On Dai Jang Kum and Grilling with Friends.

 

“It looks like we have a hubcap in our table.”

Welcome to my first experience at a Korean BBQ restaurant.  A few days ago I was thinking about what kinds of food I haven’t yet tried in Richmond, and realized Korean was one of them.  I’m not well-versed in this cuisine, though I do have friends who’d swim across an ocean just for a jar of kimchi, and I figured my friends’ good taste + my curiousity are the only pre-requisites I need.

My friends Kyle and Sally joined me in this venture, which was also their first time trying Korean BBQ.  I chose Dai Jang Kum, which is just east of Bridgeport Station (forgive me for the lack of exterior shot – it was pouring!).

We were seated in a booth with a grill in the center of the table, which truly does look like an inset hubcap.  Our servers weren’t terribly friendly, but they were extremely efficient; when Kyle dropped his fork, there was a new one for him almost before it hit the floor.

We ordered the seafood pancake ($16.95), and the BBQ combo for two ($41.95) which included beef shortrib, chicken, bulgogi (thinly sliced marinated beef), a seafood hotpot, and a huge variety of accompaniments.

They first brought the side plates filled with bean-sprouts, wasabi-marinated radish, plain radish, kimchi, marinated cooked potato, steamed broccoli, fish cakes (which are a common side dish/snack in Korea), and salad.  We spread them out around the grill, which our server lit before bringing out the meat platter.  I don’t believe I’ve ever had a plate of raw, juicy meat sitting in front of me at a restaurant before, but this is all part of the experience.  It comes uncooked, and you grill it on your own, personal BBQ – fun!  Unless you have a BBQ alpha at the table with you, which we fortunately did not.

Our servers helped us out a bit, showing that the hottest spot on the grill is at the very center and checking to ensure we didn’t overcook our thin slices of shortrib (I have a tendency to chat a LOT and sometimes get distracted from what’s happening in front of me).  We each received a small metal container of rice, and with all of our fixings we set to work grilling, grabbing condiments, mixing, scooping from the hotpot, and eating, eating, eating.

Between the three of us we had the perfect amount of food.  Sally eats seafood but not meat (proving this meal can be enjoyed by pescatarians, too) and Kyle and I finished all the meat between the two of us.  I especially enjoyed the bulgogi mixed with rice and wasabi radish.  With Korean BBQ, everyone’s meal is distinct depending on what they’ve assembled on their plate and how they mix all of the different foods.

The seafood pancake (Haemul Pajeon) was one of our favourites – crispy on the outside and filled with various kinds of seafood fried in a thick batter.  The seafood hotpot (with mussels, crab, octopus, enoki mushrooms, and fish) was a little trickier to navigate.

The slices of fish were full of bones (not a criticism, just a tricky reality when eating), and the octopus was tough to chew.  The broth was nice, though I probably wouldn’t order the hotpot again.

Though the meats were tasty, my favourite thing on the table was the kimchi.  This is an absolute staple of Korean cuisine and while there are many kinds, cabbage kimchi is one of the most common.  It’s a mixture of fresh cabbage, garlic, ginger, chili, fish, and salt that’s jarred and left to ferment.  Here’s an interesting blog post on how it’s made.

I don’t have a very high tolerance for spicy foods, and some kimchi I’ve tasted burned a little too much.  This stuff, however, was just right.  It was spicy but also smoky, with a rich flavour I found addicting.  I’m craving it right now just typing about it.

The pickled ‘wasabi radish’ (daikon) was also wonderful; cut into thin rounds, it was a pale, minty green from its wasabi marinade.  The cooked potatoes had a sweet dressing that offset the saltier dishes, and the fresh salad and steamed broccoli lightened everything up.  It was a nice balance between flavours, and fun to ‘manage’ the meal ourselves.

Because I’ve never eaten in this style before, nor am I yet very familiar with Korean cuisine, I can’t say where Dai Jang Kum ranks on the list of Korean restaurants in Richmond.  I can say, however, that this is a fun meal to enjoy with friends, and I’d definitely do it again.  It’s as much about the experience as it is the food, and you won’t be bored!  Just try to talk less than I do and focus on the meat.

I’d also suggest following up your meal with a Skor blizzard at Dairy Queen, because they are delicious and taste like summer.  Thanks for a great night, Kyle and Sal – Kimchi/Skor forevs!

