When I crave Korean food, I must have Korean food. And after all the gingerbread I’ve been eating (the picture above is what remains of our gingerbread forest – don’t worry, I had help logging it), I was suddenly overwhelmed by the desire to find bulgogi.
So I went to Kyung Bok Palace in Lansdowne Mall. It doesn’t have great ratings on urbanspoon, but quite frankly, I’m running out of options. There’s only so many places to get Korean food in Richmond, and I’m really going to have to slow it down over the next few months or I’ll run out completely. It’s just so annoyingly delicious.
Kyung Bok is a large restaurant that smells strongly of BBQ. There were many groups there having dinner, arranging meat on the hubcap-like BBQs at the center of their tables. I was alone, so I went with a BBQ-free table, and had a look at their large menu. One thing I noted instantly was how in the English translation of the dishes, they never use words like ‘bulgogi’; instead, it’s just ‘marinated beef.’
Before I get to the meal, I’d like to note that my recent string of good service continued at this place – the several ladies who looked after me were SO friendly, upping my impression of Kyung Bok Palace hugely.
All the food I ordered came at once, and it was a LOT – luckily I have roommates who love leftovers. The main dish was a big plate of rice with a sweetly-flavoured stir-fry of beef, enoki and button mushrooms, various vegetables, and bean sprouts. It was ok – satiating since I was starving – but not the spicy bulgogi I was looking for.
The rice cakes were VERY spicy, even though they made them the mildest they could for me. This was the first time I’d tried this version of glutinous rice, which is formed into really fat, sausage-like pieces and tossed in a fiery red sauce. If you love chewy textures, this is definitely your dish, but I cannot imagine what it would taste like at full-spice – I was sweating enough with the ‘mild’ version. The thin slices of fish cakes were good, with a tofu-like texture.
Kyung Bok Palace is certainly not the finest Korean food in Richmond, though it is conveniently located right off the Canada Line, and has very friendly service. Basically, if you’re intimidated at the prospect of heading into a smaller, more ‘authentic’ restaurant, this might be a good place to start.
Now, let’s talk dessert. When I’m excited about making something, there’s no shutting me up (online or in person), so here’s another holiday recipe I plan on feeding to friends. In my opinion, there are few desserts more comforting or quintessentially ‘winter’ than sticky toffee pudding, and yesterday I picked up the brown sugar and dates I’ll need to make it from Galloways. Seriously, that place is the bomb-diggity when it comes to holiday baking supplies.
Here’s David Lebovitz’s friend’s version of this classic Christmas pudding. I cannot wait to have a slice of this stuff…..
Sticky Toffee Pudding with Dates and Candied Ginger
Adapted from Sweet! (Da Capo) by Mani Niall
Because I like the play of sweet and spicy, I added a handful of chopped candied ginger to the recipe. You can use Golden Syrup, which is one of the best sweeteners ever. I also made a batch with treacle from England, which is similar to molasses, and it was excellent, too.
Like my high school locker room, things got a little out of hand here, and I ended up making Sticky Toffee Pudding twice this week, the second time in my Baker’s Edge pan. If using one, bake the pudding for 35 to 40 minutes.
For the toffee sauce:
2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
1/2 cup (90g) demerara or muscovado sugar (or another dark brown sugar)
2 1/2 tablespoons golden syrup or molasses
pinch of salt
For the pudding:
6 ounces (180g) pitted dates, snipped or chopped
1 cup (250ml) water
1 teaspoon baking soda
optional: 1/3 cup (40g) candied ginger, chopped
1 1/4 cups (175g) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 tablespoons (55g) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350F (190C) and butter an 8 1/2-inch (24cm) porcelain soufflé dish (or similar-sized baking dish.)
2. Make the toffee sauce by bringing the cream, demerara or turbinado sugar, golden syrup (or molasses) and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring often to melt the sugar.
3. Lower heat and simmer, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is thick and coats the spoon. Pour half the sauce into the prepared soufflé dish and place the dish in the freezer, and reserve the other half for serving.
4. To make the pudding, in a medium saucepan, heat the dates and water. Once the water begins to boil, remove from heat and stir in the baking soda. Add the ginger, if using, then set aside, but keep it slightly warm.
5. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
6. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, then the vanilla. (Don’t be alarmed if the mixture looks a bit curdled.)
7. Stir in half of the flour mixture, then the date mixture, then add the remaining flour mixture until just mixed. Don’t overbeat the batter.
8. Remove the soufflé dish from the freezer and scrape the batter into the soufflé dish and bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs attached.
9. Remove the pudding from the oven, and let cool slightly before serving.
Serving: Spoon portions of the cake into serving bowls and douse with additional warm toffee sauce. Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream are good accompaniments, although I enjoy it just as it is.
Note: To make the pudding in advance, bake the cake without the toffee in the bottom. Let cool, then cover until close to serving time. Poke the cake about fifteen times with a chopstick. Distribute half of the sauce over the top, as shown in the photo, cover with foil, then re-warm in a 300F (150C) oven, for 30 minutes.
**If you haven’t already, don’t forget to enter 365 Days of Dining’s latest contest, on until December 27th! Just tell us your favourite holiday memory here, and you’ll be entered to win a one night stay at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel and Afternoon Tea for Two. You can enter once per day – click here for more details!
Kyung Bok Palace
5300 No. 3 Road, Richmond BC
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available