Thursday, October 2, 2014

Hwang Jin Yi @ Desa Sri Hartamas

From the seas of Korea to the suburbs of KL: Hwang Jin Yi is a hidden cove In Sri Hartamas where the bounty of the ocean comes flooding in, awash with everything from puffer fish bulgogi to steamed stuffed sea bream, hairtail fish to tile fish, skate fish pancakes & croaker fish stew to pollack hot pot.

Tucked on the first floor of a Hartamas shop-lot, Hwang Jin Yi currently lures mainly Korean customers, but it wants to now cast its net wider to reach Malaysians too. Its aquariums are not extensively populated, but its menu is impressively diverse, with many recipes we've not spotted elsewhere.


For the truly bold, we suggest this 'skate fish offal stew' (RM100) - said to be similar to Iceland's notorious 'rotten shark meat' (hakari). The internal organs of skate fish are fermented for weeks, imparting an extremely pungent ammonia-rich smell that'll burn up the nostrils, cooked in a mushy, what-the-heck's-inside stew with a savoury flavour that'll wake you up better than coffee. Warning: This is the ultimate definition of an acquired taste; many local customers may struggle to finish two spoonfuls.

Need something safer? Straight from Jeju Island comes finny pleasures such as this mackerel, salted & grilled (RM60).

Also more comforting than horrifying: Steaming-hot seaweed fulvescens soup (miyeokguk), customarily a celebratory birthday dish. Thick, slimy & nourishing, made with maesengi seaweed (an autumnal delicacy), studded with sesame seeds & filled with hidden treasures of plump oysters.

Wrapping up with more oysters, this time in a mound of Hwang Jin Yi's house-prepared kimchi, meant to be paired with pork belly & bundled in lettuce leaves for a meaty, moreish meal.

Hwang Jin Yi's 'banchan' side dishes are appreciably varied, with sea snails, quail eggs, konnyaku jelly, glass noodles & biscuits all coming into play alongside the more typical veggies & pastes.

If you're still feeling energetic after dinner here, it might be worth noting that Hwang Jin Yi also has karaoke rooms.

Coming full circle for this meal with more fermentation: Makgeolli, the milky-white, mellow-sweet rice wine.

Hwang Jin Yi
17-1, First Floor, Jalan 26A/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur
Same row as KFC, but farther away from the main road. Open 5pm-3am

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22 comments:

  1. Korean eh? From the name, I was expecting Chinese. Oh no...if I sit at that table, I will never be able to get up - you need to call a forklift. LOL!!! Oooo...chup chup! Balitongs! Now I'm craving for that... Sighhhh!!!! I really must stop visiting food blogs. Hehehehehehe!!!!!

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    1. Suituapui: heheh, a bit of balitong would do you a lot of good ... maybe you go look for some in sibu! happy hunting :D

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  2. I will skip the skate fish offal stew...I fear it will be the very same ammonia like feel that we get from some grilled stingray. Everything else sounds brilliant especially the seaweed soup!

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    1. Missy: ooo, i had no regrets ordering the skate offal stew, though it was difficult to start eating it and nearly impossible to finish it, heh :D and yeah, that seaweed soup was a pleasant surprise ... it tasted vegetable-y and not too seaweed-y :)

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  3. I'll take the celebratory seawood soup and pork belly with house kimchi...the 'skate fish offal stew' looks like a horror :P

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    1. Ulric: heheh, that was a lot of pork belly, it probably needed four/five people to share :) the skate offal stew could become a 'fear factor' thing :D

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    2. I am pretty sure 2 pax (incl. myself) can handle the pork belly...lolz! =)

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    3. Ulric: haha, I think a guy with a healthy appetite such as yourself could do it! :)

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  4. Oooo that offal stew sounds quite..... err scary. LOL! They have a really nice variety of ban chan there. Oh and the pork belly looks yum.

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    1. Baby sumo: heh, yeah, we were a bit intimidated at first by the offal stew, but we knew we would regret not trying it :) and yup, heaps of ban chan here, great for munching :)

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    2. Agree with Baby Sumo...lovely variety and some uniqueness in their banchan =)

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    3. Ulric: i like it when places offer about a dozen types of banchan, heh :)

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  5. Fermented internal organs sounds scary, I think I will go for something safer, hehe.
    I saw balitong, that make me crave sambal balitong now.

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    1. CK: heheh, ya, i don't think i'd order the fermented stew again anywhere else :) ooo, sambal balitong .. that would be an interesting choice :D

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  6. I agree with CK Lim on the fermented internal organs, Sean. I would skip that. I like the table setting, cheerful and simple. :)

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    1. Linda: yeah, internal organs can be scary enough, but having them fermented takes them to another level :) korean restaurant table settings are nice, yeah :)

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  7. Seems that I'm the only one who will go for the skate fish offal stew'! :P
    I love a challenge!

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    1. Rebecca: heheh, we would make great dining partners! :D

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  8. Ahh...such a refreshing menu, for a Korean restaurant. Yeah, that really looks like a what-the-heck's-inside stew, LOL! And the banchan's interesting... with balitong and all.

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    1. Pureglutton: heh, ya, and this is only the tip of the iceberg for the very wide menu here :D

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  9. the orangy sea creatures in your second photo looks yucky :P

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    1. Choi Yen: i think that one dish might not be advisable for customers who don't enjoy strong-tasting food, heheh :)

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