I’m usually pretty good about posting about a new dining experience up on the blog as soon as I can, so if something takes me a month to write about, then either a) it wasn’t a mind blasting experience or b) I’ve been lazy or busy. In this case, it’s a little bit of both.
Rae Mi Hyang is a new restaurant three tenants down from Mama Lee’s Kitchen, also a relatively new Korean (takeout) restaurant. Lillian had mentioned it on Instagram and that’s how I ended up eating a lovely meal with some fellow food bloggers and foodies! That day was a scorching hot day and the restaurant has no air conditioning (except for the washroom?!) but we all did our best with the meal I think. All cold items on the menu were unavailable that day (huh?!) so we ordered a few other dishes to compensate.
The jab chae was our first dish of the night between the seven of us. Jab chae or japchae is a sweet potato noodle Korean dish, stir fried with sesame oil and traditionally with vegetables. It’s one of my favorite Korean dishes to eat although some might not like the chewy, slippery texture. I thought it was beautifully done, well seasoned, and had a bit of spice in it, which was not stated in the menu. I’m sure if you don’t want it spicy they can adjust!
I don’t normally order rice dishes when I’m out so there’s not much for me to compare to other than it tasted well… like fried rice. Bonus that Rae Mi Hyang used real crab meat though and not imitation crab. XO sauce is also not a Korean-specific cooking sauce, moreso featured in Chinese cooking.
The Kan Fung Gi, a deep-fried chicken with sweet and sour sauce was precisely that. Sweet and sour sauce. And although there were chili peppers thrown into the mix and it was a tad spicy, it would not compare to the Korean fried chicken that I’ve come to know and love at Lee House or Coco Deep Fried Chicken. Still delicious nonetheless (and crispy!) but the seasoning was just not what I expected from a Korean restaurant.
Another Korean dish favorite of mine is Jajang Myun or jajangmyeon. It’s made up of chunjang, a salty black soybean paste with vegetables. At Won Jung Gak, you can actually get this as a half bowl and the other half as Jjam Bbong, a spicy seafood noodle soup. This particular version was close to Won Jung Gak’s, and not overly sweet. I’m always a fan of this dish when next to other Korean dishes because it takes away some of the heat really well!
And speaking about Jjam Bbong, no Korean restaurant trial is valid without it. Or so Joe would say. He unfortunately had a work meeting that night and was unable to come. Otherwise, he’d be all over this dish. It comes with a whole section of crab legs for God’s sake. That’s a pretty big win compared to all the other Korean restaurants I’ve tried. The bowl had a good amount of spice to it, comparable to what I’m use to. Delicious! Joe would have approved. Loads of seafood in it, mussels, shrimp, squid, and a mound of vegetables.
The dinner ended early, with most of us 3/4 full I’m sure, as we headed out to Tutti Frutti afterwards for dessert. To be honest I think looking at the menu we expected more Korean dishes when really the restaurant could be categorized as Chinese-Korean. Or Korean-Chinese. Whichever. And it was hot in there! A couple of fans were placed in the room but warm air circulating around doesn’t seem to help much. Hopefully it’s only a temporary problem and they will have air conditioning installed for the rest of summer or next year. The food was good, I had no major complaints once it was obvious that I wasn’t in a traditional Korean restaurant. Would I go back? I almost never crave Chinese food, which is odd. And with my Korean kick lately, Mama Lee’s Kitchen is just a few steps away. But for those who want a little bit of both, or can’t handle a lot of Korean spices, Rae Mi Hyang would be a nice pick! Parking is available in front of the small strip mall and they do not take reservations, so plan accordingly!
10625 – 51 Ave