Jeju-Do Korean Barbeque and Steamboat,
34G, Jalan SS21/62,
Tel: 03-7727 9981 or 019-400 9981
Business hours: 11.30am-2.30pm,
Photos CHAN TAK KONG
JEJU-DO Korean Barbeque and Steamboat restaurant promises patrons authentic Korean cuisine straight from the shores of Jeju Island.
Jeju is an island about 130km from the southern coast of South Korea and is its smallest province. It is famous among newlyweds for honeymooning.
Locals there take pride in their style of cooking, especially the fresh seafood and black pork which can only be found in Jeju.
What is Jeju-style of cooking? Chef Kang Jung Hwa, who originates from Jeju-Do (Jeju Island), explained it as a special marinade that was sweet and salty at the same time.
The type of meat used and the freshness of the seafood plays a vital role as the marinade will not work the same way otherwise.
“Everything in my restaurant is cooked Jeju style, including how the barbeque meat is marinated as well as the soup and the special barbeque sauce served.
“No other Korean restaurants here serves food Jeju style. We are the only one,” said the mother of two.
The latest outlet in Damansara Uptown opened in May this year. Jeju-Do is her second restaurant. The first in Taman Dagang Ampang called Sot Du Gong Sam Gyeob Sal, which opened in 2007 closed three years later after Kang’s husband died.
While other restaurants serve more commercial dishes such as Sundubu Jigae (toufu soup), Bibimbap (mixed rich) or the Bulgogi (grilled marinated beef) that are popular among Malaysians, Jeju-Do strives to preserve its authenticity.
Kang’s restaurant is famous among Koreans and Malaysians for its Haemul Dukbaegi, which she assured “cannot be found in other restaurants”.
This dish is one of Jeju Island’s specialities and comprises an abundance of seafood like crabs, shrimps and clams cooked in a stone pot.
This soyabean-based soup should be consumed hot although it may be a little spicy for some.
Another soup unique to Jeju-Do is the Gamja Tang, which Kang said was a nutritious dish usually served to children in her hometown.
This non-spicy dish is boiled with ribs, potatoes, radish, carrots, garlic and served in a hotpot and can be shared by three diners.
Jeju-Do is also famous for its barbeque, and patrons can choose to grill the food themselves at their tables, or have it done by the waiters.
“The meat here is very special because each has its own marinade,” said restaurant manager Esther Liliana.
She explained that the Dweji Galbi meat fillet is marinated in ingredients such as pear and apple, making the meat taste sweet rather then salty.
Eating the way the Koreans do, we were showed how to spread some of the Jeju sauce onto a leaf of lettuce, topped with a slice of radish, meat, garlic and cut chillies.
“Go on. Put it all in your mouth, all in one go. No biting it half-way,” advised Kang in the little Malay she had learned in her 10 years here.
Another meat we tried was the Dweji Jumuluk, which was tenderloin marinated in garlic, ginseng and salt.
All the barbeque meats are eaten wrapped in lettuce rather than with rice.
“Our food is healthy and uses less oil. That is why you see a lot of old people on Jeju Island. They have long lives,” said Kang.
Kang has been cooking for over 40 years, using recipes passed down through the generations.
One of her favourites is the salmon fish-head soup, another famous dish in Jeju.
“We get a lot of fresh salmon on the island and usually people eat the meat and throw away the head. So, we started boiling the salmon head and made it into soup,” she said.
The dish was a monthly special in August. This month, the restaurant will be serving Duck in Jumuluk style.
For dessert, try fruits and the complimentary cinnamon and ginger tea that Kang says can help detoxify the body after a meat-laden meal.
Jeju-Do also has lunch specials such as spicy ramen noodles and set lunches to cater to the working crowd.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.