Location: 134 Nelson Street, Ottawa, ON
I think I haven’t had Korean food for about a year, which seems quite strange because I remember times when I use to eat it almost everyday!
A quaint little house in the Byward Market area with a cozy interior. Approaching Christmas time, the walls were laced with lights and decorations. The atmosphere automatically gave me this warm and homey feeling, which was just what I need in this freezing weather.
Although what interested me more was how East Coast Korean Food would differ from the West;).
Obviously we started off with these quintessential side dishes that all Korean Restaurants offer. I actually don’t have a liking for kimchi, but the marinated sweet potatoes were AWESOME! That sweet and salty taste with a slightly crisp and glossy outer texture. Refill please!
Extremely odd when I saw this because it’s definitely not how they make it in the West. When I think of Seafood Pancake, it’s usually this thick pizza-looking dish stuffed with green onions and loads of seafood; the base is usually make from crispy potato shreds and served on a hot plate. On the contrary, at Alirang, when they say “Pancake”, they really mean “Pancake”.This kind of reminded me of a Green Onion Pancake (Like something you would get from a Taiwanese or Beijing Restaurant), which isn’t bad just not what I expected. Unfortunately, this form of pancake simply didn’t pack much seafood and was quite greasy.
The Rice Cake was considerably spicy taking into account my low spiciness tolerance :(. But I’m just simply addicted to rice cake! I love the chewy texture and glossy exterior. Although, I must admit, I ask most of the fish cake in this dish as well because the sauce was perfection! Yes it was spicy (hence, my constant tea refills), but it had this delightful sweetness lingering around your taste buds at the end. I’m definitely a fan:)!
It’s all about the soup! The onions in the mixture added this amazing sweetness to the broth, I could drink the whole bowl in one gulp (if only it wasn’t so hot :))! A colorful collection of ingredients; it reminded me of JapChae (Stir-fried Glass Noodles) in Soup. Packed with green onions, mushrooms, carrots, beef, and more, it keep my taste buds interested. But, to be honest, I’m just a sucker for glass noodles! I love that chewy, slippery texture and how it’s so light when you digest it (leaves room for more dishes to try!).
Clearly something you can’t miss out on when you visit a Korean restaurant. The pork was simply fall-off-the-bone tender and really soaked up with flavor of the soup. Although the broth was too spicy, I wasn’t very impressed by the flavor. It seemed to be lacking an extra kick. Maybe because I was hoping for an underlying sweetness to give me some contrast to the savory meat. I’d say it was decent, but you could easily find better elsewhere.
In Ottawa, this may be one of the go-to places for Korean food, but I think if you want a good bowl of Gam Ja Tang, you should venture a few hours to Toronto. Although, since I’m preparing to depart from Ottawa, I’m glad I had a chance to dine a little bit more:).