As a foodie, I’m a huge fan of variety. And growing up in a Chinese household, eating a meal together was always “family style” where a normal meal consisted of several communal dishes for everyone to share. Whenever I go to any traditional Chinese/Korean/Japanese establishment, family style is always encouraged which is why you don’t really see many solo diners there! What I love most about ‘family style’ dining is you get the opportunity to try an array of dishes. In Korean cuisine, there’s usually one or two featured items on the table alongside “banchan” or side dishes ranging from kimchi, bean sprouts, pickled radish to complement rice.
Last month, I met up my friend Jason for a belated birthday dinner at So Hyang on Fraser Street in East Vancouver. Even with the correct address, I managed to walk past the restaurant due to its obscure entrance. Compared to other businesses in the area, their entrance is pushed way back! Reservations were made at 6pm for an early dinner. Don’t be skeptical by the empty tables beside us because literally 10-15 minutes later, the place started to fill up really fast! The interior of this place is very modern and chic but you still get the Korean vibe with their black decor and wooden tables. Similar to other Korean restaurants, they serve up a range of appetizers, rice (bibimbap), and most importantly.. Korean BBQ style items!
Banchan (complimentary) Side dishes for us to nibble on! Bean sprouts, kimchi (staple), fish cake and sweet potato!
I was really surprised to find sweet potato and fish cake ! Refills are unlimited here.
Mandoo ($8.95) Deep fried dumplings. Prior to coming here, I actually did a bit of researching and digging on what to order here since it would just be the two of us. I was really curious about their deep fried dumplings as most people order this to share. Unfortunately, the dumplings did not taste really fresh to me since the skin was a bit on the soft side. Filling on the other hand was delicious and flavourful. Jason didn’t care too much about the soft exterior and thought they were good regardless.
Soon Tofu Jeegae ($9.95) Spicy soft tofu stew with seafood or beef. You can customize the spice level for all their tofu soups and it comes with a bowl of rice. I opted for seafood and mild spice. Soup came out piping hot and even though I asked for mild spice, the soup still came out pretty spicy but tolerable.
Jason couldn’t handle the spiciness, so I ended up eating most of it myself. There were plenty of tofu and seafood to go around with bits of squid, clam, mussel, etc! Not the best I’ve had but excellent value for the amount of ingredients they put in. My favourite is still House of Tofu in Burquitlam 🙂
L.A. Kalbi ($19.95) Beef short-ribs marinated with chef’s sauce served with rice. The short-ribs were tender easy to bite into. The pieces had a nice caramelization to them from the sweet soy marinade. For the price, portion size was great!
Our waitress also helped us cut them into bite sized pieces otherwise it would have been a pain to use our hands 😛
Overall, I enjoyed my dining experience at So Hyang. Service was very accommodating and friendly. Staff were attentive in ensuring our cups were always refilled and checked up on us frequently. For those of you who are indecisive when it comes to Korean cuisine, they offer combos fit for parties of 2-4 at the back of their menu 🙂
6345 Fraser St