Thursday, 25 July 2013

Kimbap Cheonguk 김밥천국 - with photos!

Dad: Where are we going for lunch?
Mom: Let's go to that little Korean restaurant on North Road.
Dad: You mean the 'four colour words' one?
Mom: Yes, see you there!

So, my family is back at this 'four colour words' restaurant for some cheap and tasty Korean eats. The logo of Kimbap Cheonguk has each Korean character placed in a red, green, yellow, and blue box, respectively. My parents can't read Korean so that's the little nickname they've given this restaurant. It has quickly become one of our favourite places to grab a quick and cheap lunch besides going for local dimsum. Although the menu is small, there are quite a few amazing dishes to be found. Please read my first post for additional details of some of the other dishes we've tried on previous occasions.

Regular Kimbap ($2.99)

The restaurant is called 'Kimbap Heaven', and thankfully the kimbap here certainly does live up to its name. I usually order the Regular Kimbap which is filled with egg, pickled radish, picked cabbage, carrots, and fishcake. But, it is the crispy seaweed that sets this simple dish apart from other similar rolls. It is also the cheapest kimbap around, only $3 for the regular roll! Definitely a winner in Coconut Crumpet's book, I come back just to have their crispy-seaweed rolled kimbap~ However, after my recent discovery of the super stuffed kimbap from Miga Korean Food, Kimbap Cheonguk's isn't 100% perfect. The crispy seaweed is perfect, but Miga's kimbap has better stuffing ingredients. Each has their own strong points and both are worth trying. 

Ddukbokki ($5.99)

My brother really wanted spicy rice cakes, so we got a ddukbokki just for filler. Ddukbokki is a common street food in Korea, also a comfort food. Sticks of chewy rice cakes are simmered in a red hot and slightly sweet sauce. Some fishcake, cabbage, and onions are thrown in this dish here. It gets pretty spicy as you eat more and more of it, probably not the best option for those that can't take the heat too well. The dish is okay, but not the best I've eaten. Therefore, I don't think it's worth $6. 

Al Bap ($7.99)

This, THIS, is the best item on the entire menu. I present to you, the Al Bap.
Meaning 'egg rice' this is a hot stone bowl of rice topped with a giant scoopful of fish roe and a bit of tuna, finely chopped carrots, cabbage, picked radish, bits of seaweed, and cheese. I have a real soft spot for rice in hot stone pots because it creates this delicious layer of crispy burnt rice at the bottom, sooo gooood~ As I've said before in my last post on Kimbap Cheonguk, both my mother and I love this dish to pieces. We don't even need to look at the menu to decide our order; we sit down and immediately say "al bap!"

Al Bap sauces

The Al Bap is served with two sauces. They are just there if you feel like you need a little more flavour in the rice. The top one is, I believe, a soy bean paste, and the bottom one is a spicy garlic-y sauce. On our first encounter with these sauces, we were a bit unsure about eating the white sauce as we didn't really know what it was. My mom and I have learned to love the soybean sauce and like mix it in with the al bap rice. It's nice to have something different since most of the dishes are already hot and spicy like the red sauce. 

Kal Gook Su ($7.99)
My mom as recently found a particular liking towards this hot bowl of Kal Gook Su. The Korean on the menu actually calls this dish "mom's hand cut soup noodles", it's cute~ The noodles are chewy and the broth is a nice break from the spiciness of other dishes. There are plentiful julienned pieces of zucchini, carrots, and seaweed. I'm guessing there is some MSG in here too... but ah well. It's a really large serving of filling noodles that's free of meat and not laden with heavy sauces.

Bibim Naeng Myeon ($8.99)

Our last 'main' dish to feed my family of four was a bowl of Bibim Naeng Myeon. Bibim means 'mixed', think of bibimbap (mixed rice). So this cold noodle (naeng myeon) is served with a spicy red sauce and you're supposed to mix it all together~ I'm sad the waitress cut the noodle right away, now the photo doesn't look very appealing. Some accompaniments with the chewy cold noodles are cucumber, picked radish, half a hard boiled egg, and a few slices of lean beef. It's the ideal summer meal since it'll cool you down. Kimbap Cheonguk makes pretty good naengmyeon (Clumsy One thinks so too!), but the price is higher than the naengmyeon at Miga Korean Food. I haven't tried the one from Miga, but I will put it on my 'to-eat' list so I can give a comparison in the future.

We arrived just a few minutes after noon on a Thursday in the summer and there were just two or three tables with people. But after about ten minutes, the restaurant filled up. There are only ten or so tables in this tiny restaurant so be prepared for a short wait time during peak hours. Luckily, the waiters and waitresses work really fast at clearing tables so you'll be seated quickly. 

Kimbap Cheonguk Menu

For first timers, I highly recommend trying the Al Bap and any version of their Kimbap as those are the two items that draw me back to Kimbap Cheonguk. Prepare to leave this restaurant happy and very full! I suggest you go for a walk afterwards to assist your digestion of all those carbohydrates ;)

Kimbab Cheonguk 김밥천국 on Urbanspoon

Love from Coconut Crumpet's Corner ♡

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