I always know what I want. Ask me what I like and you will more often than not get a quick straight answer. However, give me a menu with more than 150 items and watch me crumble with indecision. Throw in colourful photos for each item and a hungry partner… I could be buried in the menu for hours.
Dae Jang Kum is not the kind of place to take your time ordering your food. They have a high turnover of customers and there is a constant flow of people – from all walks of life – walking in and out.
Their menu includes countless items of sashimi, rice, noodle and soup dishes. There are interesting combinations of hot pots and a selection of An-Ju meals (recommended dishes to go with alcohol). However, the barbecue is the reason why we pay a visit.
When Pizzaboy and I arrive at the restaurant we notice that there are no mean-looking overhead exhausts hovering over the tables and the restaurant is happily smoke-free. We come to learn that the grill plate is fitted with a self-exhausting system that sucks in the smoke leaving the restaurant free from smoke.
I am tickled pink when I learn this. I love Korean BBQ, but I really dislike the cloud of smoke that I inevitably end up dining in and the stench it imbeds in my clothes.
We order oysters for our entree and a combination of meats for the barbecue.
A huge tray of banchan is balanced by the lovely waiter and we help place the vast array small dishes on our table. I am told that the selections change everyday.
The famous kimchi is a part of the selection and is perfectly crunchy and pickled. Pizzaboy is relieved that they are not too spicy and we evenly divide it to make sure we get our fair share. There is also a white radish version of the kimchi. I really like this version and munch on it quite happily.
We also receive some pasta, soy-braised potatoes, bean sprout salad and a cabbage salad.
The platter of meat is placed at our table in no time. The waiter kindly points out the cuts of the meat and then turns on our burner.
Pizzaboy puts on his bbq chef’s hat and starts snipping away at the meats to prepare them for the bbq.
The pork belly is thinly cut and has super-sized layers of fat. The fat almost disappears when it is sizzling on the grill and it didn’t take too long to cook. The strip of pork melts in our mouth. I wrap some of the small strips in lettuce and place a dollop of the doenjang (fermented bean paste) in the middle. It was absolutely delicious.
The pork rib is served marinated in a sweet soy sauce. It comes with one rib and a ribbon of meat attached to it. The meat is cleverly slashed to ensure a quicker cooking time. The pork rib shrinks quite a bit when cooked and caramelises to a dark brown. They are sweet and chewy, but tender. We realise soon enough that these are best cut into bite-sized pieces before cooking.
The scotch fillet doesn’t appear to be marinated in any sauce. It is a thin and long piece. We cut it into 5cm pieces and it makes the loudest sizzle noise when cooking on the grill. The flavour of the meat is quite bland on its own and improves when eaten with a bit of doenjang.
Pizzaboy and I marvel at the well-marbled pieces of wagyu beef fillets and we wait in extreme anticipation when it is being cooked. Pizzaboy pops the first cooked piece straight into his mouth and nearly burns his tongue. The fillets are very tender and tasty. We discuss ordering another round of the wagyu fillets but decide to finish what we have first before greedily ordering more.
Chicken thigh fillets
The chicken thigh fillets seem to be marinated in the same sauce as the pork ribs. I take my first bite and my eyes widen with astonishment. They were so soft and tender. They have a sweet soy sauce taste and they tantalise my tastebuds to the extreme. These were my favourite cut of the evening.
The funniest moment of the evening is that the plate of oysters arrived at the very same time as the platter of meats. We were so enamoured by the bbq that we forgot about the oysters until almost the very end! The oysters were at room temperature and tasted very fresh.
Pizzaboy and I haven’t dined at many Korean BBQ Houses, but when we do we usually visit a popular establishment in Parramatta. After visitng Dae Jang Kum we have come to realise that it is the real deal and will never go back to the frozen meat buffet again.
cookbookmaniac.com dined as a guest of Dae Jang Kum
Dae Jang Kum
35 Goulburn Street
Haymarket NSW 2000
Phone 02 9211 0890
KatherineMay 1, 2010 at 10:31 pm
Oh I love Korean BBQ. Its such a social thing to do. Cooking food together. Everything looks delicious. I will definately be trying this place out.
tasteofbeirutMay 2, 2010 at 12:15 am
That is the key; when you have access to the “real” thing! you never want to go back to the fake one!
Mark @ Cafe CampanaMay 2, 2010 at 10:23 am
I just walked past Dae Jang Kum the other day and was wondering if it was good. I might have to visit soon and get my BBQ on 🙂
Richard ElliotMay 2, 2010 at 12:32 pm
I’ve been looking for a Korean BBQ in the city so I’ll have to give this place a try.
You lucky thing dining as their guest!
AnitaMay 2, 2010 at 9:29 pm
I haven’t been to a Korean BBQ restaurant. Great review, it looks lovely.
foodwinkMay 2, 2010 at 11:54 pm
Good ol’ Dae Jang Kum. I haven’t been in a few years but great to know that their menu has expanded. That last picture of you is hillarious 🙂
Amy @ cookbookmaniacMay 3, 2010 at 12:19 am
Hi Katherine, yes it is very social and fun. its also a bonus when you don’t have to do the washing up after you cook!
Hi TasteofBeirut, thank you for stopping by! I totally agree!
Hi Mark! thank you for stopping by! I walked past this place so many times and didn’t bat an eyelash at it. how silly was I!!
Hi Richard! Thank you for visiting! Let me know when you go. I wouldn’t mind some more of the stuff. its delish!
Hi Anita! If you like Japanese and Chinese food you will love Korean food. It pulls the tastebuds to great extremes!
HI Foodwink! Thanks for stopping by. It wasn’t the chili that made me cringe. I just pulled the chili off the bbq and bit into it a little too soon. yowza!
Tuty @ScentofspiceMay 3, 2010 at 4:06 am
Wow… what a BBQ fare you had. I love Korean BBQ but haven’t been to a restaurant for quite some time. The meat platter looks so divine.
lisaMay 3, 2010 at 4:48 am
Korean BBQ is really fun — I LOVE kimchee. I could eat with so many dishes ( korean and non-korean), you wouldn’t imagine. =)
Sounds like a perfect place.
mashiMay 3, 2010 at 10:08 am
yum, the pics look fab! Korean BBQ with friends are perfect for the cold weather =D
peachkinsMay 3, 2010 at 7:21 pm
looks like you had fun there! Great shots..mouthwatering oysters..I love oysters!
The Peach Kitchen
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ForagerMay 3, 2010 at 9:06 pm
No smokey bits you say? Sold! It’s the bbq smell which is the bit which deters me every time.
WretchdzMay 4, 2010 at 11:39 am
This is now on my list of things to do as your blog obliterated any chance of me becoming a vegetarian.
angieMay 4, 2010 at 8:48 pm
But the best part is leaving the restaurant smelling like you’ve been on the bbq yourself! =D Haha nah the in built exhaust sounds awesome, it’s so annoying when you leave and everything just smells of bbq.