Yesterday after a kung-fu movie that my husband wanted to see, we wanted to have a nice dinner together and we felt like Asian would go well with the movie we just saw. Since there was a nice little restaurant we knew, we decided to go to a Korean restaurant. We went to Atti which is an ancient way of saying “friend”.
My husband was told this place was really nice by a colleague of his earlier this year, we tried it before and really enjoyed it. First of all, I am in no way a Korean food expert but do I love this place ? Heck Yeah ! First, what I like there is that Koreans also ate there. How many Asian restaurants are more “Americanized” or “Canadianized” and not really close to their origin so that no true Asians would eat there. I am not expert enough to compare to real Korean food in Korea but it was nice to see Koreans in the restaurants.
My husband likes spicy food and I’m less of a fan of that than he is. We both enjoyed our meal. I had a Bibimbap, which is a traditional Korean dish. This is what the waitress recommended me the first time I went there and each time I go back there, that’s what I get, it’s so good ! It’s a dish with lots of different vegetables and ingredients all separated in a big bowl with rice and a sauce in the middle with either beef, chicken, seafood on top of the rice. There was even a vegan version of it. What’s nice about this dish is first the amount of veggies you eat in a meal ! There was shredded carrots, daikon, zucchini, soybean sprouts, spinach, and cabbage. There was also tofu, cooked eggs, seaweed and sweet potatoes that were lightly fried (it seemed) in my dish. I’ve seen recipes using a raw egg but I didn’t have one in my dish. For visual appeal, the vegetables are often placed so adjacent colors complement each other. It looks really pretty ! You can mix all that together but I like to eat things separately and I didn’t feel like eating all the rice. You can have a hot or not spicy sauce so everyone can get what they want, and mine was the Atti sauce (not spicy) which I tried to figure out what’s in there but couldn’t find it 🙂
My husband ordered the kimchi (also spelled gimchi, kimchee, or kim chee), which is also a known fermented Korean dish. It was made with cabbage and tofu served in a sauce but can be made with other ingredients (cucumber, radish, daikon) and came as a stew. It’s really spicy, like reaaaally spicy. I just smelled his dish and couldn’t even bare to try it! It came with a bowl of purple rice on the side. Sounds weird? I’ve received as a gift from someone who was in Japan some food coloring you can put in your rice (blue, pink, orange and so on). So yes, sometimes the rice isn’t white! (the featured picture of this post is the kimchi)
It also came with nice little appetizers. You probably are wondering why I talk about them last and not at the beginning like they are served usually first in other restaurants. Well, as their menu said (which was really interesting to read for all those little details) all the dishes are served at the same time : soup, marinated eggplants, spiced cucumbers, my bibimbap and my husband’s Kimchi. Usually everybody can dig in the same plate but in there they separate everything for each people.
The ambiance and decor was nice. Although the music was kinda eclectic there. Our night started with traditional instrumental Asian music then dance, then jazz. In the end, we liked it, it was part of the experience. The thing that got us laughing was a little thing on the table. We didn’t know what it was for. Here, look at it, would you know what it’s for ?
It’s a button you press when you want the waiter to come to your table. We didn’t feel the need to use it since they refilled our glass with lemon water quite regularly. So as retards that we are we pressed it, and then like 10 seconds later the waiter came asking us what we needed. I was like, well.. nothing why ? And then he told me what I did. I felt kinda embarrassed but I guess I’m not the first one to do that. I thought that was a neat little idea and then I understood the little sounds popping although the night.
Finally I tried my Korean (yay for intelligent phones) and said thank you every chance I got. ” Kamsahamnida ” is one way to say it and I guess I got it because the waiters all responded the same back to me with a surprised smile.
So that was our night, I found on the internet a recipe of bibimpbap and I felt like sharing it with you guys. Here’s one from the Cooking Light website. Here’s another one from a blog who seems Korean and here’s one from another blog. There’s lots of websites with recipes, try one or use things you prefer if you want to stay on the safe side or use new ingredients if you’re more adventurous !
I’ll leave you on the way to say Bon Appétit in Korean : 맛있게 드세요! or if you want to read it : Mas-iss-ge deu-se-yo!