As much as being part of ChineseBites entails a plethora of Chinese eats, we occasionally cross-over into other cuisines. This time around, we went Korean with a visit to the new Man Ri Sung in Aberdeen (was in a smaller location before). Occupying a large and nicely appointed space, Man Ri Sung does offer up something that was distinctly Chinese - Peking Duck. Yes, this is not a typo, one of their signature items is indeed a very non-Korean dish that is probably not found anywhere else.
So no need for suspense as we started with the aforementioned Peking Duck. Served Beijing-style with most of the meat attached, the duck was masterfully carved table side by Chef Xiang Ming Li. Crispy and well-rendered, the skin clung onto succulent slices of meat. Personally, I would've liked to see a richer hue on the skin though. Although they didn't appear to be, the thin crepes were soft and fluffy without being dry at all. From that, we moved onto the Blood & Rice Sausage. Although blood sausage isn't for everyone, I personally enjoy it and this one was pretty good. Plump, soft and not dried out, the sausage was on the sweeter side while still being fairly balanced.
Now Peking Duck may not be typical in a Korean restaurant, but BBQ Beef Shortribs (Kalbi) are a given. Arriving on a sizzling hot cast iron plate, the ribs were insulated from burning by the layer of mushrooms and onions. As for the ribs themselves, the were chewy, but sufficiently tender. There was a nice smoky sear that caramelized the noticeable sugary marinade. Another Chinese-inspired dish was the Stir-Fried Chicken Cutting Noodles. These were the right thickness where they remained chewy while being soft at the same time. The dish was slightly greasy while mildly seasoned. All of the veggies remained crunchy except for the onions.
Prepared table side, the Spicy Stir Fried Chicken was dressed in a spicy paste and accompanied by yam, carrot, onion, rice cake and cabbage. This was a fairly straightforward where the chicken was tender and properly seared. The spiciness from the paste really came through as it was enough to flavour the bounty of veggies and rice cake. We the moved onto a pretty classic item in Korean cuisine with the Chicken Hot Pot with Ginseng. This version featured a whole chicken with sweet rice, pine nuts and scallions. The rich and silky broth was naturally sweet with only faintest hint of ginseng. With that being said, there was an herbal aftertaste.
Moving onto another dish with Chinese influences was the Dakgangjeong (Lemon Chicken on their menu). I'm a big fan of this particular dish and love all the different variations. However, this one suffered from a gummy and not-very-crispy batter. With that being said, it did taste okay though with a balanced amount of sweetness and spice. This may have been the weakest item of the meal. On the other hand, the Seafood Pancake was on point. It sported a lightly crunchy exterior that was easy on the grease. Inside, there was a bevy of seafood that was not overcooked. I particularly enjoyed the fact they were conservative with the green onion as some versions can be inundated.
We were then presented with the Sour Cabbage and Pork Belly Hot Pot (that also featured a healthy dose of Spam). Much like the other items, the broth was well-balanced and relatively light despite the amount of ingredients (including the sour cabbage). The pork belly was meaty while the Spam was predictably salty. A good dose of the aforementioned sour cabbage, blood sausage and potato starch noodles helped even things out. One of my favourite dishes of the meal was the Pan Fried Squid with zucchini, peppers, onion, carrot and mushrooms. I found the squid to be appealingly chewy while dressed in a spicy sauce that was not over-the-top. Again, the dish wasn't overly sweet nor salty.
Our last item, the Duck Hot Pot, consisted with the carcass and residual meat from the Peking Duck. This was one flavourful concoction that didn't necessarily rely on salt (and there was no added MSG in any of the dishes). Instead, there was a certain savoury sweetness as a result of the duck bones and the addition of perilla seeds. Also, the noodles were plentiful and tasty from the broth. So after this feast of many dishes, we were pretty much done (although Sean and I went to Mango Mama for dessert...). Most items were on point which put the thought into my mind for a revisit one day.
*All food and gratuities were complimentary*
- Well-executed proteins
- Balanced flavours
- Spacious restaurant
- As with many Korean restaurants, it ain't cheap