Yesterday, HL and I went to Crystal Jade Korean Ginseng and BBQ Restaurant located at Centrepoint for lunch. It was a belated birthday treat for HL. Coincidentally, about the same time last year, together with SK, we were also here in this same restaurant, for the same occasion!
As there were only two of us, we only ordered ginseng chicken soup, stir-fried ‘nian gao” (Korean rice cakes), and sauteed mixed mushrooms. We were served with 6 small dishes as starters, complimentary from the restaurant. I would say the standard of the food was just ordinary. Service wise, I feel that there is still room for improvement. The restaurant was not packed, the waitresses were courteous enough but lack attentiveness. I wonder if there has been a shortage of manpower in this restaurant? My experience in the Crystal Jade chain of restaurants has always been great so far, as far as service is concerned.
Recently, DS and I also went to the Orchard Cafe at Orchard Hotel for a supposedly Korean Buffet promoted by the hotel. The buffet had attracted a large crowd that we almost could not get a table without an advance booking!
As we stepped into the cafe, we were impressed by the setting and was all excited to jump on the food! However, we soon became disappointed, and in fact, felt cheated, after we found out that it was actually an international buffet that also offered a mix of local, Japanese, western food, etc. The buffet spread was fantastic but Korean specialties like kimchi, bulgogi beef etc. were just part of the menu.
DS and I don’t mind Korean food once in a while but we are definitely not fans of Korean food! In fact, ever since our last holiday in Korea in April 2007, I have only eaten Korean food thrice (as mentioned above).
My very first trip to Seoul was a business trip in 1999. I shall never forget how my manager and I were given great hospitality by our colleagues in the office there, and was treated with sumptuous Korean meals every night. There were lots of beef in every meal, so much so that I developed a phobia in it! When I revisited Seoul half a year later for a training course, I had to specifically request for a non-Korean meal for the group dinner. We ended up with a buffet in a Western restaurant! Those are some of the memories of my initial visits to Seoul!
Well, it was not until our holiday in Korea last year that I realised my wrong perception of Korean food. I learned from our Korean tour guide that beef is actually expensive in Korea and only served in special treats. Oh, how silly I was!
During our 12-day holiday in Korea, in April 2007, the best and most memorable meal we had was a traditional Korean meal based on royal court foods of the Joseon Dynasty, in Korea House. Korea House is also a place to appreciate the beauty of Korean’s culture and traditions.
Folk Art Performance at the Folk Theatre of Korea House, after our dinner.
Our visit to Korea House was certainly one of the highlights of our holiday in Korea that shall always be cherished. In fact, I find Korea a great country for holiday-makers, be it food, history, cultures and traditions, sightseeing or shopping. However, language could be a problem because many Koreans still do not speak English.
DS and I would certainly love to visit Korea again, perhaps in a cold, snowy season for a different experience!