restaurant – Kimchi Jiggae (kimchi soup, RM 17). The version here is the first one that she actually liked after we started making our own kimchi soup at home.
This one is strong, spicy, sour, and everything that you’d expect in a top quality kimchi stew. If you like it strong and don’t want to have to cook it yourself, come here, it’s cheaper than the ingredients you’d need to make an equivalent tasting pot too.
owner, daughter, and an enthusiastic Korean customer
We were also fortunate enough to be joined by one of Laura’s friend, a Korean lady who decided to teach us a Korean custom when it comes to drinking – when you empty your glass, place it over your head to indicate that you actually finished the glass.
We had a good time over the session, and Goong Korean BBQ restaurant, while not perfect, did deliver what it promised – a wholesome, hearty, traditional Korean meal. I think it is a place worth checking out for yourself.
Chef Wan is my favorite Malaysian celebrity chefs of all. The man has arguably done the most for Malaysian cuisine than anyone ever had. I was genuinely proud when I saw his cooking show on TV when I was in Vietnam.
The man is my hero.
Chef Wan went around and gave tips to the contestants
I finally got to see the man in real life a couple Saturdays ago during Pencarian Chef Selebriti 2 dan Gas PETRONAS event. Together with Petronas Dagangan Berhad‘s Nik Faizanira Nik Affandi, and Berita Harian‘s Jami’ah Sokri, they were the panel of judges for the event.
Pencarian Chef Selebriti 2 Berita Harian dan Gas PETRONAS at the Curve, Damansara
Before I got ahead of myself, Pencarian Chef Selebriti 2 BH dan Gas PETRONAS is the second year of the unique competition that has the aim to find chefs who has interesting personality, highly eloquent, and be able to communicate and capture audience with his/her culinary knowledge. Of course, one must also be able to cook up great dishes.
Our hosts of the day were two very funny guys – Angah Raja Lawak and Mie Raja Lawak.
Mohd Zamri bin Sahari, the emcees, Kamarudin bin Dali, Riza bin Ismail
The competition was separated into two main categories – individual and professional. Kimberly and I attended the event just as the professional category was getting started.
These were the three finalists
Mohd Zamri bin Sahari, 25, Culinary lecturer and freelance chef
Riza bin Ismail, 28, Executive Chef
Kamarudin bin Dali, 38, Hotel Chef
and they had one hour to prepare an appetizer and a main dish
The chefs were given one hour to come up with an appetizer and a main dish to impress the judges. Ample ingredients were given, which includes seafood, vegetable, meat, mushroom, seasonings, and so on. Blender, pots, pans, knife and all other necessary kitchen utensils were available as well.
While there’re kitchen helpers for the individual event, professional chefs had to do it all by themselves.
Ayu OIAM, Baby Shima, and Adam AF were among the p performers
While the contestants were busy cooking, we were entertained by Ayu OIAM, Baby Shima, and Adam AF. Chef Wan also went around to the contestants to give advice and asked questions as well.
An hour later, all three chefs successfully completed their two dishes each.
a photo with the contestants and judges, before tasting begins
Then there’s judging time, and boy was Chef Wan an awesome judge.
He was harsh, to the point, and absolutely non-nonsense in his criticism to each dish and the contestants. It was a bit like Simon Cowell, except maybe with even more drama.
Case in point – “if orang mat salleh eat your under cooked potato, they’ll throw it to you”.
To be fair, he also gave some very good advice. If anything, I am now even more impressed with Chef Wan.
Chef Wan was harsh, to the point, and very very good in his critics
Among the dishes mussels in Thai sauce (which was criticized by Chef Wan for deviating away from 1Malaysia theme), salmon with begedil, deep fried tiger prawns, roti jala and so forth. They were beautifully decorated.
and here are your winners! congratulations
At the end, Mohd Zamri bin Sahari was crowned as the champion. His bergedil with pan seared salmon was praised by Chef Wan, and on top of that, I thought he was the most eloquent among the three contestants as well. The prize was RM 10,000, and a 6 month contract for Berita Harian penning the cooking column.
Riza bin Ismail and Kamarudin bin Dali came in as 2nd and 3rd place.
In the individual category, Chua Tor Aik won the top prize, while Azman Abu Samah and Rosni binti Johari were 2nd and 3rd.
I wish the best to the winning chefs and to the runner ups, there’s always next year.
After the event I tried to replicate the winning main dish – bergedil with pan seared salmon. It turned out to be a pretty simple dish to make, and one that wasn’t bad at all when it comes to taste as well. Check out the video!
If you’ve been paying attention in the digital photography world, you’ve surely heard about the Samsung Galaxy Camera by now. It is simply a camera that changes everything with regards of how we share photos. After all, great photos are meant to be seen, and a photo that isn’t accessible isn’t one that’s very useful.
Samsung Galaxy Camera panaroma photo at batu caves
A short summary of the camera’s specifications:
Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
1.4 GHz Quad-Core Processor
Powerful 21X Optical Zoom Lens
23 MM Wide Angel Lens
1080P Full HD Video Recording
121.1 MM (4.8”), 308 ppi, HD Super Clear Touch Display
16.3 Megapixel ½.3” BSI CMOS
sample photos taken with Samsung Galaxy Camera
I’ve had the Samsung Galaxy Camera for more than a couple weeks now, and I gotta say I’m rather impressed by this more than capable gadget. Besides looking great, the most important feature of all is that it runs on Android (Jelly Bean) and has 3G capabilities.
