Kan Kan Kan Korean BBQ
11/F, Langham Place, 8 Argyle St, Mongkok
Normally I would be wary of any place bearing the initials K.K.K but the promise of manning our own grill and sampling a new cuisine for the evening drew us in. One question you may have is why, when in Hong Kong, would you opt for Korean? You’re amongst the best Cantonese food anywhere on the planet. Well, the mood took us for one and secondly it was time for a break from roasted meat and onto some grilled, plus Korean is a cuisine that we have never given a real chance to.
We were fortunate as the restaurant was adjacent to our hotel in Mongkok. The Cordis hotel has a walkway over the busy Shanghai Street heading directly into Langham Place, a popular centre for shopping and eating. On the night we went in search of Korean the centre was populated by many young people all making use of the mass of stores and eateries.
At the time of writing however, the centre is currently constructing an escalator to link the top floors with the mid-levels. We needed to reach floor 11 and that involved waiting in a queue for a lift and ultimately a tight squeeze going between floors. We exited at floor 11 and nearly missed our intended target. The restaurant is situated in a small corner of the centre and could be easily missed.
Outside the restaurant there’s a poster bearing the common selection ordered. A set menu of beef, pork or a mix of the two. From memory the beef menu was slightly more expensive but the pork sounded promising with several different cuts. It also included assorted side dishes, drink and dessert coming in at $328 HKD (£32.80). We opted for this but other menu items ranged between $55HKD – $88HKD (£5.50-£8.80).
We were seated in a nice corner of the restaurant with only a few other tables occupied. The waiting staff then took our order and fired up a metal plate in the centre of the table which provides your cooking area for the evening. Magically dishes began to arrive and the sheer volume of crockery filled with Korean delights was overwhelming, where do you start? On the table the items included kimchi, beef stone pot rice with kimchi, salad and lettuce garnishes, prawns, scallops and of course the pork.
The smell coming from the neighbouring tables was beginning to make us hungry so without further delay we placed the scallops on the grill. I should mention as well we had Korean hot oil for dipping which came in handy as the crispy, sweet scallops were delicious with it. Two huge prawns then made their way onto the grill and followed a similar path as the scallops, incredibly tasty.
One slight irk was the chopstick arrangements. Just hovering above novice status with plastic chopsticks we discovered that the Koreans are particularly fond of the metal variety. This presented a heck of a challenge when picking up greasy food. In between bites of seafood we dug into the beef and kimchi rice which was incredible in flavour. With the salad items also came a few pieces of fried chicken which were outstanding. Crispy and a little spicy, one of our favourites.
By now the grill was roaring hot and we had better understanding of metal chopsticks. Time to lay the pork pieces on there. Figuring to go with the thicker pieces first as they would take longer to cook proved a decent theory. The shoulder pieces were delicious, full of flavour and received a strong char off the grill, excellent. The belly pieces almost cooked like bacon with depth of flavour and a spicy kick from the marinade. Rolled up in a lettuce leaf with a garnish of kimchi and a drizzle of hot oil it was fantastic food.
It was almost a shame to see the pile of pork go down but in reality we were stuffed. The only real let down of the experience came as this point. The waiting staff, mainly young, didn’t seem interested in clearing tables or doing much to be honest. We had to ask for the dessert, yuzu ice cream, which was brought over quickly. We then had to wait again for the bill. That aside though what a great experience.
We can now say that we have officially cooked in a restaurant. The food here is very good indeed, not that I can compare it to any other Korean experience but like most people you just know when food is of a high quality. The restaurant also has another branch in Tsim Sha Tsui not far from here on the Nathan Road. Particular standouts were the fried chicken, which we could eat for days. The seafood, which was all fresh and delicious once grilled and the same goes for the pork.
Even the garnishes were interesting in one way or another. Kimchi is an amazing thing, spicy and almost sweet but still savoury and compliments grilled meat and seafood perfectly. I must try to make some. It was certainly one of the more different dining experiences but much more of a social event as groups were gathered around their grills enjoying the food. It makes you wonder why Korean food isn’t more popular than it is currently here in the U.K.
Total Bill: $360 HKD (£36)
Metro: Mongkok (Exit E – Langham Place)
Opening Hours: Monday-Thursday 1200-1600, 1800-2300