One of the most popular Dak Galbi restaurants from South Korea is now in 1-Utama! Established in 1981 in Busan, there are now more than 100 outlets in South Korea with the very famous ones in Myeongdong and Hongdae catering to hungry crowds. Yoogane opened its first outlet in Malaysia last weekend and there was a crazy long queue outside the restaurant!
So what is “dak galbi”? It’s a much-loved dish prepared from marinating chicken in “gochujang” – spicy red pepper paste for at least 24 hours before stir-frying the meat with cabbage, leeks, onions, potatoes and rice cakes (dokboki).
We decided to check Yoogane out as Korean food ranks pretty high in our list of favourites. We grew very fond of “hansik” when we were researching and tasting Korean food in more than 30 restaurants in the Klang Valley to write a food guide for the Korean Food Foundation a couple of years ago.
Check out the food street constructed with Lego at the entrance of Yoogane!
Like most casual Korean eateries, Yoogane spots a fun contemporary decor. You won’t miss the made-with-Lego typical food street in South Korea showcasing a Yoogane restaurant in the middle. One side of the open-brick wall is painted with cartoon chickens; the whole set-up spells simple casual comfort. The tables in Yoogane are equipped with stoves and cast iron pans as the dak galbi dishes are cooked at table-side. Those special pans come with a rimmed space where mozzarella cheese is placed all round the pan. All the cooking is done by their service crew so diners can just sit back, relax and wait.
Help yourself to the complimentary kimchi and salads!
Once the pan has heated up, the service staff started to stir the chopped chicken, vegetables and dokboki, carefully mixing in the blend of sauces. The aromas that wafted up to our noses made us all the hungrier! Meanwhile the layer of cheese around the pan started to melt and soon the combination of aromas from the dak galbi and cheese became more intense.
After about 10-15 minutes, once all the ingredients have been given some good tosses, it’s time to dig in. The addition of gochugaru (red chilli pepper flakes) gave the dish a nice fiery kick. The dokboki did a good job absorbing the glorious sauce and I particularly liked the purplish sweet potato dokboki. You can choose to add in a whole lot of toppings into the dak galbi like more dokboki, sweet potatoes, fresh vegetables, mushrooms, noodles and more cheese!
We dug up the melted cheese and mix it in the dak galbi and the creaminess of the mozzarella somewhat mellowed the spiciness, giving it a different level of deliciousness.
Cheese Chicken Galbi (RM89.90)
Dak Glabi in Yoogane is served in many variations. We tried it with some octopus added just for that extra bit of briney chewiness!
Chicken Galbi with Chukkumi Octopus (RM32.90)
In Korea, there’s this practice of adding in plain rice to the remnants of dak galbi to soak up all the left-over goodness. Here in Yoogane, we decided to order a serving of their Dak Galbi Fried Rice and it was totally satisfying.
Marinated Chicken Galbi Fried Rice (RM22.90) – combo of Yoogane’s signature chicken galbi and fried rice on a bed of mozzarella
One of my favourite Korean dishes has always been the heart-warming budae jiggae and Yoogane’s version is called the Army Stew. The huge portion (RM89.90) can easily feed 4 adults! It’s a comforting hodge-podge of dak galbi, vegetables, chicken luncheon meat, sausages, baked beans, fishcake, beancurd, kimchi, dokboki, ramyeon and glass noodles simmered with their unique spicy sauce. And all these surrounded by a ring of melted cheese and eggwash. It’s truly heart and tummy warming!
Yoogane’s menu also lists a variety of other popular Korean dishes like their signature Seafood Pancake. The pancake had a good mix of red chillies, spring onions and prawns in it – I wished there was some other seafood besides just the prawns.
Seafood Pancake (RM25.90)
We checked out the Japchae, Naengmyeon and Egg Roll and found them to be decent.
Japchae (RM21.90) Bean vermicelli stir-fried with assorted vegetables and tender chicken strips
Naengmyeon (RM17.90) Korean cold noodles in a refreshing tangy broth
Head on over to Yoogane for some dak galbi love soon!
Lot S3131 Level 2, High Street
(next to Dragon-i)
1-Utama Shopping Mall
Opens daily from 11.30am-10.00pm