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Kei's Korean will make you long for more

Update: October, 18/2015 - 03:34
Delicious dish: Hot odeng (Korean fishcake soup)

The new Kei Restaurant serves up Korean favourites without a lot of flair - but with a lot of flavour. An Vu reports.

One can love Korean food for countless reasons such as its variety, aroma, colour, texture and temperature.

Those who devote their heart and time in exploring avenues for fresh food should check out Kei restaurant, the new Korean flavour in town, which can be a suitable choice in this list.

Seeking a Korean-styled restaurant in Ha Noi is a piece of cake. Gastronomes can always find these addresses in Ha Noi proper or areas like Kim Ma, Keangnam, and Trung Hoa - Nhan Chinh. Most of the dishes served here are not too hot and oily, and are loved by customers.

For busy office ladies who have gotten tired of the same old menu daily but fear the fatty hot pot or grilled meat, Korean food seems to be the smartest option.

All year round: The royal ttoekbokki is served in all seasons.

However, as the choices vary, owners must have some secrets if they wish to see customers coming back for more. In Kei, there is always something that make visitors return for more.

The restaurant, which is not so impressive from the outside, especially with its nondescript location on Cao Ba Quat Street, is different on the inside. It is designed with long rooms, hidden deep inside, imitating a classroom in South Korea from the 1970s. The decoration, with old books, briefcases, blackboards, rice boxes originating from the country of kimchi, brings about an atmosphere as fresh as the television dramas.

Out of habit, to start the meal, I ordered odeng (Korean fishcake soup) (VND75,000), a snack dish made from ground white fish, potato starch, sugar and vegetables. The odeng is suitable for every age, since its seafood flavour can awaken the senses of my mind and body.

Then again, I think of tteokbokki (VND65,000), a familiar snack in Korea. This chilli rice cake is often savoured from street vendors and pojangmacha (small tented restaurants on wheels). Besides traditional rice cake, there are also other dishes developed from tteokbokki, the royal tteokbokki (VND72,000)

My liking for this simple yet awesome dish has not changed one bit, especially after learning that royal tteokbokki was made from karye tok (soft rice cake), sauce and fried sweet potatoes. The unique combination between tradition and modernity, the sweetness of potato mixed with not-too-hot chilli sauce makes the dish even more tempting from the first morsel.

Those who are able to try royal tteokbokki for the first time will see both familiarity and strangeness, as the white rice cake we eat everyday becoming leathery, soft from the sauce outside, unlike the typical tteokbokki. In Kei, the dish has been modified to suit Vietnamese tastes.

Carefree customers: Kei offers an open, cozy space for friends and families to get together. — Photos Courtesy of Kei Restaurant.

Last but not the least, I have to mention the chachangmyun or Korean cold noodles (VND65,000), a dish made from flour of various ingredients such as buckwheat and sweet potatoes. The dish can be sampled, both in summer and winter.

As I order a bowl of chachangmyun on an autumn morning such as this, it is obvious Korean people have an absolutely unique creation by combining cold noodles and hot broth. The sweetness of the noodles, rice wine, sochu wine and gooseberry blend together to give an indescribably fantastic taste.

Kei Restaurant

Add: 38A Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh Dist, Ha Noi

Tel: (+84)4 3201 0886

Price: VND65,000-750,000

Hour: 11.30am-6pm

Comment: A wide range of authentic Korean dishes, suitable for all-age dinners. Cozy space.

To make the noodles more eye-catching, the staff garnish it with sliced boiled eggs and cucumber. The leathery noodles thread served with the aromatic soybean sauce is for me, the perfect combination.

While the three dishes may not be enough, connoisseurs can try hot seafood rice pancake (phacheon) (VND95-105,000) with Mackoli rice wine or soju wine. The pancake is tasty thanks to its scallion, wheat flour, and fresh seafood.

In addition to the rich menu, real foodies cannot miss the spicy chicken legs (VND105,000), a unique Korean creation, mostly made up of fatty chicken legs dipping in special sweet and spicy sauce.

Alongside delicious snacks served all days in Kei, the main courses as kimchi, kamchathang hotpot (VND250-VND750,000), chimthakcheonko sauced black chicken hotpot (VND430-650,000), and steamed bosam pork with soybean.

Eventually, I finish my meal with a hot cup of sweet and sour pomegranate vinegar (VND45,000), which is one of Kei's favourite drinks and helps to rejuvenate the body.

Whenever you are in the mood or simply wish to indulge in some gentle and fresh Korean space, like I do, you can come to Kei, and look for the tranquility within. — VNS

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