42 Comments

  1. JapaDog

    Great post! but I probably expect not so good post(cafe/bakery) next a day or 2 (saving up for the bigger meal) If that’s the case, I’m fine with it, since you have a limit of $30 per day.

    Reply
  2. linda

    Well, as long as japadog is fine with it…

    Reply
  3. Tracy Lakeman - Tourism Richmond

    In response to the comments we have seen regarding the expectations of the blog and Lindsay, we would like to provide some clarity and our viewpoint. Tourism Richmond and our Board of Directors completely support Lindsay and her blog. She is discovering Richmond exactly as we had intended; as a tourist. Because some of the most memorable food experiences are often the simplest ones, we believe that not every meal needs to be a standard sit-down dinner. This blog is not meant to be a restaurant review, nor did we ever intend for the selected blogger to be an expert in the foods of every culture, but rather it is meant to tell Richmond’s story through food which includes posts about people, places, events and activities that make our city special. Lindsay has been actively engaging with our community – both in person and online through social media – and meeting the people who live, work and play in Richmond.

    Lindsay is discovering the diversity of eateries in Richmond, which only highlight our uniqueness. We are thrilled with the overall support and constructive comments she receives, and are working with Lindsay to improve the blog/posts as we go. This is not an easy job by any means, as any blogger will tell you. It takes time to create the fun, witty posts that Lindsay writes and we appreciate the hard work and passion she has put into the blog thus far.

    At the same time, we will not tolerate the personal attacks that are directed at Lindsay and will be removing all malicious comments off the blog in the future. Furthermore, we will be seeking appropriate action against what are deemed to be threatening comments towards Lindsay.

    Tracy Lakeman, CEO
    Tourism Richmond

    Reply
    • Jewels

      Yay! Thank you, Tourism Richmond, for this post. Hopefully this will allow the readers’ comments to return back to the point of this blog – FOOD.

      Reply
    • CL

      I’m wondering if you can institute an approval process before a comment is posted. That will prevent nasty comments to be published before they are deleted. It will also filter out spam comments.

      Reply
    • RS

      I just hope that after going to certain places that are “different” to maybe do a bit of research before publishing a post

      Mistakes are fine with me, its part of the discovering process, but please acknowledge the mistakes in the future,

      or maybe following up with what she thought, and then write the history or cultural aspect of certain things.

      Asian Bakeries are a big part of the immigration boom in Richmond as the people who run the business’ pride themselves to provide comfort food close to home.

      Reply
    • Janice

      Thank you Tracy!
      Moderation of the comments will make reading the blog so much more enjoyable.

      Reply
    • Mary

      Thank goodness for your post, Tracy and well said! This should stop the tiresome comments that were so negative and reflected a side of Richmond I would rather not know. Lindsay is a gem and has opened my eyes (and appetite) to many new places, cuisines and customs already. Who knew this all existed in Richmond!!

      Reply
    • Vicki

      You get a BIG *thumbs up* Tracy!

      Reply
  4. Dana

    Great post Lindsay! I’m loving reading up on your adventures so far, and I love the combo of sit down meals and the more casual bakery/cafe posts too…I love funky places like that and I’m a big sucker for Asian bakeries! I’ll have to try a few of the things you mentioned…and I’m going to have to adopt your “try it until you love it” mentality towards kimchi! I tried it and thought it was ok…but I’m simply going to have to try it again!

    And I’m a major sucker for ice cream…and pie…and other sweets. Most of your posts have made my mouth water! Keep up the good work :)

    Reply
  5. CL

    Good post. Another traditional way to eat Korean barbq is to use lettuce as a wrap for the meat with a dab of their spicy sauce. Some Korean restaurants automatically provide the lettuce. Most of them you have to ask or order it.

    Reply
  6. Kai

    I don’t know if Dai Jang Kum is the best Korean restaurant in Richmond or not but it is one of the better ones as this is where my Korean friends brought me to. The other one is Jang Mo Jib on Alexandra Rd.

    Reply
  7. Lynn

    Thank you Tracy for clarifying for everyone what the expectations are. I love Lindsay’s blog and enjoy the variety she brings to the table.

    Also, anyone who needs to make negative comments should start his/her own blog rather than add to this this comment section.

    Reply
  8. Amcol

    Great post Lindsay! I had better get finding a Korean BBQ place in Calgary, that sounds delicious!
    Thanks Ms. Lakeman for your comment, nice to hear your support for Lindsay!