You can now get the Samsung Galaxy Camera for as low as RM 1499 with Celcom’s First Data Lite plan, the camera is otherwise priced at RRP of RM 1,899, so that’s a good RM 300-400 savings. Check out the plan below:
With the data plan you can pretty much share your photos instantly from basically anywhere to all your favorite social networks. I’ve been posting to instagram (check out instagram.com/kyspeaks) almost exclusively with photos taken from this camera in the past couple weeks.
The photo quality beats mobile phone’s quality hands down.
And it was another Xmas Eve Party at SS3, a yearly tradition that we’ve had since 2004 (except for 2010), if you’re counting, this was the 8th time on the same venue with the same concept – plenty of drinks, a bit of food, and a tricky gift exchange program by midnight.
The idea is for everyone to have some fun counting down to Christmas day, and at the same time an excuse to have a few drinks and mingle among like minded friends.
xmas eve party at SS3, 2012
Carlsberg Malaysia was kind enough to sponsor us some beer for the night – we had 2 cases of Carlsberg, Asashi Super Dry, and Kronenbourg Blanc each. Thank you Pearl, Calvin, and Serin!
I made some bergedil, haze marinated pork for bbq, Fresh made santa berries
Other than the beer, we prepared some food for the night. Haze marinated more than 3 KGs of pork for BBQ and prepared a small slab of roast pork, I made some bergedil, and Fresh prepared her little cute Santaberries.
It wasn’t a dinner event, so these were just beer food.
So that was 17-17 with a total of 34 people, a pretty nice turn out despite a few notable absence due to work, travel, and family commitments. You know who you are, and we hope to see you next year.
David, Yee Hou, Desmond, Michael, Kerol, Horng, Firdy, Gary
We had another fun filled gift exchange program with the following rules this year
every participant contribute a gift worth over RM 49.90, and then draw a number from the box
smallest number start by picking and unwrapping a gift
next number can snatch the opened gift, whereby the person who lost it gets to choose another gift, or snatch another opened gift
maximum of 3 snatching sequence per round
The most snatched gift was a sweet Puma Ducati bag from Fooi that’s actually retailed at over RM 300, Lance went home with it. Other memorable gifts include portable air bed, Chinese liquor, ice cream, Thor’s Hammer bottle opener, a couple of salami from Australia.
Terence ended up with a pair of blue lingerie, who would have thought, right?
Gary, Geoffery, Horng; Yee Hou, Fresh, Yuki, Haze; and finally, the drunken man
The men in blue visited us by around 2 am and that’s when the party was winding down. The ending of this party is almost exactly the same as the one in 2008 where we had a dude in Afro K-O-ed on the floor. It was a blast.
For those of you who are frequent visitors of this blog, you are probably right to guess that one of the adventures I love to indulge in is diving (and of course, food, but you know that already). It is a hobby that started out some 8 years ago and really got intensified in the last 3 years or so.
So far, I’ve dived at Tenggol, Redang, Lang Tengah, Pulau Sembilan, Sipadan, Similan Islands, Bali, and even KLCC Aquaria. The experiences in diving are especially rewarding, the tranquility underwater, the island life, and above all, the sense of adventure that comes with it.
After all, there aren’t many activities where you get to see some of the most magnificent animals in their natural habitat up close and personal, I always remember how the manta rays performing their mating rituals right in front of me in Bali, the beautiful leopard sharks resting on the sea floor in Lang Tengah, the curious sea turtles at Sipadan, and more.
Earth is after all, 70% covered with water, and if you stick to not ever getting wet, you’d be missing out quite a lot.
Sharing your adventures and looking for new inspirations if you’re running out of one used mean looking and browsing blogs and your friend’s facebook feeds, but now there’s an easier way.
NESTLÉ DRUMSTICK created the Home Of Adventure Facebook application especially for this purpose, and I urge you to check it out.
The aim of the application is twofold – allowing user to share their adventures, and others to browse and get ideas on what they are and most importantly, where they can do it.
Best of all, these adventures are all right here in Malaysia. The adventures are categorize in Water Extreme, Thrill Seeker, Food Travels, and Nature Quests category.
To view the adventures shared by others, simply access the application, choose either East or West Malaysia, then click on the Adventure pins created by other users. You can read about what they are and check out the pictures or videos uploaded in each of them.
If you want to add your adventure on the same location, you can do so immediately too.
To share your adventure of a new location, click on the Pin Your Adventure tab, choose a state, and then click on the location of your adventure.
After that all you have to do is select a category and describe the adventure in 50 words of less. Optionally you can also upload photos or videos associated with your entry, and viola, it is done. It is simple as that.
As if sharing adventures to other fellow thrill seekers alike isn’t a good enough motivation, doing so might also net you some cash prices!
NESTLÉ DRUMSTICK is giving out a total of RM 35,000 based on the creativity of each user submission. Winner walks away with RM 500 each, so be creative!
The contest runs from 5th Nov – 23rd Dec 2012, so get your submissions in already. Good luck fellow adventurers!