Korean barbecue to relish in 1 Utama

Eu Hooi-Khaw

Wonjo Buanjib BBQ is a Korean restaurant in the newest part of 1 Utama Shopping Centre. – The Malaysian Insight pic, November 11, 2023.

WE liked the cool, open space of Wonjo Buanjib BBQ, a Korean restaurant in the newest part of 1 Utama Shopping Centre.

It’s a barbecue house that originated in Buan, Jeollo-do in South Korea, known as a city of gastronomy.

In any unfamiliar eating place, I would seek out the set menus to take the bother out of ordering.

Wonjo Buanjib offers some affordable sets for two, three and four people. We opted for the set for two, which allows you to choose two cuts of pork – yukjob moksal (collar butt), sukseong ssamyeop (pork belly), and hanjeongsal (jowl).

We chose the pork belly and the pork neck (collar). With the set, we also got Kimchi Jiggae and the Korean Steamed Egg, as well as a flask of cold water and a can of a soft drink.

To complement this, we added a side dish – pajeoli jjolmyeon, or cold noodles with a special spicy sauce, topped with chopped spring onions and egg omelette strips.

Binchotan or high-quality, almost smokeless charcoal from Laos, was used to fire up the grill, heated up and brought to the table in a bucket. The dips, sauces, and banchan, such as pickled radish, seaweed, and marinated garlic, were placed around the grill. We also received a dish of kimchi and a plate of fresh lettuce.

Our two servings of pork – the belly already pre-grilled, and the pork collar laid over the grill – had been in the ageing chamber for three to 10 days to achieve a juicy and tender texture.

Pork collar on the grill and pre-cooked pork belly encircled by an array of sauces and condiments. – The Malaysian Insight pic, November 11, 2023.

Service was most attentive: it began with the grilling of sweet corn and eringi mushroom with butter, which we had as a starter.

Then the cooking of the pork collar, and the heating up of the pre-grilled pork belly were done, cut up, and served on our plates.

We dipped these in the sauce of our choice – there were hot sauce and a mild chili-mayo one – and wrapped them with lettuce.

With each wrap, I added different condiments – the chopped marinated squid, or a paste with peanuts, kimchi, and leek kimchi. The pork was indeed juicy, flavourful, and tender.

The kimchi jiggae was a hearty, spicy soup with pork, luncheon meat, tofu, and of course kimchi.

We loved the fluffy Korean steamed egg, in which we dipped our spoons and found prawns and squid.

We did not ask for rice but had the springy cold noodles in the pajeoli jjolmyeon tossed with raw onions, cabbage, and cucumber, and omelette strips tossed with the spicy sweet sauce.

The cool, open space of Wonjo Buanjib BBQ. – The Malaysian Insight pic, November 11, 2023.

There were other side dishes to order, such as the haemul pajeon, or seafood pancake, jjapageti, or stir-fried chewy ramen with chunjang sauce (black bean paste) topped with a fried egg, or the dae pa ramen with green onion.

I was also tempted by the bun bab, or Korean-style butter rice topped with egg, Wonjo Buanjib soy sauce, and sesame oil.

Our set cost RM115 for two, and the cold noodles, RM25. The sets for three and four people were priced RM175 and RM181, respectively.

Wonjo Buanjib is on the lower ground floor of 1 Utama in Petaling Jaya. For enquiries, call 012-898 9631. – November 11, 2023.

* Eu Hooi-Khaw has been writing about food for the longest time, covering all aspects, from restaurant reviews to cooking and recipes, as well as the healthy side of it. She has written for major newspapers and magazines, published the cookbook Fresh Ingredients, and also writes for her website hooikhawandsu.com.

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.

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