Friday, August 28, 2015

[Review] Kajak-Kajak Korean BBQ Restaurant @ Kuchai Lama, Malaysia

Photo By: Elin Chow
Address: No. 2G, Jalan Kuchai Lama Maju 8, Off Jalan Kuchai Lama, 58200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Tucked in a corner of Kuchai Lama streets, you will find a relatively new Korean BBQ restaurant called "Kajak-Kajak". The restaurant offers a wide selection of authentic Korean dishes, including soups, stews, side dishes, noodles, seafood and a variety of marinated and non-marinated meat for BBQ for patrons to choose from.

After hearing and reading all the rave reviews on the internet, my colleagues and I decided to try this restaurant for dinner last weekend. This is not my attempt to review this restaurant, but rather, I am just sharing my dining experience at Kajak-Kajak.

The restaurant features the famous "Locks of Love" at Namsan Seoul Tower with fences for patrons to lock their love locks with their significant half or leave a message for their loved ones.

If you are interested, you might want to grab some wooden plaques and locks from the restaurant's counter. But I am not sure whether they are available for free or for sale.

The restaurant has both outdoor and indoor seating. It is spacious and clean, with grills at each table.

We arrived around 6 pm and was glad that the restaurant was not packed with people. However, it does get very crowded after 7 pm. I would suggest anyone to visit before 7 pm to avoid a long wait.

Upon stepping into the restaurant, we were greeted and seated promptly with menus to scan. We took a long time to finalize our order, but the server was very patient while we scanned through the menu page by page.

Fruit Soju - RM 39.00

There are Fruit Soju, specially made by the restaurant and are available in three different flavors - Ginseng, Apple and Lemon. We did not get to try any of these since no one is interested in Soju. 

We ordered a few dishes from the menu and shared it among the 8 of us. It was fun to try varieties and we were glad that most of the food we ordered was delicious and satisfying. 

While waiting for our order,  free appetizers are served. Unlike most of the Korean restaurants, the restaurant does not offer much side dishes. However, the appetizers are delicious and are refillable for free.

Roll Pork - RM 2.90
Our order was served to us promptly without delay. The first dish that came to our table was roll pork. A single portion (5 slices) of roll pork is not enough to satisfy one person. We ordered 7 portions of roll pork to share among the group of us.

After delivering the meat to the table, a server will come to grill and cut them into smaller pieces for you. The server was very attentive, making sure that the meat will not be left on the grill for a long period of time.

None of our meat was overcooked. They were slightly crispy on the outside but chewy and juicy on the inside. The meat were fresh and did not have an unpleasant smell.

It feels great to be able to enjoy other dishes while waiting for our meat to be served to us. I believe this might be a reason why we did not leave the restaurant smelling like BBQ meat.

Along with the meat, a big bowl of lettuce was also brought to our table. The lettuce was meant to make little wraps with the BBQ meat. We wrapped the meat with lettuce, kimchi and ssamjang sauce and ate it in one bite. It was incredibly fun and delicious!

Chicken BBQ - RM 11.90

Other than Roll Pork, we also ordered Chicken marinated in BBQ sauce. The Chicken BBQ was however, not nothing impressive at all. It was a little sweet, but not salty enough. We actually prefer Roll Pork to Chicken BBQ.

Kimchi Stew - RM 14.90

Kimchi Stew (also known as Kimchi Jijgae in Korean) is a spicy Korean stew made primarily with Kimchi whereby sliced Kimchi is put into a pot with tofu, onions, garlic, egg and are boiled together with water or anchovy stock. The soup is seasoned with Korean Chili pepper paste (known as Gochujang in Korean), which contribute to its distinctive red color.

Served piping hot in a stone pot with a bowl of rice, the taste of the stew is milder than I thought. The soup was bland and not spicy at all. It was nothing like what I have expected or tasted. I actually expected more saltiness and spiciness.

Green Onion Pancake - RM 18.90

Green Onion Pancake (known as Pajeon in Korean) is made from a batter of eggs, wheat flour, rice flour and green onions. A widely loved snack in Korea, the pancake is one of my favorite dish in this restaurant.

The pancake was freshly made and served hot with dipping sauce. I love the smell, texture and taste of the pancake. It was crispy on the outside and chewy in the inside. The taste is just right, savory, but not too salty or greasy. While the size of the pancake is not overly large, it was actually very filling and more than enough to satisfy most appetite.

Special Bacon Wrapped Rice - RM 16.90

Special Bacon Wrapped Rice is a  very popular Korean appetizer whereby pieces of grilled bacon were wrapped around Korean rice and served hot on a toothpick. This is one of the best seller and by far, my most favorite dish in the restaurant too.

Crispy, chewy and soft at the same time, Special Bacon Wrapped Rice is sure to delight most bacon lovers and satisfy anyone's taste buds.

Ginseng Chicken Soup (Samgyetang) - RM 26.90

We also ordered Ginseng Chicken Soup (also known as Samgyetang), which was unfortunately disappointing. Ginseng Chicken Soup is a type of stew whereby a spring chicken is stuffed with sweet rice, ginseng, Korean dates and other medicinal herbs and boiled in a broth until the soup is white in color. Usually a whole chicken is served for one person.

I took a sip of the soup and I was not impressed. The soup was very bland and does not have a strong taste of ginseng. In fact, we did not taste much of the ginseng at all. The taste was simply unappealing for me and definitely not worth the high price we have paid.

It was nothing like what I have tasted before. Some of the Korean restaurants provide a small cup of ginseng wine that can be added to the soup for stronger flavor. Perhaps Kajak-Kajak could consider doing the same too.

Although the soup was appealing, the meat was not too tough or dry to eat. The meat was surprisingly tender and come off the bones easily. So, eating it was not a hassle.

For drinks, we actually ordered Demi Soda to try, which comes in four different fruit flavors - apple, peach, orange and lemon. Among the four, I prefer the orange one. It was a little fizzy and fruity, but not too sweet for my liking.

Outside of the restaurant, there are several hand-painted wall murals which you can take a few photos with.

Set in a very cozy and relaxed open-air ambiance, the restaurant is very suitable for large family and friends gathering. The staffs were very attentive and promptly attended to our needs and requests.

The food choices were overwhelming, portions were acceptable and price was relatively affordable. Our bill came to RM 200 + that night, which we shared among the 8 of us. We have a very satisfying and enjoyable dinner at the restaurant.

In my opinion, Kajak-Kajak Korean BBQ Restaurant is a must-visit, especially for budget-minded Korean BBQ lovers. I will definitely dine in this restaurant again if I have the chance to.

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