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Tasty Korean grill on a quiet Hà Nội street

Update: March, 26/2017 - 09:00
Spicy treat: A special sauce in Daebak made of fish sauce, onion, red and green chilli. — VNS Photo Mộc Miên
Viet Nam News

by Mộc Miên

Hà Nội’s Lý Nam Đế Street is not known for having a bustling array of restaurant. In fact, the street is so quiet in the shades of ancient trees it has become a home to some of the country’s older residents. Hence my surprise at finding a new Korean grill named Daebak.

At first glance, Daebak looks like a new cafés which have proved so popular amongst the city’s hipsters over the last few years. The exterior catches your eye with clean lines, glass windows and warm lighting.

Inside, Daebak is decorated with golden tones, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. The tables are spread out and diners are free to choose between wooden tables or the sofas. Upstairs a wood carving of a sochu wine bottle has been mounted on the wall, one of the symbols of Korean cuisine. Daebak boasts a great view from the interior and balcony down the tree-lined street. Thanks to the open ambiance it seems that the smoke from the grills didn’t linger inside or on your clothes. I fell in love with this trait of the restaurant.

Perfect parcel: Diners wrap meat and side dishes in a lettuce leaf then dip it into sauces. — VNS Photo Mộc Miên

I am a big fan of Korean grills and I have tried several restaurants. So, I had low expectations for Daebak’s menu. Indeed, I was quite right when Daebak provided a small number of dishes: just grilled food, hot soup and some main courses such as stir-fried rice or noodles.

As we wanted to focus on grilled food my partner and I chose two meat servings: the beef plate (VNĐ260,000) and cheek pork (VNĐ220,000). Not long after ordering, we were excited to see a waitress bringing plenty of side dishes to the table. Though we knew that Korean grills are often served with a lot of sides, we found our mouths watering. We were served kimchi, steamed sweet potatoes, boiled eggs dipped in sauce, salted bean sprouts, tokbokki, lettuce mixed with onion, sweet and sour beetroot, a basket of mushrooms, cucumber, carrot, and one hot seaweed soup bowl.

The attentive waitress helped us to shred the meat. We carefully wrapped every piece of meat with a little of the side dishes into a big lettuce leaf, before dipping it into the sauce. The morsels were tasty and tender, with a slight hint of spice.

We were served two kinds of sauce. One was tasty and hot. The other was fish sauce mixed with red and green chili, onion, and mustard. The latter sauce was distinguished and stingingly hot, making a great impression on diners.

Daebak showed some creativity when placing three more side dishes around the furnace: fresh onion, eggs mixed with seafood stock, and sweet maize mixed with cheese. When the meat was grilled, the heat from the furnace bar cooked the side dishes too. They were all hot, delicious, and a perfect accompaniment to the meat. I loved the eggs mixed with seafood stock because of the tender silky eggs, much better than the normal steamed eggs you get at home.

Normally, it is suggested that two diners order two servings of meat, one more dish such as a vermicelli salad or seasoned tofu, and a bowl of hot soup. With the abundant side dishes I highly recommend that diners carefully consider before ordering any more! And if you adore Korean grills, do not wait for a special day to come and enjoy a great meal at Daebak. VNS

 

Plentiful feast: A lot of side dishes are served with meat, which makes diners’ mouths water. — VNS Photo Mộc Miên
Golden hue: The interior of Daebak is warm and cozy. — VNS Photo Mộc Miên

 

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