Food Review: Korean BBQ @ Apple + Samgyupsal, Bandar Puteri Puchong

I’ve heard a lot of good things about Apple + Samgyupsal – they have several branches in Kuala Lumpur and around the Klang Valley – but never had the chance to try it out until recently. C and I felt like having meat, so we headed to lunch at their Bandar Puteri Puchong branch.

As the name suggests, the restaurant specializes in apple-based dishes, and their specialty is barbecued pork wrapped in apple slices and eaten with onions, garlic, gochujang sauce and kimchi.

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I like the red colour scheme and fairy lights; they go well with the sleek metallic tables and minimalist decor. Each table has its own exhaust fan to suck away the smoke. Service is prompt and friendly, and they use charcoal for the barbecue process.

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Our sharing platter for two (RM88) came with 120g Apple Samgyupsal (pork belly), 120g Apple Moksal (pork neck), 120g Apple Hanjungsal (jowls), apple wraps, tteok (rice cakes), homemade sausage and apple salad. The meats are all marinated in a special apple based mix, then smoked over apple wood chips for extra flavour and aroma.

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Staff helped us to grill and cut up the meats.

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The way to enjoy the meal is to place a piece of meat on the thin apple slice, place some onion rings + garlic + kimchi and a dollop of gochujang sauce, then pop it into your mouth. The apple’s slight hint of sweetness balances out the savoury flavour of the meat and sauce, although I still prefer eating it with fresh lettuce and rice.

The meat cuts that were served during our visit were fresh and tender, except the pork belly slab which was a bit on the fatty side ie too much fat, too little lean meat. The sausage was well spiced and tasty, while the grilled rice cakes had a crispy exterior and chewy insides.

All in all, I’d rate it as an above average K-BBQ experience, and the portion was just right for two medium to big eaters. We had quite a lot of leftovers, so we had it to go.

Banchan (side dishes) are refillable – the fish cakes are commendable! Would recommend larger groups to get the most bang for your buck, as they have set menus for 5-6 people.

APPLE + SAMGYUPSAL (Bandar Puteri Puchong branch) 

2, Jalan Puteri 2/6, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 12PM – 12AM (Daily)

Phone: +603 – 8052 6768

applesamgyupsal.com

Food Review: Sae Ma Eul Charcoal Korean BBQ, Jaya One

This was over a month ago but I’ve only had time to write a review now; that’s how busy I’ve been 😦 

It’s been awhile since I last met up with my uni-mate Jo, so we decided to get dinner after work. I wanted to take her for some yakitori, but the place was closed so we ended up getting Korean barbecue instead. Located on the second floor of the central courtyard, Sae Ma Eul uses charcoal rather than an electric grill for the meat, creating a nice, smoky flavour.

Interior looks like your typical bbq joint, with indoor and outdoor seating and exhaust hoods over the grills to catch the smoke.

Readying the grill.

I’ve been to several grill places where the service is excellent – waiters are very attentive to your needs/help you to grill your stuff. This was not one of those places. Service was mediocre, and staff members looked completely disinterested at their jobs. The boss himself was great – came out to show us how to cook the meat properly – but the staff needs proper training and a huge dose of enthusiasm.

Jo and I got a set meal for 2-3pax (ambitious much). Instantly regretted when the food came because they came in such hefty portions. Giant pork belly slabs. Humongous shoulder cuts. A huge mound of marinated octopus. Didn’t help that I (foolishly, but hey, everyone does that when they’re hungry right?) ordered an extra helping of cheese lol.

High quality cuts with good marbling and balance between lean and fat.

Jo didn’t like octopi so I had this all to myself 😀 They were quite sizable, and the spicy sauce it was marinated in had a kimchi/bellpepper flavour.

Part of the fun of bbq – watching the meat crack and sizzle over the fire.

Our melted pot of cheese on the side was thick and gooey – great as a dipping sauce with the meat. The meat itself was tasteless but went well with some sesame oil and bean paste. The best way to eat is to wrap the whole chunk in a fresh lettuce leaf with some garlic. Hmm!

A lot of food which we struggled to finish towards the end. Didn’t even touch the banchan (side dishes) too much lol.

All in all, I’d say that I’ve had better K-BBQ, but Sae Ma Eul isn’t bad and pretty value for money if you’re sharing a set with friends. Service can definitely be improved though. They also have branches in Publika and Solaris Mont Kiara.

SAE MA EUL (JAYA ONE BRANCH) 

77-1, Block E, The Square, Jalan University, Jaya One, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Open daily: 11.30AM-11.30PM

 

Huo Lu Ai Korean BBQ, Setiawalk Puchong

Update: This restaurant is permanently closed. 

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Had an urge to go swimming over the weekend. Our National Aquatic Center is closed until 2017 (!?) in preparation for the Southeast Asian games. Boo, because that’s the closest public swimming pool to my house. Thankfully C was in the mood, so we went to her apartment at Koi Kinrara. They have an infinity pool that looks over the Puchong skyline. Pool was quiet in the evening and weather was perfect.

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We negated all the calories we burnt from swimming by having dinner at Huo Lu Ai, a Korean BBQ joint in Setiawalk, Puchong. Each table had an exhaust to suck up the smoke, and a grill for cooking. Guests can opt to have the food cooked in the kitchen, or have a server cook them at your table.

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Korean music played in the air. The wall was also papered over with posters of Korean boybands.

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I was in the mood for noodles, so I ordered the Korean Spicy Noodle. I’ve seen the Korean Spicy Noodle Challenge online, so I was worried as to how spicy the dish was gonna turn out…but it was fine. Had to down cold water a couple of times but the spice level was manageable.  Noodles were springy, well-flavoured and cooked with slices of carrot, chilli, onion, spring onion and garnished with a side of nori (seaweed).

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Also ordered the Kimchi Pancake. These are best eaten hot. They were not too oily, and I really liked the crispy edges.

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We got two grilled dishes, which come served with banchan (side dishes) like pickled radish, stir-fried spinach and potatoes.

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And the customary kimchi. This was fresh, well marinated and not too spicy.

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Salad with thousand island sauce.

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The Chinese style of cuisine (which I grew up with) often broils/stir-fries vegetables, leaving them limp and tasteless unless drenched with sesame oil/soy sauce etc. Which I don’t like. I really prefer fresh, crispy greens. K BBQ serves corral lettuce to go along with the grilled meats. Perfect.

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Spicy marinated octopus. The octopi was sizable and well flavoured with gochujang (hot pepper paste – made from red chilli, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans and salt. The taste is similar to the Japanese miso, but spicier.), although slimy and chewy in the middle.

20160131_194846-tile Wrapping a piece of octopi, topped with a piece of garlic and some sesame oil/more gochujang paste (I can’t get enough of it!) before popping the entire thing in my mouth. Divine

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Our second grilled dish was pork belly. It was kinda oily, but tasty. Good balance of lean and fat. Went the same way as the octopi – dip in sesame/gochujang, wrapped in lettuce leaf and nom.

The bill came up to RM80, which is reasonable since we ordered so many dishes. Good place for Korean food.

Huo Lu Ai Korean BBQ 
D3A, Ground Floor, Block D, Setia Walk Mall, SOHO, Persiaran Wawasan Pusat Bandar Puchong, 47100 Selangor
Tel: +6017 399 7142

PS: Ladies, did I mention that the servers here are all super cute? 😛

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Went over to have some rice wine at C’s house and to play with Genie. She is so light and small.