While Kimchi Jjigae (Korean kimchi soup) is the most popular Korean soup dish, my personal favorite has always been the little sibling of it – Sundubu Jjigae, or the Korean Spicy Tofu Stew.
Sundubu Jjigae is often made with unpressed tofu, with onion, mushroom, and seafood or pork. It is a whole pot of goodness with everything you can ask for in terms of texture, taste, and nutrition, the only way to make this better is to have it at somewhere cold, like Genting or Cameron highland.
Here’s my way of making this dish, I use a Chinese clay pot for the purpose but you can easily use a normal pot for this.
Korean spicy tofu soup in a clay pot
Ingredients for 2-3 pax:
a handful of seafood – prawns, scallops, or mussels (you can also use pork/chicken)
2 tubes of tofu
1/2 an onion, sliced
a handful of tofu, sliced
4-5 bulbs of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup of kimchi (optional)
spring onion, chopped (optional)
gochujang – 1.5 tablespoon
cooking oil – 1 tablespoon
Korean chili powder – 1 teaspoon (optional)
Heat up cooking oil and start frying garlic until slightly fragrant
add seafood, then onion & mushroom and stir for a minute
add soup stock or water and bring to boil
add kimchi, gochujang, and chili powder
boil the pot for the next 5-10 minutes until texture is to your liking
add tofu for the last minute
crack and egg and add spring onion just before serving
I use a claypot for this spicy tofu soup recipe
If you’re a fan of this dish, now you know how to make it at home! Pretty simple really and the only “special” ingredient is perhaps gochujang, but you can substitute for it as well.
I haven’t had any Korean food this Corona lockdown period, so naturally it calls for a home made affair to satisfy the cravings. Since there’s no easy way to install an exhaust fan in the dining room to simulate that Korean BBQ experience, I thought kimchi jiggae (kimchi soup) should make a decent replacement, which it did!
So without further ado, here’s my homemade kimchi soup recipe, if you decide to DIY at home too.
1000 ml soup stock – i used leftover pork bone soup
3-4 bulb garlic
1 inch ginger, sliced
2-300 gram pork belly
1-2 tube Japanese tofu
3-4 tablespoon Gochujang (Korean red chili paste)
200 gram kimchi
spring onion & cilantro
heat up soup stock and add garlic and ginger
add pork and boil till pork is soft on low heat (depends on thickness, 20-40 mins)
add gochujang & kimchi, boil for another 10 mins
add spring onion, egg & tofu for the last 3 mins
serve with cilantro on top
Simple, wholesome, and great for rainy day, you can have this soup as is or with a bowl of steamed rice.
Korean food is usually associated with retractable chimneys on every table with meat grilling on the stove and a plethora of small dishes everywhere. Well, that sort of formula is glorious for weekend dinners, but not exactly practical or economical for lunch.
Then we have the lunch sets at Onsemiro Korean restaurant at the Intermark.
Onsemiro Korean Fine Dining restaurant at Intermark KL
Onsemiro is located at the end of the second floor at the Intermark Mall, right above the entrace to Double Tree Hilton. On the outside, the restaurant is much bigger than the exterior would have you believed, with classy decoration, semi-open kitchen, and a side of wall displaying wine and soju to choose from as well.
spicy tofu soup set, RM 25++
Unlike most Korean restaurants, Onsemiro is pork free (which can be a blessing or a curse, depending on the individual), so dishes that comes with pork traditionally, such as kimchi jiggae, is substituted with chicken. The result turns rather decent though.
For lunch, there are quite a lot of sets to choose from, with pricing started at about RM 20 to RM 40 and up. If you’re flash an Intermark pass card, there’s a 10% discount too.
lunch sets starts at around RM 20 upwards, with plenty to choose from
One of my favorite lunch sets there is the spicy tofu soup that packs quite a bit of punch in intensity. There’s half a crab in the soup, silky smooth tofu, and of course, kimchi. The set also comes with six banchan (small dishes) and rice (you can ask for cold noodle too). Additionally, every set is followed by desserts.
Their beef short ribs set (RM 43++) is rather delicious as well, and my colleagues reported that the beef patties were more than satisfactory too.
If you work nearby, try this, but do call ahead for booking as it tends to get packed everyday.
Address: Onsemiro Korean Fine Dining The Intermark, Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.16154, 101.71996 Tel: 03-2161 2461
Ampang Park is said to be the oldest shopping mall of such set up in the country. First opened its door in 1973, this place has been in existence since our current Prime Minister’s father was in office as the Prime Minster.
Recently, my office moved to Intermark, which is located just right across the road from Ampang Park, so naturally I went to check out some of the lunch options at this place since the two buildings are connected by a skybridge.
food court at Ampang Park, the oldest shopping mall in Malaysia
As it turns out, the oldest mall also has one of the oldest food courts at the top floor. There are a variety of hawker stalls at the area, but two that caught my eyes were the Korean and the Vietnamese food outlets.
Both of these places are pork free, and offers exceptional value.
Vietnamese beef, chicken or fish noodle at RM 5.00 to RM 6.00
The Vietnamese dishes are typically made from the same soup base, you can get beef noodle, beef stew noodle, beef ball noodle, chicken noodle, and like the example above, fish noodle for the price of RM 4.50 to RM 6.00.
There’s mint leaves, fish sauce, and a soup base that’s undoubtedly Vietnamese, but don’t expect great cut of beef or beef tendons in them. A pair of spring rolls here goes for RM 2.50 and they are rather decent too.