    Reply
  9. Steveston Girl

    Here here Tracy. I think some of the blogs have been just awful. I have been enjoying Lindsay’s blogs a lot and even plan and trying some of restaurants (which is the point).

    Well done Lindsay and it was nice to see you in Steveston on Saturday.

    Reply
  10. M

    Another wonderful post, Lindsay!

    Keep up the great work.

    Reply
  11. Steveston Girl

    Oops, should clarify. Lindsay’s blogs are great! Nasty comments from others, not great!. Whew.

    Reply
  12. Wylie

    So what are the odds that Lindsay will be writing about the Salmon Festival and the famous Salmon BBQ? I’ve lived in Richmond most of my life and haven’t experienced that yet (yes I’m sad) mainly due to the fact that I tend to avoid Steveston on July 1 due to the crowds!

    I’ve been enjoying the blog and I like the fresh perspective.

    Reply
  13. Tracy J

    I am a local that goes to certain restaurants over and over, which are very good, but I love this blog because it makes me want to be a tourist in my own city. It inspires me to want to try new foods and restaurants and venture out of my comfort zone. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  14. Kelly

    Hi LIndsay, Great Job! I have lived in Richmond for over 20 years and haven’t been to all of the places you have been.

    I was wondering if you have been to the 2 night markets in Richmond and sampling their food yet?

    Reply
    • Lindsay365

      Hi Kelly,

      I haven’t yet had the pleasure to blog about them, but I plan to! I wanted to go last week but it was pouring, so I’m waiting for a clear night. I went to the opening a few months ago, and it was awesome. Can’t wait to go back. Cheers.

      Reply
  15. Kyle

    Thanks a ton for involving Sally and I in your meal Lindsay.
    Reading your wonderful posts is second only to dining with you, keep up the great work Lindsay!!

    Reply
  16. Gloria

    Another great blog.
    Thanks to Ms Lakeman for her much needed comments.

    Reply
  17. KimHo

    I found interesting your comment about service, as, in my experience, more often than not, service in Korean restaurants have been a bit lackluster for me. In fact, grabbing their attention is such an issue at times that we “joke” the reason they hay the bell ring switches is to keep a tab of how many times they can get away with us calling them and being ignored! ^_^;;;

    Somewhat similar to Chinese, I find visiting Korean restaurants for this type of meals are best enjoyed when going in groups. However, if you choose to go alone and since you liked the hot pots, my suggestion for solo dining (which I do quite often) is either dolsot bi bim bap (the rice and vegetable rice dish in a hot stone bowl) or sundubu jjigae (a mini tofu and seafood hotpot).

    As for other Korean restaurants, I have heard “interesting” things about Man Ri Sung, specifically about their duck dinner. At $60 (with enough food for 4), it is a three course meal with duck as center piece. So, next time? :)

    Tracy, thanks for your note. I hope that sets up expectations for local readers.

    Reply
    • June

      Man Ri Sung! The duck set you have to call in at least 2 hours in advance if I remember correctly. For $60 you the duck wrap w/ green onions + pancake, a large hot pot course with hand-torn noodles (with the duck bones used for the stock) and a minced duck/lettuce wrap sort of deal.

      If you were to compare it to a typical 3-way Peking duck dinner at a Chinese restaurant though the latter would win hands down (skin was a deciding factor, and duck itself wasn’t all that special). ):

      Reply
      • Kai

        I agree with June. The duck set offered by Man Ri Sung is a pale imitation of the Peking duck 3 course meal. Nothing Korean about it.

        Reply
  18. DCH

    Lindsay, over 2 weeks already, this is incredible. Aside from some of the distasteful (pardon my pun) comments, everything I have seen on this blog makes me want to experience Richmond, right now. Although I am from another province, I have family in Surrey and visit friends in down town Van regularly. I know for certain my next visit will have to include some of these great spots in Richmond! The bakeries, markets, and even maybe giving sandwiches a second chance (I am just not a fan, but if Nooch is half of what you make it out to be…). Lindsay, keep up the great thirst and taste for adventure in Richmond.

    Thank you Tracy for choosing Lindsay and for clarifying your expectations and support for such a great blog and blogger.

