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Friday, 10 November 2017

Apple Samgyupsal @ Taman Desa

I've been reading how notoriously busy Apple Samgyupsal @ Taman Desa can be (sometimes more than an hour's wait), so we made sure we were early and arrived around 5.30pm for dinner only to see that the restaurant was already in full swing with customers waiting.

They place a white board at the entrance for you to write down your name and number of pax as a queue system for tables.  There were still a few empty tables outside but we wanted one inside because it was air-conditioned.  Luckily, we didn't have to wait long for a table.  Business is so good that they've converted an empty space (across the road) to house even more tables.  By the time we left (at prime dinner time), there were many people waiting in queue for tables.

This place offers Korean BBQ with a slight twist...with apple marinated pork that you can wrap in juicy, fruity, thinly sliced pieces of apples.  Was there any doubt...with a signboard like that? ;)

As soon as we've placed our order, the sauces, banchan and apple slices arrived.  There were two types of chilli dips, a salt+sesame oil dip, a honey apple sauce and fresh garlic.

The four types of banchan include kimchi, fish cake strips (cooked with Chinese cabbage and carrot), seaweed and pickled cabbage...and are all refillable.

The apple slices are not refillable though...and there's also a helping of fresh lettuce leaves.  These are for you to wrap your meats in.

There was also a salad of fresh lettuce leaves with slithers of red, green and yellow bell peppers dressed in black sesame sauce.  This one took me by surprise as it was really good with the lettuce particularly fresh and crisp and I loved the black sesame sauce that went with it.

Of course we had to order their signature platter, the Apple Platter @ RM88 that came with 120g Apple Samgyupsal, 120g Apple Moksal, 120g Apple Hanjungsal, Homemade Sausage, Tteok, Apple Wraps and Apple Salad.  This platter is meant for two (but probably sufficient for three smaller eaters) with all the refillable sides.

When the meat was served, you'll notice that it has been partially cooked.  There are instructions on how best to cook the meat (plastered on the wall) and that's to wait for the grill to heat up before putting them in the centre of the grill for about 30 seconds.

Then, flip the meat over and grill the other side for a further 30 seconds (actually, the timing is quite irrelevant and you don't have to bother yourselves with it).

After that, cut the meat up into smaller pieces.  Good luck with that as you need a bit of force to cut through the thickness of the meat.  Some may feel the scissors aren't sharp enough but I think that's due to the thick meat (as opposed to other Korean BBQ joints where the meat served is thinner).  

Keep turning the bite-sized meat pieces until they're fully cooked or until you're happy with the char achieved on the meat.

Apple Samgyupsal (layered pork belly) - those who enjoy their meat fatty will vouch that this is the best cut.  The fatty bits helped with the lovely caramelisation and tenderness of the meat.

Apple Moksal (pork neck/shoulder) and Apple Hanjungsal (pork jowl/neck) - these were leaner, so expect them to be a tad more chewier.  Again, it's a personal preference if you like lean or fatty meat.

Homemade Sausage - this was surprisingly tasty and I found myself enjoying the flavour and texture.

Tteok (rice cakes) - this was my least favourite as the rice cakes were extremely bland and chewy, almost hard by the time I got a good char on them.  We left these unfinished...but great for exercising your jaw though! :P

They also have this signature dressing of julienned pickled onions and apple in an apple infused dip with savoury, sweet and tangy nuances.

The apple slices are meant for wrapping the meat and this happens to be the unique feature about this particular Korean BBQ.  I actually enjoyed very much the inclusion of apple slices that brought a fresh, juicy mouthfeel to the otherwise meaty affair.

Add whatever pork cuts and anything else you like onto the apple slice (it's your wrap) and top it with the special dressing.  You can add a touch of that honey apple sauce if you like but I didn't as I found it to be too sweet for my liking.  The refreshing dressing worked very well with the sweet and crunchy apple and the deliciously charred meat.

