Sherman's Food Adventures: Kovan


If one was looking for good and authentic Korean food in the Lower Mainland, it is usually a safe bet to hit up North Road along the Burnaby-Coquitlam border.  However, there are also random Korean restaurants strewn throughout the GVRD that are also quite good.  Now normally, I don't associate good Korean eats with the Langley, but with an invite with Jacqueline to try out Korean Korean Cuisine near Willowbrook Mall, I guess it was a good time to find out.

We got an array of dishes, but of course let's dive into the included Banchan first.  Although the selection wasn't vast, what we got was solid.  They included marinated bean sprouts, seaweed, kimchi and stewed potatoes.  I found the crunch in the sprouts to be good while properly seasoned.  Same could be said about the seaweed, but a little less texture.  Kimchi was the more sour kind, but texturally it was good.  The best item was the potatoes as they were soft but not melting.  Loved the rich sweetness.

Onto the appies, we went for one of my favs in the Bossam featuring steamed pork belly, blanched Napa cabbage, pickled daikon and kimchi radish.  This was a good portion size and there was much more pork belly than cabbage.  I found the belly to be tender with just enough fat (which was not flabby).  The cabbage was still crunchy while the radish was flavorful and spicy.

Next we had another Korean classic in the Seafood Pancake.  I've had a few of these lately, and this has to be one of the better versions.  First of all, the exterior was crispy and light while not being overly greasy.  Secondly, the inside was not doughy not dense.  Lastly, it was filled with plenty of seafood and a balancing amount of green onion (some versions have far too much onion).

Continuing on with the greatest hits, we tried the LA Galbi next.  These marinated beef short ribs were nicely grilled where there was definitely caramelization while not being burnt.  There was an intense sweetness balanced by equal parts saltiness.  I found the meat to be typical short rib tender with an appealing chewiness.  These were rather saucy, hence being moist as well.

So we had something a bit different with the next item in the Beef Intestine Hot Pot with tofu, mushrooms, veggies and tripe.  Since it was served on a butane burner, it was bubbling hot and great to cooked the included udon noodles.  Despite the intestines and tripe, I didn't find the broth gamy.  It had a nice spice and sweetness.  Considering the amount of food involved, it was very reasonable for $38.00.

Another interesting item was the Osam Bokkeum for 2.  This consisted of squid, onions, yam noodles and sprouts served on a hot plate over a butane burner.  Once we were left with scraps and sauce, it was cooked with rice and left to form a socarrat on the bottom.  Loved the spiceiness of the sauce and the squid was perfectly chewy-tender.  As for the rice at the end, it soaked up all the flavour and it had nice crunchy bits stuck to the plate.  The melted cheese on top didn't hurt either.  If this is for 2 people, you have to be pretty hungry to finish it.

We ended things off with 2 noodle dishes including the ever-so-popular Jajangmyeon.  This was a large portion of slippery al dente noodles bathed in enough black bean sauce for effect.  I found the sauce to be rich and thick with a certain meatiness accented by plenty of sweet onion flavour.  It was a good version and more food than one person could eat.

Our last dish was the Spicy Cold Noodle featuring buckwheat noodles in an ice broth with hard-boiled egg, sliced brisket and of course, spicy red pepper paste.  Again, this was solid with chewy cold noodles and when mixed with everything, there was spice, sweetness and crunch.  So as you can see, the food at Kovan is definitely legit and well-portioned.  Considering the fair prices, I feel that there is good value here, especially if you order the larger share dishes.

*All food and beverages were complimentary*

The Good:
- Solid eats
- Good portion sizes
- Hot pot and hot plate dishes are very large and good value

The Bad:
- Would like a larger selection of banchan


Search this Site