Viet Nam News
By Tú Lệ
Nowadays, besides economic partnerships, cultural interactions among countries are increasingly significant. In the metropolitan cities of Việt Nam, such as Hà Nội and HCM City, finding a Korean restaurant is relatively easy, which means that Vietnamese have many opportunities to experience the cuisine of the ‘kimchi’ country and Korean expats will not miss their food back home.
On a wonderful weekend, strolling along Nguyễn Khánh Toàn Street, my friend and I noticed a Korean grill house named Sariwon, which sounded like a name of a flower species. With no hesitation, we decided to step in because we wanted a new experience after having been to almost all Korean restaurants around the Kim Mã and Ngọc Khánh areas.
The restaurant had a huge store front and a spacious parking lot. Sariwon is a grill buffet house — a very popular kind in Ha Noi - where customers can eat all they want for a relatively reasonable price.
Sariwon’s menu is highly diverse, ranging from the grill buffet to the a la carte menu. After a staff recommendation, we ordered the Los Angeles grilled beef rib — the signature dish of the restaurant. The rib was marinated thoroughly in a homemade sauce of malt sugar, making the meat very flavourful, sweet and tender. On its own, the dish was pretty buttery; we felt like the meat was melting in our mouths before we even chewed it. As an authentic Korean serving style, a slice of meat was rolled with lettuce, fresh herbs garlic and dipped in a sauce with chilly powder, typical of Korean cuisine. The taste of the meat in the roll was fresh, yet light.
We could have tasted all 80 delicious grill dishes on the menu but we wanted to save room for something else: silky tofu hotpot with seafood. Although three different hotpots are offered by the restaurant, the one we chose received a lot of good feedback from customers. Opening the lid of the hotpot, I was impressed by the brilliant red colour, typical of the Korean chilies.
Soul food: The stir-fried rice with ribs and black bean sauce is an impressive dish by the restaurant, which resembles the sticky rice dish of Viet Nam. — VNS Photo Tú Lệ
There was a little difference from the Vietnamese-style hotpot: all the food was put into the Korean hotpot before serving instead of being brought to table as in the Vietnamese hotpot. Silky tofu was carefully sliced and presented as the petals of a flower; a fresh egg was put in the middle, around which were clams, shrimps, squids, fresh shiitake and enoki mushrooms, and herbs. The boiling broth brought a nice smell of the hotpot.
Having tasted the broth, we felt an immediate hit of the hot chili in our mouths, which subsided quickly somehow, really intriguing us. Nothing can compare with sitting in the cold weather of Hà Nội and enjoying a warming spicy Korean hotpot.
We chose stir-fried rice with ribs and black bean sauce instead of having any carbohydrates in the hotpot. This was a very unique dish because it was different from the Vietnamese fried rice, with the separate rice grains and even the Korean dish bibimbap with the traditional red chili. The dish was a combination between Korean and Vietnamese rice in a secret ratio, which made the fried rice taste like sticky rice. The dish had a shiny black colour from the black bean sauce, served with the high-quality rib, green beans and chopped onion moulded into a heart-shaped piece on an omelet.
I was quite fond of this dish because its sweet buttery taste reminded me of the Vietnamese-style coconut sticky rice. However, this single serving was so big that we actually couldn’t finish it and had to take home the leftovers. Above all, this was the most impressive dish to me because I’ve never had any stir-fried rice dish that tasted like sticky rice.
"This dish is not for anyone who wants to lose weight!" my friend commented.
The dessert was truly a stunner: a slice of toast served with chocolate and vanilla ice cream. The slice of bread was brushed with butter and honey before being toasted, and finally topped with chocolate and vanilla ice cream. The dessert put such a sweet ending to the delicious lunch. This dish reminded me of the fried ice cream dish that used to be so popular in Ha Noi.
Overall, Sariwon is a comfortable and affordable restaurant with delicious dishes. This is a perfect choice for anyone who doesn’t want greasy dishes and likes to share food with others. If you live around the Nguyễn Khánh Toàn area, I would advise you to give it a go. — VNS
Add: Lot 2 Nguyễn Khánh Toàn Street, Cầu Giấy Dist, Hà Nội
TEL: 0904 508 798 / (04) 38398610
PRICE: Grill Buffet VNĐ329,000/person