The Vietnamese lady who operate this place doesn’t speak much English, but can converse in Malay, and of course in Vietnamese.
kimchi soup ramen for RM 7.00
If you fancy some cheap Korean food, just look at the busiest stall in this food court.
The menu here includes Korean glass noodle with soup (RM 6.50), seafood noodle soup (RM 6.50), mixed vegetable rice (RM 6.50), kimchi rice roll (RM 6.50), bibimbap (RM 7), kimchi pancake (RM 6.50), kimchi soup rice (RM 7), kimchi fried rice (RM 6.50), and more.
Most of these dishes come with side dishes that includes kimchi, vegetable, bean sprout, and an omelette lookalike thingy.
the ramen noodle comes with a side dish of 4 too
My favourite dishes from the Korean food stall is the kimchi ramen noodle that also comes with side dishes that goes for RM 7. The soup isn’t very intense, but for the price you can’t really ask for more. There’s plenty of kimchi and overall taste is rather decent.
The only complain I have is that the portion is perhaps overly huge though.
If you work or happen to around the area and want something cheap and decent for lunch, here’s a food court to check out.
Address: Ampang Park Food Court Level 2 Ampang Park Shopping Centre Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.16054, 101.71947 Hours: weekday lunch
When we think about wine pairing, Korean food isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. In fact, the only type of alcohol that’s associated with Korean cuisine, in most Malaysian’s mind, is soju and nothing else, not even beer.
So you could say that I was a little bit intrigued by what’s in store for us when I was invited to a wine/cocktail pairing dinner at Bulgogi Brothers.
Bulgogi Brothers at Paradigm Mall
Bulgogi Brothers is a pretty big chain of Korean restaurants that has its presence in Korea, the Philippines, Canada, and Malaysia. There are currently four branches located at Paradigm Mall (this review), Pavilion KL, Mid Valley Megamall, and e@Curve.
The one key difference between Bulgogi Brothers and most other Korean restaurants is that they are pork free.
banchan, including kimchi, lotus roots and even kangkung
Like pretty much all Korean dinners, we were served several dishes of banchan, or small Korean dishes to start.
The variety isn’t fantastic, there’s a bowl of corn, sweet potato & edamame, then there’s kimchi, lotus roots, and a few types of vegetables. They tastes alright, but if you expect to have a dozen different types of banchan like it is often served at other Korean places, you will be disappointed.
makguli goes well with haemul pajeon (Korean pancake), spicy chicken maekjeok
Our first real dish of the night was haemul pajeon, or Korean seafood pancake (RM 27.90). The pancake is packed with ingredients such as prawns, mussels, squid, and green onions. It wasn’t too thick nor soggy, and I thought it was done very nicely.
We had makguli cocktail, the milky Korean rice wine with strawberry puree to go with it. The wine is unfiltered and made from fermented rice, wheat, and water. I would describe it to be like a powered up vitagen, tasty!
The makguli is priced at RM 25 per bottle, and a jug of makguli cocktail at RM 27.90.
soju needs no introduction, the corn soup was creamy and delicious
Next up was soju and paired with spicy chicken maekjeok (RM 20.90). The chicken on skewer is not entirely unlike our satey but carries a slight tangy, sweet, and spicy taste to it. The dark meat is soft and juicy, and the stronger taste of meat goes well with the clean and natural taste of soju.
The soju is served chilled, RM 19.90 per bottle (Chum Churum brand), or if you prefer, in a sort of Korean mojitocalled soji-to at RM 14.90 per glass.
Bulgogi Brothers also served us a bowl of thick and creamy corn soup that was beautiful.
galbi kkotsal – boneless marinated beef short ribs
No Korean meal is complete without some good old fashion Korean BBQ.
Our galbi kkotsal (RM 72.90), or boneless beef short ribs marinated in special bulgogi sauce, came with a bit over a dozen pieces of meat, garlic, onion, and mushroom. In comparison with other places, the price is on the high side, and according to our host, this is due to the better cut of beef chosen.
I thought it was perhaps just a bit too sanitized and didn’t taste quite as flavorful as other places. It was decent nonetheless, but at over RM 70, one might think twice choosing this from the menu. It went well with soju, however.
bulgogi brothers special with black raspberry wine
Next up was Bulgogi Brothers Special (RM 81.90), a combination of Unyang and Gwangyang-style bulgogi. In another word, beef patties and thinly sliced beef, with the latter fried in combination with green onion and garlic.
The beef were pretty juicy and not lacking in flavor, portion wise this dish isn’t too bad either. The pairing was a bottle of wine made from black raspberries and plums, very sweet and absolutely delightful, the type of wine that is perhaps more appropriate for dessert, but I’m not complaining. It was delightful.
The wine was Bokbunjajoo and priced at RM 58.50 per bottle.
chicken bibimbap, KY, Haze, Hitomi, Marcus
Our last item in the tasting menu was chicken bibimbap (RM 26.90), a popular Korean dish with meat, vegetable, and a raw egg all mixed together in a stone bowl. I never quite find a taste for bibimbap and this experience did not change my mind. Others said it was perhaps a tad too dry, I’m not qualified to comment though, I didn’t like it.
In conclusion, I think the ambiance and dining experience in Bulgogi Brothers is certainly on par with some of the nicer restaurants, food wise it isn’t exactly top notch, but if you have a taste for some Korean alcohol experience or if you’re looking for a decent pork-free Korean restaurant, this chain isn’t a bad place to start.
Address: Bulgogi Brothers The Boulevard, Paradigm Mall Kelana Jaya, Petaling Jaya Selangor GPS: 3.108806, 101.59564 Tel: 03-7886 3543