WARNING: The following description about the deliciousness found in Dongdaemun may trigger anger, fear, or sorrow among vegetarians, vegans, or non-meat eaters, or even just animal lovers. You have been warned…
As Mary had been planning for us this Saturday, we all met at 6:30 at Sinchon station to go to Dongdaemun to find either Uzbekistani or Kazakhstani food, more specifically lamb and skewer cuisines of any kind. The winner went to this Uzbekistani restaurant that’s name we don’t even know how to read or pronounce, but let’s just go through the beautiful ~41,000 W total meal among 6 hungry humans (3 Koreans + 3 ‘Murican appetites CAN be filled with just 3 main dishes, 2 skewers, and a small appetizer).
The first main dish we started with was lamb and rice. Simple yet tasteful. The rice was unlike any rice I’ve ever tried. It was light and thin like brown rice, yet soft as rice soaked in curry. Topped with diced carrots and best of all, tender cuts of lamb, this dish was worth the money and 15 min wait time.
The second main dish, pictured to the right of the lamb & rice dish, was purely lamb meat and potato chunks. Soft enough to be cut and divided with a spoon, the lamb was especially exquisite. I’m not sure what secret sauce they use to cook this tender meat, but I feel this could have easily cost us $16 alone without the potatoes back in Orange County. Marinated in the remnants from the lamb cooking, the extra taste of lamb to the potatoes no joke. Devouring the potato chunks bite after bite required no kind of sauce because of how well it had soaked up the lamb liquids. My only question is what was the point in all the onions? It provided no extra aesthetic or tasteful appeal in all honesty, and just became wastefully tossed aside.
Lamb chunks and french fries; what more can a college student ask for? The third main dish consisted of chunks of tender and chewier meat. Cooked to completion, the well-done lamb went hand-in-hand with the tomato-like sauce that reminded me of a lighter version of salsa (lacking in just any hint of spice that I would have thoroughly enjoyed). And rather than potato chunks, we had the least greasy/oily french fries ever. They were warm, filling, extremely potato-like as they should be, and not at all crunchy from the large-cut size. Yet another simple, but satisfying dish, we could not get enough of their varying lamb dishes. And last but not least, we had the beef skewers to diversify our meat choices. These were almost as soft as the second lamb dish, easily divided by just a spoon. The onions topped on it were completely removed by us, and the beef was just perfect. Cooked lightly, I was surprised although the taste was light, it was not at all bland. The beef did not seem marinated, salted, or sprinkled with any kind of special ingredient, yet it hit the taste buds cleverly after the taste of lamb and potatoes.
Recommendation to the chef: Try making a different sauce for the different meat dishes. When it’s the same exact sauce over and over, we can get a tad tired of it no matter how light and delicious both the sauce and dish can be. Maybe have a spicy sauce for the sturdier meat dishes because many Asians enjoy a bit of spice. We are in South Korea you know?
Recommendation to the restaurant: CLEAN EVERYTHING MORE THOROUGHLY. Not to deter anybody from this restaurant, but the small pitcher of water they gave to our table had this random pink gunk come slopping out into one of the cups, stunning the table for a good 3 minutes of silence, disgust, and confusion. Thank you for handling the situation by taking it away and replacing both the cup and pitcher, but it can really hurt your business if we were more germaphobic or easily deterred by things like this. CLEANLINESS IS KEY GUYS.
Overall Rating: 8/10