Coquitlam is home to one of Canada’s largest Korean communities. As such, it’s also one of the best places in B.C. to order authentic Korean food.
When you picture Korean cuisine, what springs to mind? For some, it involves kimchi, the traditional dish. Others may think of Korean barbecue or a hot bowl of bibimbap. Yes, to all of the above. And there’s also another specialty that you’ll certainly want to try: Korean-style fried chicken. It’s crunchy, delicious and full of flavours and spices.
Luke Kim, manager of Coquitlam’s Oz Korean Cuisine, gives the Foodie 101 on Korean food.
Interesting facts about Korean food
Korean cuisine is healthy and fresh, containing seasonal greens, lots of vegetables, fermented foods (there’s the kimchi again) and high-grade meats.
Let’s start with kimchi. This traditional Korean staple actually has more than 500 different types, says Kim, “and it is by far the most popular dish in Korea.”
“Almost all Korean restaurants across the world serve this dish,” he explained. “Kimchi is one of the healthiest foods in the world. It contains lactic acid bacteria, a bacterium that helps with digestion and fights harmful bacteria. Kimchi also boosts the immune system. That being said, the kimchi hotpot is the real deal.”
More on that below…
Top 3 dishes
Here are three popular Korean dishes to try, as recommended by Kim.
Korean Style Fried Chicken
Oz Korean is known for its Korean-style fried chicken. A popular option is the Bhan-Bhan (meaning “half and half”), with half being the original fried chicken and the other half marinated or seasoned with sweet chili sauce, for example.
There are many different spices and sweets available, said Kim, including Spicy Soy, Butter Garlic, Snowing or Padak. Spicy Soy is a fried chicken mixed with chili oil, spicy green pepper, garlic and dried spicy red pepper.
‘Snowing’ is also a big hit, both in Korea and Coquitlam.
“It looks like a snow mountain built up with fried chicken and tossed with variety of cheese powder and another our secret powder on top of the fried chicken,” said Kim.
Padak, meaning green spring onion chicken, is served with long cut green spring onions on top of fried chicken and poured with a homemade sweet soy sauce.
Kimchi Jjigae (Hotpot)
“Kimchi appears in many forms and is one of the oldest but still the most lovable hotpot amongst Koreans,” said Kim.
“Kimchi Jjigae does not contain a variety of other seasonal green vegetables like other hotpots but the beauty of kimchi alone can stand against them. Not only it is delicious, but it strongly helps our body with dietary and detoxication.”
Bibimbap, literally meaning “mixed rice,” is one of the most well known Korean dishes. It is heart-warming, healthy and nourishing. While it contains many spring vegetables and a meat that can be different from restaurant to restaurant, the basics remain the same, including a fried egg (or raw, if you prefer) on top of all ingredients in a single bowl.
How and where to order Korean food
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