I found the apple slices to be very pliable (coz they're cut so thinly) which made them very easy to fold with a pair of chopsticks.

We added the Korean Pancake @ RM15 served with a slightly spicy dip....admittedly a crispy and respectable rendition.

Steamed rice is also available at RM5 a bowl for those who can't do without rice.  With rice, the meats work best with the salt+oil dip to give it that extra salty flavour against the plain rice.

The refillable tea @ RM3 per person has a slight sweetness to it that tasted like a cross between Chinese tea and apple syrup. ^_~

Just so that you know, all the refillable banchan are self-service here.  So, just bring your empty dish to the banchan refill zone and the staff will scoop refills for you.  Likewise, bring your refillable tea flask and they'll give you a new one.

The good thing about the BBQ here is that they use hot coals and the thick iron plate is well suited to grill the meat on high heat resulting in well charred goodness.  The not-so-good thing is that you can feel the intense heat generating from under your table on your legs! :(  Thankfully, they remove it once you're done grilling.

If you have a bigger eating party, you can order the BBQ Sharing Set (for 3 - 4 pax) @ RM168 with 200g of Wang Galbi, 200g of Samgyupsal (original), 200g of Hanjungsal (original), Homemade Sausage, Tteok and a choice of Bulgogi or Baby Octopus with unlimited Ramyun.  I think this can easily feed five persons.  There's no way you won't be full with the all-you-can-eat instant noodles.

My Personal Opinion

For fans of Korean BBQs, this is certainly a place to consider for reasonably priced BBQ meats with a twist of wrapping your meat in juicy apple slices.  Overall taste was definitely respectable although I can't say if I tasted any difference in the meat being marinated overnight in apple sauce for 24 hours! >_<

If you want to eat here, get ready to be drenched in sweat as the place is freakin' warm...even inside the air-conditioned restaurant.  The place is open with far too few air-conditioner units to be able to cool the place down.  So, it makes little difference if you opt for seats inside or outside...it's still hot!  I can just imagine those eating bowls of hot ramyun and sweating bucket loads.

So, make sure you have your hair up (ladies and some gentlemen) and wear something minimal light and comfortable when you head here for your "free sauna"...kikiki! :D

Apple Samgyupsal
Ground Floor Desa Business Park
No 22 Jalan 1/109E Taman Desa
Jalan Kelang Lama
58100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-7972 8911

10 comments:

  1. The food must be very good and so popular by the sounds of it. I'm actually very hungry right now while reading this and it is not doing me any good LOL! Did I read somewhere that pork goes very well with apples? I tried a new Korean BBQ near my office area and like what you experienced, I felt the heat from the charcoal and it was quite uncomfortable.

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    1. Yes, I see a lot of western-style pork dishes paired with apples, so they must go well together :)

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  2. that's a reasonable price for a good quantity of quality stuff :D do you prefer korean or japanese barbecues? :)

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    1. Definitely Japanese....for the quality of the proteins! ;)

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  3. Replies
    1. Indeed. Yoda you sound like...hehe! :D

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  4. Wrap pork with apple really sound weird to me and I don't think I'll queue for it :P

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    1. I thought so too initially but was pleasantly surprised that the apple wrap tasted better than wrapped in lettuce as not only did it have the crunch, it had that fruity and juicy texture you don't get with lettuce. If you do decide to go, just make sure you're early (when they open) and you won't have to queue. ^.^

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  5. I have been passing this restaurant for weeks and thought the sign looks cute outside. I am surprised with raised eye brows to see what you have shared. I love to eat them with all the apples! So unique and innovative menu. I would love their home made sausages too and the idea of self service refillable banchan. I would snack 10 bowls of each as a full meal! Bookmarked!

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    1. 10 bowls of each banchan....can or not?! ;) I can imagine you being unleashed at the banchan refillable are. If you want to eat them with apples, make sure you order the Apple Platter as the other platter doesn't have apples! ;P

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