Thursday, June 3, 2010

There's fast food Korean places? (濟州豆腐鍋之家)

Bibimbap (from 濟州豆腐鍋之家)

In the US, we tend to think of things like Chipotle, McDonalds, Dairy Queen, and Taco Bell as restaurant chains. In Taiwan, they have all those, but they also have chains for beef noodles, Japanese donburi, and apparently Korean food. Color me (pleasantly) surprised! The place I went to is called 濟州豆腐鍋之家 (in 西門町), which translates to 'Jeju Dubu House.' With only a few locations in Taipei (I've personally seen 3 just wandering around), it appears to be a smaller chain, which kind of negates the commercial feel of a place like Yoshinoya. Seeing as how I've been craving Korean food since I left NYC, and I was curious how good a 'fast food' Korean place could be, I wandered inside.

Their menu is somewhat limited, comprising of 3 rice bowls (bibimbap, a vegetarian bibimbap, and kimchi fried rice) and 3 bowls of soup type meals (2 different seafood soups, and a noodle based meal). The prices are moderate compared to the US, with everything being 140 to 160 NT ($4.50-$5). I ended up getting the bibimbap, which, for 160 NT, is as seen in the picture above. It was more or less what you'd expect... bean sprouts, pork, kimchi, seaweed, some sort of greens (I have no clue what they actually are), gochujang, and a raw egg served over rice, all of which is supposed to be mixed in a searing hot stone pot. Just regular bibimbap, no twist or anything.

As for how it was? I didn't really love it. For 160 NT, there's plenty of other places I would've rather gone to. That's not to say it was awful, or that you should avoid this place at all costs, but it's definitely nothing special. In my opinion, what ruined it was the fact that the meat was sliced a bit too thick, with giant chunks of difficult to chew pork interrupting every few bites. Eh, in the end, I was full (the servings are quite generous), and my craving was satisfied... so I guess it was okay, but not great. Oh well, not everything in Taiwan can taste incredible I suppose. It sure is pretty though isn't it?


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oh snap. I can control the text here?