On Invitation

A Mouthful of Korea at the Sheraton

Monday, March 18, 2013Me! In words

From the time I first tasted it, I loved kimbap. I thoroughly enjoyed grilling my meats at my table and the bibimbap has been a really filling meal for Anoushka at any of the Korean restaurants we have visited. Not to mention the kimchi based pork gravy that was once served to us by the owner of a Korean restaurant in the city, just because she had made some for her family and knew we loved to experiment. So when I received an invitation to a blogger's table at the Sheraton for a preview of the Korean Food Festival I just had to say yes. Add to that a chance to see how kimchi is made and an interesting menu, the experience was singing a yummy tune to my tummy. 

For a change, traffic was kind to us and we got there on time. The room was beautifully set up with oriental umbrellas and the demo table, besides other spots set up with Korean masks called Hahoital (hope I go that right). The ones you see below have a 500 year old history that goes back to the fishing communities in Korea. 

Hahoital - Korean masks

The table all set for the feasting

While we waited for the other guests at the table to arrive, we were served a melon drink - this is had a mix of watermelon and musk melon juices with a bit of ginger ale thrown in and two little scoops of the fruit itself. Once we downed the drinks, the melon pops make for a nice shot.

Melon drink

Chefs Sun Wan Kim and Dae Jin Kim from Sheraton Seoul

Before the meal began, chefs Sun Wan Kim and Dae Jin Kim had a small demo in store for us. We started off with the sweet potato noodles which when put together is called Chapchae. The sweet potato noodles are simmered in soy-oil-water mix till they are soft. This is then hand mixed with veggies that have been lightly sauteed. This mix can be eaten hot or cold. It can be used to top rice which then makes it Chapchae bap. 

The table set for the demo - from left to right you can see sesame oil, soy sauce, fish oil, Korean red chilli powder

The ingredients for the chapchae and the kimchee marinade that would follow

The uncooked sweet potato noodles

The sauteed veggies for the chapchae

The chupchae, freshly tossed

Next the chefs mixed together the marinade for the kimchee - ginger, lots of chilli powder, korean and the kinds we are used to, fish oil, sesame oil, shallots and maybe a few more ingredients. The mix smells heavenly. This is then stuffed into cabbage that has been marinated in salt for a day. Each layer of the cabbage is stuffed with this mix and then the kimchee is left to ferment for up to a week. With all these aromas, our senses had gone into overdrive and we were ready for dinner. 

Stuffing the cabbage

Stuffed and ready to ferment

Much before we sat down for dinner, we were asked about what we would like to drink. I was teetotaler that evening and opted for a watermelon drink which was really nice.

The watermelon drink

We started with the Origui yachae cho jabchae - the duck and vegetable salad. There were slices of beautifully cooked tender duck on a bed of salad greens with a healthy dose of sesame seeds. The duck was really cooked nicely being soft and going well with the crunch of the sesame seeds. 

Origui yachae cho jabchae - the duck and vegetable salad

The next was the Yachae samsaek milsam - three color pancake wrapped vegetables. This variation on the familiar dimsum or siumai - two versions - one the roll and the other the moneybags with a slightly mushy diced vegetable filling. When I say mushy I do not mean that in a gloppy kind of way, rather in a soft yet distinct mix of vegetable style. These were something I would have liked to eat more of. 

Yachae samsaek milsam - three color pancake wrapped vegetables

The third starter for the evening Haesamul jatjubmuchin - assorted seafood salad with a touch of wasabi. This had squid, scallops with some plum, zucchini and red bell peppers. The wasabi however did not really come through on this dish, which is sad considering that it would be pepped up this selection of seafood really well. But if you like food that is generally low on spice, then this will go well with you. 

Haesamul jatjubmuchin - assorted seafood salad with touch of wasabi

Next came the Danhobak juk - a pumpkin porridge soup. This was a thick pureed soup - served not hot, though not really cold. The red you see in the center is a bean of some sort. I have never been a pumpkin fan, despite which the couple of spoonfuls I had of this was nice and actually soothing on the throat. A nice way to get pumpkin down with the little ones. 

Danhobak juk - a pumpkin porridge soup

Next to the table was the kimchee salad, which contrary to what we thought would be overly spicy was just to the level of bringing your palate to life. It has a nice tanginess to it, coupled with the spice, it was a great addition to everything that was brought to the table. I even mixed some with the seafood salad and this worked really well for me. In fact, we requested another round of the kimchee salad. 

Kimchee salad

On to the main courses now Gung Jung maeun dakjim - braised vegetable and chicken with soya sauce. This was a delicately flavored diced chicken. To make it more wholesome, there was mushroom, baby potatoes, bell peppers and some shredded cabbage too. This is definitely not one of those oriental sauces that screams out loud about its origin. Its subtle and honestly speaking could work as a meal in itself for me. 

Gung Jung maeun dakjim - braised vegetable and chicken with soya sauce

A smaller platter each of Modum haemuljeon - assorted seafood pancake with a light garlic soya sauce was brought in. These were made with prawns, scallops and squid and were nice and non-greasy. You must have it with the sauce to get the most of it. But am guessing that considering how we are used to slightly heavy appetizers, this would fit in well there in terms of courses. Again, I see this being a hit with the kids.

Modum haemuljeon - assorted seafood pancake

And of course there had to be the bibimbap - a very wholesome meal as far as I see it. Sticky rice, greens, mushrooms, sprouts, all topped off with a chilli plum sauce. Besides the delicate presentation, the portion was perfect for one considering how much we had already packed away. 


There was also the chapchae - the sweet potato noodles take on the color of the soya and are glassy and almost al dente if I were to describe. All of the veggies mixed in retain their crunch, which makes this dish quite the delight. 

Chapchae - the sweet potato noodles

Every meal ends with dessert and so did this one - in the glass is Siknye, a traditional rice drink. It was a light, rice water, slightly sweetened and cool. The little round ball is called Yaksik - a sweet rice dessert. I did not really find it sweet, but then a sip of the drink and bite of the sweet makes it an interesting combination.

Siknye, a traditional rice drink and Yaksik - a sweet rice dessert

This is a glimpse of the Korean delicacies that will be on the menu at Feast Sheraton between March 15 and March 24th. The menu is cyclical which means you will get to taste a range should you happen to visit multiple times. The ambiance will set the mood for a meal that will bring a bit of Korea onto your plate. Lunch is priced at Rs 1195 + taxes and Dinner at Rs 1345 + taxes per head. 

Address: 26/1 Dr. Rajkumar Road, Malleshwaram-Rajajinagar, Bangalore 
Phone: 42521000
Cuisine: Buffet
Accepts Cards: Yes
Parking: Valet

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