Seoul's soul food seizes the spotlight; here's a look at a few of the contemporary Korean cafes cropping up all over, kicking off - logically enough - with Sri Petaling's pithily named Cafe Korea.
Cafe Korea tries to cater to all ages - there's chicken bulgogi with rice or noodles for the parents, while eight-inch pizzas topped with kimchi, bananas, sweet potatoes or injeolmi rice cakes (RM14.90 each) might tempt the younger customers.
Traditional jajangmyeon (RM14.90) - chubby, slurp-worthy noodles soaked in savoury black soybean paste.
Where there's a Korean cafe, there's very likely bingsu these days - Cafe Korea offers several varieties of the shaved ice dessert, including ones with fruits, black sesame or yuja, but the cutest & most charming might be this cookie-licious Oreo one, nicely priced for RM9.90.
Hot Korean citron tea to counter the cold November rain; 'ade' carbonated fruit juices are available too.
A two-minute drive from Cafe Korea, the spirit of Korean fusion fare burns in Soul in Seoul, also in Sri Petaling. The restaurant is split into two sections - an alfresco area for cafe fare & a more traditional space for BBQ food.
We'd skip the bacon-wrapped rice cakes (RM12.90), strangely slimy with a less than super-fresh flavour.
Main courses might fare a bit better - the kimchi marinara pasta (RM16.90) may sound like an off-putting Korean-Italian abomination, but it's not too terrible (though three mouthfuls feel like enough).
Korean-Mexican bulgogi burrito (RM6.90); no complaints about the grilled marinated beef, but the tortilla & other accompaniments were nondescript. There are also spicy squid glutinous rice bowls (RM16.90), sausage ramen (RM12.90), herb-wrapped pork belly (RM30) & more on the menu.
Finally, moving from Sri Petaling to Sri Damansara, from Soul In Seoul to Out Of Seoul.
Out Of Seoul has nailed the stylish-cool look that's de rigueur for Korean cafes.
The menu's as wide-ranging as required too, from snacks like these deep-fried seaweed rolls stuffed with glass noodles to heavier meals like seafood pancakes, assorted bibimbap & grilled beef rib sets.
We're always on the lookout for unique variations of affogato - Out Of Seoul's is made with slow-drip cold-brew Dutch coffee, another popular component at several speciality Korean cafes.
The kind of Korean cafes that we like serve not only soju (flavoured with the likes of lemon, cucumber & even vinegar) but makgeolli, bokbonju & chungha too - on that note, Out Of Seoul knows what floats our boat.
31 Jalan Radin Anum, Sri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur
Soul In Seoul
55 Jalan Radin Bagus, Sri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur
Out Of Seoul
First Floor, Block B, Ativo Plaza, Bandar Sri Damansara, Kuala Lumpur
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