So, what do you think most people were doing tonight? It was game 3 of the 2nd round series for the Canucks. If you said watching the game at home or at the bar, you would be correct. Guess where I was? No I was neither at home or at a bar. Why??? Well, the clutch on Viv's car was on the fritz and we had to take the car in for servicing. Therefore, we headed over to our mechanic to drop off her car. Since we were out and hungry, we went to a nearby restaurant. Wait! Why not just get takeout and head home to watch the rest of the game? Okay, the reason why I didn't do that is because I'm superstitious. You see, I play ice hockey and in fact, I'm a goalie. If you know hockey, goalies are the most superstitious (and crazy) people. I am no exception (except for the crazy part...). It seems every time I miss a Canucks game, they win. My reasoning was: If I don't watch it, they will win.
Okay, let's stop this discussion of my goalie craziness (I'm not crazy!). The restaurant that we went to was Hanwoori. I haven't been here in awhile; but I remember that there is good, authentic Korean food to be had here. We decided to order a few standard items: Bibimbap and Japchae. I decided to order one item I've never had before: Gori Gomtang (Oxtail Soup). We started off with the complimentary Banchan which consisted of marinated bean sprouts, kimchi , stewed potatoes, pickled daikon and kimchi-style romaine lettuce. All of the Banchan were fresh looking and tasted as such too.
The Bibimbap arrived first and there were so many ingredients, you wouldn't know there was rice in the bowl. There was a generous amount of fresh carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, beef, fern brakes, shiitake mushrooms and fried egg. Mixed together with Kochujang (red pepper paste), the rice was fantastic. It's amazing something this simple can taste so good. Next, we had the Japchae and it was absolutely enormous. Well, for $16, it'd better be enormous. While I was eating, I had a short chat on the phone with Ben, who writes Chow Times. He first questioned why I was not watching the Canucks game. Then he remarked that Korean food is expensive. Well, I can't disagree with him there. $16 for some noodles is a bit steep! However, the Japchae was really good. It was done perfectly. The flavours were subtle and the dish was not oily. Moreover, the noodles were soft; yet still chewy and there was no shortage of ingredients in the dish.
Last to arrive was the Gori Gomtang. It was accompanied by a bowl of rice and seasoned salt. The salt is necessary for this dish, since it is quite bland. The soup is pretty simple, with barely detectable hints of garlic and ginger (and oxtail of course). However, with the addition of the salt, all the flavours come alive. Despite the broth being light tasting, it still has a richness to it, due to the fatty oxtail. The oxtail itself was very tender.
I really like the food at Hanwoori, you can see it is made with care. However, you definitely pay accordingly since it isn't cheap. The service was actually quite friendly, although when it started to get a bit busier, it was very sparse. But in my experience, this is quite typical in Korean restaurants. As for the Canucks game, they won. You see, I'm not crazy after all!
- Great looking and tasting food
- Clean restaurant
- Friendly, if not hectic service
- Hectic, if not friendly service
5740 Imperial Street