Or at least, I think the name of the place was 88 Kimbab . It was 88 something….anyway it was a little hole in the wall Korea restaurant specializing in Korean street food that Iris and I decided to try last week. I have forgotten the full name but I know that it was 88 something. This is a theme in Korean restaurants in KL. Iris works nears a restaurant called Gangham88 which advertises as having a Bose stereo loudly and proudly playing music. Some would say bad music but those people have other things to blog about right now.
So we went out searching for a new restaurant in Desa Sri Hartamas, our new neighborhood. (When we do finally get internet in our apartment, Iris promises that she will write a blog about said new apartment with pictures) We decided on this hole in the wall Korean restaurant because, well, we were in the mood for Korean and we find the Korean BBQ places with the grills on the table and the individual ventilation ducts a bit daunting. It advertizes as specializing in street food, which is right up our alley as well! First up, our drinks!
It was a rice drink, with bits of rice floating in it…which I hated. Because it will come up later, this is the kind of thing that makes me gag. The liquid itself is great, but the whole concept of having chunks of things that come up the straw is just weird. Bubble tea? Never understood it, thought it was weird and still think it is weird. But someone else loved it!
Next up, the food. We went with three different options. One was familiar, one was new but a safe bet, and one was the fulfillment of a food bucket list!
First, the familiar: Fried Dumplings. Fried dough + pork=awesome. This is pretty close to a certainty. It is hard to mess this dish up and this place did not disappoint.
In this picture you also can see the kimchee! Necessary for any korean meal. There were a ton of condiments with the meal. Iris disagreed and thought these were just free snacks you nibble on. I love her but I am pretty sure she is wrong. There was kimchee, some kind of pickled, spiced ham, pickled radish of some kind, and soy sauce. The dumplings were good on their own, great with kimchee. I never had kimchee I think until I had it in the Inchon airport and now having it a second time, I wonder what else I have been missing out on in life!
Next, the new but safe bet:
Also, a better shot of some of the condiments. Bean sprouts of course as well. Of course, because they are super super super cheap here in KL. The object on the right is the spicy pork roll. New, but a safe bet. While I have never had this meal, I have had all the ingredients and had some similar items so this was a safe bet for something we would like. And it delivered. It was also my first time eating anything close to be sushi. Not eating fish, I always stayed away from sushi. “But you can get sushi without fish in it!” says everyone I have ever told that I have never had sushi. Yeah, but I am not going to go to a sushi restaurant or any restaurant where right away I know 95% of the menu I can not eat without the chance of getting violently ill.
Side story: I had a fish ball when I first came here to KL without my knowledge and was fine. I have had items with shrimp paste or fish sauce in it and have been fine. But I have not had a piece of fish in over 20 years. My mother disputes it, but when I was a child I got sick eating fish at my grandmother’s house. And my mother and grandmother made me eat more fish, and I got sick. And they made me eat another piece and I got sick. I never had fish since then. This was maybe 25 years ago or so. It happened Mother, I did not imagine it! Why did you make me eat that fish after I threw up? Why?
Um…excuse me. Sorry, had a little flashback there to something terrible. So where was I? Ah yes, sushi. Anyway, it was not sushi but to someone like me who has never had sushi, it felt like it to me. And it was great. There was a nice balance of the ingredients and it had a nice balance between sweet and spicy.
And now, the bucket list item!
Do you know what that is?!?! It’s Sundae! Aka blood sausage! From Wikipedia:
Sundae (Korean pronunciation: [sʰundɛ], also commonly spelled soondae) is a Korean dish made generally by boiling or steaming cow or pig’s intestines that are stuffed with various ingredients. It is a kind of blood sausage and believed to have been eaten for a long time. The recipes related to sundae can be found in Joseon cookbooks published in 19th century such as “Gyuhap chongseo“ and “Siuijeonseo“.
The most common type of sundae is made of pig’s intestines stuffed with cellophane noodles (dangmyeon), barley, and pork blood, although some variants also contain perilla leaves, scallions (pa), fermented soybean paste (doenjang), glutinous rice, kimchi, and soybean sprouts. It is a popular street food in North Korea and South Korea. In fact, there is a neighborhood called Sundae Town in Sillim-dong that has many restaurants specializing in sundae.”
This was the kind that was intestines stuffed with noodles and pork blood.Blood sausage is on my food bucket list so I was ecstatic when I saw this on the menu. I am going to keep blood sausage on the list because this was one kind of it and is very different from what I might find in Europe or other asian cultures.
Remember how the drink made me gag a little? This made Iris gag a lot. I honestly thought that this was it, that two weeks into our lives here in KL one of us was going to throw up in the restaurant. But she tried one piece and that is enough. I had a slight gag when I thought about what it was I was eating. But once I blocked that out, I could focus on the dish. And it was just okay.There was some texture issues with the casing, which I believe was intestine as it was chewy, like when you have real hot dogs stuffed in intestine casings. But generally it tasted like….well….not sand but that is what I want to say because it had all these little pieces of stuff that added up to the totality of the dish. The noodles, the barley, the blood, all were distinct little cubes put into the casing and cut up. And that is what it tasted like in my mouth: Little cubes of very different things that were not mixing well in my mouth. Also, the dumplings and pork roll were really good and filing, so the Sundae suffered by comparison I think.
But overall, Korean food is great! This restaurant was great and, shock of shocks, cheap! We will be back again as they offer a nice little carry out selection of prepared food, and because we want to try kimchi fried rice!