I finally had the bike ride I’d hoped for on Sunday. It was sunny, the air smelled of fresh-cut grass, and the sky was blue instead of black. I wore a tank top – a TANK TOP – and rode Tallulah around Richmond with a big ol’ smile plastered on my face. I didn’t go for sushi – instead, I decided to continue on with my ‘new restaurant’ streak and head to Gang Nam, a month-old Korean BBQ place. This restaurant is so fresh it’s not even on urbanspoon yet! Can you imagine!
Perhaps the name – Gang Nam – also struck you as sounding mighty familiar? Reminded you of the illustrious Psy and his Gangnam Style, the first video to ever reach over a billion views on Youtube, perhaps? Well, I have discovered through serious and somber research that while Gangnam technically refers to a popular district in Seoul, the words Gang Nam means “River South,” in reference to the fact that Richmond sits south of the Fraser River. Clever and not inspired by powder blue tuxedos as I had originally assumed?
(Admittedly, I was rather nervous that someone in the coffee shop where I wrote this would see me type “What does Gangnam mean?” into Google.)
The Gang Nam restaurant is intimate, and reminded me of a chalet. They have a wide variety of Korean BBQ options that are ideal for groups, as well as rice dishes, noodle dishes, and a number of hot pots.
Since I was on my own, I went with one of the lunch specials, which is a choice of either a seafood hot pot or kimchi hot pot served with rice, three side dishes, and two short rib beef patties. FOR TEN DOLLARS. That deal is crazier than me leaving the house on Sunday without gloves, y’all.
The rice and side dishes arrived first; the rice was in a little metal container,
and the three sides included kimchi, pickled spicy daikon, and green beans + soy beans in sesame sauce.
They were all excellent, though my favourite was the pickled daikon. I would love to have a jar of this stuff in my fridge at home – I’d eat it with everything.
Next came the sizzling hot pot and short rib patties. The hot pot had soft tofu, kimchi, and quite a bit of pork (in various cuts). For some reason, I’d assumed the hot pot would be vegetarian, so I was a little surprised when the first bit of pork belly popped up, not that I didn’t enjoy it.
As for the patties, this was the first time I’d had “Tteokgalbi,” which are made from galbi (beef short ribs). Teok actually means ‘rice cake,’ though there are none in the patties. One website (the website for H Mart, actually) said this dish is derived from ancient times, when kings – who were not allowed to eat ribs with their hands – ate patties instead because they could easily be picked up with chopsticks. Another site told me there’s a whole street of restaurants dedicated to this dish in Seoul! Meat Street, that’s what I would call it.
Usually recipes for tteokgalbi include both beef and pork, and often honey and/or sugar is added to sweeten them. The patties at Gang Nam were glazed and served on top of sizzling onions in a little cast iron dish. They were tasty – fairly tender, and very flavourful. I enjoyed my first foray into tteokgalbi and look forward to trying more!
I can’t say what their BBQ meals are like, but if you’re in the area and want a filling and very affordable lunch, check out Gang Nam. And no, I won’t share THE Gangnam video, but I will share this one, because it really is the most awesome things I’ve ever seen.
AND THEN THEY WERE ON ELLEN.
Cash and cards accepted
Menu is quite meat heavy, but there might be a few vegetarian options.