Pig's knuckle/trotters/feet, Korean style! :b
Korean spicy freshwater snail "salad"/mix
The raw fish dish we got comped because
it's the restaurant's 10th anniversary :)
Last night, I had dinner with a friend at a restaurant that I first read about years ago but only went to for the first time yesterday. It's not that the review I read for Apgujeong Korean Tent Bar was negative. But it's one of the rare Korean restaurants in Hong Kong that's only open in the evening -- leading me to suspect (correctly, as it turned out) that its portions are on the large side and thus is not a place to dine solo at. Also, it's located in a part of the Big Lychee that I don't often go to -- and in fact, when I ventured over to Knutsford Terrace last night, I got to thinking that this was the first time I had set foot there in more than seven years!
Thanks to Openrice, I had seen pages of the restaurant's extensive menu and knew that Apgujeong Korean Tent Bar offered dishes that aren't readily found in most other Korean restaurants here in Hong Kong. And when it came time to order, my friend -- who happens to be Korean, and told me that she had been brought to celebrate her birthday some years ago at this eatery -- and I zeroed in on a couple of those.
After seeing golbaengi muchim, a spicy "salad" whose ingredients include red pepper flakes, garlic, sesame seeds, thin rice noodles, carrots, Asian pear and freshwater snails, on the menu, I decided to go for it -- and hoped that Apgujeong Korean Tent Bar's version would be closer in taste to the versions I've had in Seoul rather than the ones I've tried at other Korean restaurants in Hong Kong. And so it proved, with this restaurant's golbaengi muchim being spicy like the dish is supposed to be but not overwhelmingly so; with the result being that I also could taste such as the sweetness of the slices of Asian pear and the nuttiness of the sesame seeds that were part of the mix.
My friend's choice of dish to share was jokbal, stewed pig's knuckle/trotters/feet which you slather with chili paste and wrap slices of in a lettuce or similar type of vegetable leaf together with some kimchi (pickled vegetables), then put the whole thing in your mouth, after which you are rendered silent for a minute or so as you chew away at it all! This was the first time I had jokbal -- and I have to say that I found it to be fabulous; better even than the similar bossam, whose main ingredient is pork rather than the more scary sounding part of the pig, which actually can be "melt in your mouth" rather than rubbery like some people fear.
However delicious the food was, it was proving to be quite the struggle to finish off the dishes we had ordered because the portions were really generous. And this being a Korean restaurant which my friend happily pronounced to be pretty authentic, we also got served complimentary banchan -- various side dishes (including cabbage kimchi, black beans and green vegetables) to munch on for variety -- as a matter of course.
So our eyes turned pretty wide when the waitress came over and put a plate of hwe, Korean style raw fish which is cut in a different way -- and consequently has a different texture -- from Japanese sashimi, on our table. As we hastened to tell her that we hadn't ordered that dish, she told us that it was on the house because the restaurant was celebrating its 10th anniversary. And because it was tasty as well as on the small side (especially compared to the dishes we had ordered), we actually had no problems polishing off all of this!
After the amazing feast that my friend and I had there, I definitely want to return to Apgujeong Korean Tent Bar really soon. I'm actually rather surprised that the eatery was not very full last night -- though, I suppose, the fact that it was a Monday night could help explain this, along with the place not being the easiest to find since it's not located a floor above the row of restaurants that many people may mistakenly think is all there is to Knutsford Terrace's dining (and drinking) options.
About the only "problem" I have with Apgujeong Korean Tent Bar -- apart from its name not tripping easily off my tongue! -- is that after enjoying the dishes we had last night so much, it's going to be difficult to resist ordering them again when I next visit. At the same time, it's something I feel I shouldn't do as there are so many other interesting dishes on the menu to try, some of them -- like with the jokbal -- for the first time ever!
Something else that occurred to me while writing this blog post is that I may have trouble getting some of my other friends to agree to eat a meal featuring "exotic" ingredients like freshwater snails, pig's feet/knuckle/trotters and such. But, hey, I'm figuring that Hong Kong may be one of the best places in the world to find such willing folks. Now if I were still living in Wisconsin, then I would feel like I'd have no such chance or luck! ;b