I am on a mission to eat authentic food from every country in the world, right here in Toronto! You can find all past recaps here.
I’m just highlighing both North and South Korea in the map for this, because I’m not going to be able to find any North Korean specific restaurants and I was reading that the food is very similar anyway (despite their food shortages).
I have, very luckily, been eating Korean food pretty regularly over the past few years due to Evan’s influence. Well okay, due to Brotherman’s wife Kelly’s influence, as she is Korean and knows all of the Korean haunts in the city. She also brings us Korean food (usually side dishes) on a pretty frequent basis, which is awesome. I have also had the ultimate pleasure of experiencing Kelly’s sister Mina’s Korean-style pork which to this day remains the best pork I have ever eaten. But all Korean-style pork I have eaten has been delicious. Koreans do pork right, I tell you!
For eating the world, Korea-style, Evan and I took my brother Eric, who had never had Korean food before, to Bloor Street West between Bathurst and Christie – Koreatown! I have been to both Sunrise House and Ka Chi before in Koreatown, and Sunrise House is a small, authentic family-owned restaurant while Ka Chi is much bigger and has a bit more of a pub-type atmosphere. They both have great food and you can’t go wrong with either, so we decided to go with Ka-Chi since it was a gorgeous night and it had a patio.
One of my favourite things about Korean food are the banchan, or side dishes!
We have cucumber kimhi, radish, kimchi, glass noodles (japchae), seaweed (wasn’t my favourite), and then individual rice. Kimchi (fermented cabbage) is the most common, and I was reading that some Koreans do not consider a meal complete without kimchi. I have also had a really great potato side dish at Sunrise House. And if you eat your side dishes they’ll bring you more! We also all had miso soup along with that.
We ordered stir fried kimchi and pork for us all to share as well.
Delicious, as I knew it would be, and as Korean pork always is, but I did wish we got the bulgolgi rather than the kimchi.
For our mains, we all ordered the same. Bibimbap with beef.
Bibimbap translates to mixed rice, and it is a signature Korean dish that comes with various vegetables, usually sliced meat, and a raw or fried egg on top.
I really, really like it, and I especially love that the rice on the bottom gets a little crispy in the hot stone bowl. I ate my entire bowl and I could have gone for more. I need more bibimbap in my life.
I have also had the pork bone soup at Ka Chi, another signature Korean dish.
Which is also very, very good.
We were too full after all of that eating to do the traditional Korean dessert thing, and we were also meeting Eric’s friend for a drink, but you can’t talk about Korean food without talking about their dessert!
This would be the hodo-kwaja, from the Korean bakery also called Hodo-Kwaja in Koreatown.
They are little walnut shaped cakes filled with either potato or red bean filling and walnuts, and apparently this is the only place in Toronto where you can get authentic ones because they have a crazy contraption that makes them. I don’t love them because I prefer my cakes to be a little more sweet, but I know they are very popular.
They also have these yummy little pancakes filled with syrup, called hotteok.
And that was delicious!
Apparently these are a common street food in Korea, and despite sweet pastry fish not looking the most appetizing, they are pretty amazing.
I think I should also mention gimbap (or kimbap), Korean sushi that you can also get at various places around Koreatown. Brotherman and Kelly actually had it catered in to their wedding.
As well as the hodo-kwaja.
Both were a big hit!
So that is it for Korea. Definitely a delicious country and you need to try their food if you haven’t already and if there are any places in your area, especially that pork!
Past Korea adventures: