Original Korean TasteLast weekend friends of ours took us out to a Korean restaurant; Bornga at Vivo City. The fact that one of them is Korean and had made substantial investigations into which one in Singapore she considered authentic and good enough, we knew we were in for a treat. This was my first experience of a Korean bbq and another test to my novice chopstick use, especially as Korean chopsticks are made of metal and very thin (in fact I think I found the easier than the normal Chinese ones I am growing accustomed too)
There was quite a queue as we arrived even though we had got there early (always a good sign in Singapore is a queue!!) fortunately Y knew the owner and we were able to go straight through even though they don't do bookings - felt very VIP! This was also good as hubby had just returned from a trip overseas a couple of hours earlier and with a 17 hours journey behind him he was, as usual, ravenous (I was slightly concerned as well that if we didn't get in quickly jetlag might hit and he could fall asleep at the table!)
We were very surprised when we were brought a very large tray of lettuce that took up half the table, along with whole chillies and carrots. It was explained that you use the lettuce leaf like you would a tortilla and wrap your meat, once dipped in the various sauces, with the "pickles"in the lettuce leaf. This is believed to cut down on the cholesterol and indeed makes sense but either way is certainly more healthier for you.
The waiter brought out various dips for the meat and numerous "kimchi" dishes. We had tried and loved kimchi bought from a local Korean store close to home and seem to have a tub permenantly in the fridge. In Korea they in fact have fridges especially for Kimchi. I would best describe it as a spicy pickled cabbage with a slightly fishiness to it - delicious I can assure you!!! At the restaurant we were told that in fact kimchi is a term used to describe various pickles.
We started the meal first with water kimchi - a spicy cool liquid with the ever present cabbage and cucumber
This was then followed by a spicy pancake/omelette containing vegetables. This is served with a soy dipping sauce. I did struggle here trying to cut this up with chopsticks, gave up and used a spoon for help! the soy sauce gave another dimension to this, and I went back for seconds!
On each table is a sunken drum in which the lit coals are placed, above which a "chimney" is pulled across to take away the smoke. I have read that in other restaurants it can become very smokey and the air can be quite poor, so was pleased with this.
There were many side dishes to add to the lettuce wraps of radish kimchi, raw garlic, bean sprouts and pickled chillies etc. We were then served a really tasty rice dish that sadly I didn't get the name of, but would certainly have again.
Next came the meat....... and plenty of meat there was! two types of beef were cooked over the bbq followed by another two different types of very thin cut pork, very delicious especially when dipped in the sauces. Although making wraps with the lettuce was nice, the lettuce was rather wet, so after a couple of lettuce meat wraps I just ate the meat and pickles straight from the plate. Cooked on the bbq was also onions and a first for me, thin slices of pumpkins - which was delicious and something I will try at home even on the griddle indoors.
The whole meal was rounded off with a complimentary liquid ice dessert that was flavoured with rose hips, reminded us both of childrens cough mixture, hubby liked it but I wasn't sure.
All in all another enjoyable evening spent with friends and for us another new taste experience...plus I'm getting better with those pesky chopsticks!!