    Reply
  19. frecklebugs

    I am happy to say that because of this blog I have convinced my friends to go for dimsum at a restaurant other than sun sui wah! Don’t get me wrong, sun sui wah is great but hello…let’s try somethiing different! Yeah Lyndsay, thx for NOT being an expert and for breaking it down to an even playing field. Its comforting to know we don’t have to be intimidated to try something new :)

    Reply
  20. KB

    I was wondering when Tourism Richmond might set the record straight . Thank you. Dining for me is more and more the delis, bakeries, coffee shops and markets with restaurants only fitting in occasionally. Living in Victoria and being a pescatarian myself I am thoroughly enjoying this blog and found the comments containing personal attacks, references to salary and unrealistic expectations offensive. Upbeat constructive suggestions would be more helpful. Full speed ahead Lindsay.

    Reply
  21. Lulu Lady

    Another great entry, Lindsay!

    My family is loving your blog and look forward to trying out many new restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and food establishments in Richmond.

    Thanks Tourism Richmond for setting the record straight. We think Lindsay is doing a fantastic job and deserves to be recognized and encouraged to keep up the good work.

    Lindsay – are you able to keep children in mind on your travels? We want to know where are some exceptionally kid-friendly restaurants or cafes to take our kids (under 10 years old). Other families may also appreciate your recommendations or observations. We want to know where to go with our kids – beyond the obvious chain restaurants we have tended to stick to.

    Keep up the great work :)

    Reply
    • Lindsay365

      Great idea! I’ll consider the wee ones as the year progresses. I can already tell you that tomorrow’s entry would be a fun place for kids for sure….:)

      Reply
  22. Donna

    Tracy, thank you for your letter of support and clarification. It’s great to hear that this blog will now be moderated. The negative comments were completely unnecessary and immature. This has been so much fun to read and I really think Lindsay is doing a fantastic job! I can’t wait for my next visit to Richmond!

    Lindsay, I can’t wait to hear/see where you eat tomorrow! Keep up the good work! :)

    Reply
  23. Jcp

    Thank You Richmond Tourism for hiring Lindsay, and I love her blog and what she is finding to eat in Richmond. I think many people posting want to be critical and continue to hash someone who is doing a great job. I don’t live in Richmond, but Lindsay has been a fantastic Ambassador, her blogs are personal and love how she will invite the reader into the experience.

    Keep doing what you’re doing Lindsay, and soon, i will head to Richmond and sample one or two places that you blogged about and tell you about my experience. This is why Richmond Tourism hired you, to get locals and tourist to visit Richmond and enjoy all the various places & attractions that is out there.

    One of your biggest fans.

    Reply
  24. RT

    Thanks Tracy. Excellent news!

    Reply
  25. cwid

    Just my 2 cents. It might be good to invite to dine with you someone who is experienced in the cuisine in which you are totally unfamiliar. They can explain the dishes to you while you can give them your feedback as a newbie to the dish. Then your readers can get two perspectives.

    Reply
  26. NancyLee

    So happy to read the support and clarification from Tracy of Tourism Richmond today. I was actually wondering as to how far can nasty comments go on Lindsay’s posts and if Tourism Richmond will ever do anything about it. Thank you so much for finally setting the records straight. And like I mentioned on my first comment before, we are here with you throughout the journey. Your posts are so fresh and so inviting that I can’t wait to go to Richmond again on my next visit on the mainland.

    Reply
  27. NancyLee

    By the way, I share your love for KimChi. It reminds me of the first time my mom brought it home and how she learned how to make it from a Korean lady friend. We would eat KimChi with anything like a side dish.

    Reply
  28. Arleen McConeghy

    Thank you to the CEO of Richmond Tourism for addressing this blog. I am a resident of New Westminster and enjoying reading about Richmond such as the Oval, the pina colada pie from the River Rock, etc. but I have been appalled by the despicable comments some of the readers are posting. They have been downright awful and I am glad that it is going to be stopped so we can enjoy this fabulous site for the year. Keep up the great writing Lindsay, I am really enjoying hearing about Richmond and definitely plan to go to some of these places.

    Reply
  29. AlDo

    Lindsay, if you also want to try some very good “cooked for you” (ie not BBQ on table) Korean food, try Haroo on Alexandra ( in the same plaza as Deer Garden). Very nice owners and delicious food.

    My spicy pork was not quite hot enough for my taste the first time we went, but after that visit, the owner could tell that I can take the heat, and they increased the spices (I’m a wimpy looking white girl ;)). There are lots of non spicy options.

    The bibimbap is good too, as is the kimchi fried rice.

    Reply

Leave a Reply