I know, I know.. I’m a little obsessed with eating at Aberdeen. I don’t know what the allure is. Maybe its because everything I like is in one place. Want crepe? Go to Mazazu Crepe. Want Japanese? Go to Guu. Want Korean? Go to H-Mart of K-Town BBQ.
I recently saw a new restaurant called K-Town BBQ pop up in Aberdeen Center replacing the old ‘famous’ Taiwanese noodle place (forgot what it was called). I came here with two other SFU buddies that also went on exchange to Seoul, Korea.
They offer All-You-Can-Eat options for $16.95 (Lunch) and $24.95 (dinner). I thought it was a little bit pricey but I still wanted to try it out so we went for the AYCE.
Here’s the thing. The AYCE menu is FREAKING COMPLICATED. My friends and I tried to order and it took us forever because there were so many restrictions. First, only the items above the black line are included for the lunch AYCE (which is only half the menu). Second, you can only order 4 items per round and each item has restrictions to it like “you can only choose between Seafood Jiggae or Denjang jiggae, not both” and “You can only choose one of two hot pot for the entire meal” in one round”. What did I say? Complicated. We were all incredibly frustrated with this inefficient method of ordering and it almost made us give up on the whole AYCE before it even started.
Nevertheless, we decided to stay with the All-You-Can-Eat option. They offer three side dishes, kimchi, bean sprouts, and marinated radishes.
This is the #1 Bulgolgi and you don’t have to say how many ‘pieces’ you want like at other AYCE restaurants. Instead, they provide enough servings for your table and that’s all you get.
This is what it looks like after it has been simmering. The bulgogi was actually pretty darn delicious and I hate to say but it is one of the most authentic dishes I’ve tasted after coming back from Korea almost two months ago.
Their #11 Seafood Pancake was a bit burnt on the edges but the taste was great otherwise and filled with copious amounts of seafood (hard to tell in this picture). I enjoyed the small size of the pancake as it made it easier for us to try a bit of everything without stuffing ourselves.
The #12 Jap-che had a fragrant sesame aroma to it which is a great sign of japchae. For those of you who don’t know, japchae is a Korean dish consisting of vermicelli noodles with seasoned vegetables and beef.
For the All-You-Can-Eat option, you can only choose one of two hot pots and that is all you get. I don’t even think you can get a second serving of the hot pot. We chose the Bulgogi hot pot over the Pork stew and as much as I was irritated by the complicated menu, I couldn’t help but completely fall in love with this hot pot. The broth was so incredibly flavourful and the glass noodles and beef just soaked everything right up. It was comfort food right there.
We also had #4 Samgyeopsal which is essentially fatty pork belly that you cook yourselves. I was surprised to see a flat hot iron pan instead of a grill or curved pan because usually there is so much fat excreted that you need something to filter it out.
The pork belly was fatty, but good. Not the best I’ve had but definitely not the worst.
I would have preferred some fresh lettuce to wrap this meat and sauce with. I find it too heavy to eat such fatty meat on its own. The lettuce helps cut out some of the fat.
Towards the end of our grilling process, we had so much oil (as you can see from above) in the pan that it was splattering everywhere and the pork belly was just drenched in it. I would advise K-Town to use a grill or at least a curved pan to avoid people complaining about hot oil splattering on their clothes and skin.
I only had a sip of this but the #13 Sundubu Jiggae was really really good. It had a refreshing clear brothy taste to it but with just enough kick of spice. It’s a spicy soft tofu and seafood stew and it tasted just like the ones I had in Korea.
All in all, even though the price is not cheap and the menu is incredibly complicated (hopefully they make a few changes in the near future), I will most likely come back again just because of how authentic and delicious the Korean food were. As well, who doesn’t love to BBQ, hot pot, and have seafood pancake all at the same time. It’s Korean food heaven. 🙂
Service Rating: 2.5/5
Food Rating: 4.5/5
Price: $$-$$$ ($10-30)
Overall Rating: 4/5
<– this is the type of curved grill I’m talking about. They use it all the time in Korea
courtesy of http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/sam-gyup-sal
11 thoughts on “K-Town BBQ (Richmond)- Complicated But Delicious All-You-Can-Eat BBQ”
I don't like it when restaurants make things so complicated either. It turns out to be more like AYCE (but only what we want to give you), lol.
Did they use vermicelli in the japchae or was it sweet potato noodle (or mung bean)? The picture looks more translucent than rice vermicelli.
Exactly! That's how I felt. I almost didn't feel like it was AYCE at all because there were so many rules.
They used sweet potato noodle for sure.
Thanks for the review Kirby. I am going there tonight for my bday dinner with some friends and asides from the incredibly annoying limited menu "AYCE" aspect I hope the food is enough to satisfy everyone. For that price it better!
I am glad you enjoyed my post! Please let me know how the dinner AYCE menu is and if you think it is worth it because I am considering to go back for the AYCE dinner as well!
And say happy birthday for me to the birthday boy/girl! 🙂
Hi Kirby, the dinner was alright. The food wasn't terrible but it was really sweet and greasy for us. The side dishes were all dried out for us. The tofu soup was good and generally it just felt like eating mediocre food. It wasn't bad but nothing stood out. We were just eating for the sake of eating… this mornings follow up comments were queasiness from the grease and excessive MSG and 1 case of diahrrea lol…
They also need to not re-evaluate using the flat cast iron pans for cooking as after 3 pieces of the side belly it got super greasy and was almost like just boiling meat in oil. Also I don't know what to say but with 3 tables and 2 servers we were constantly left without water/tea or plates after they said they would change them for us they never brought new ones.
The menu is actually really annoying as you can't really order what you want to a certain degree. We also had a Korean friend with us and she noted that everything was using the same sweet/spicy sauce but for us the night was leaning on the sweet side; even the broth/soups!
We ended up paying like $31 each and for that price you can go get some great a la carte food. I wouldn't really recommend going back anytime soon as there are better options elsewhere. Although if you were inclined to stay in Richmond maybe try out Kyung Bok Palace in Lansdowne Centre or the always safe Jang Mo Jib on Alexandra Raod. I don't know of any other AYCE K-BBQ places in Richmond anymore as they all closed down.
If the chef didn't make everything as sweet and held back on the oil it would have been much better. Service-wise I cannot really say as they are new and the service staff was doing their best.
I'm so sorry that K-Town did not give you and your friends a good experience. 🙁 I feel somewhat responsible for recommending this place even though I knew their service, menu, and efficiency was lacking.
I actually have been to Jang Mo Jib and Kyung Bok Palace but I do not find either of them that amazing, especially compared to restaurants back in Korea.
I am honestly hoping they will work out some kinks in their food, service, and menu to make future patrons happier.. Or else, I see this being another restaurant that could end up like that Taiwanese noodle place before it.
Wow, just looking at these foods makes me hungry. I'm sorry that it seems Anonymous didn't enjoy K-Town, but honestly I'm into Korean food (and the sweetness in their dishes) so I might give it a try. I'm also attracted with the Samgyeopsal since I'm typically fond of bacon too.
Korean food at its finest! Isn't it that Samgyeopsal is cooked with a grilling pan? That's the reason why I'm eager in buying one, but what says here is that K-Town BBQ cooks it with a flat iron pan. I'm now starting to think which is better for Samgyeopsal. Any suggestions?
Samgyeopsal can be cooked on a grill, an iron pan, or other types of pans.
If you just want to eat Samgyeopsal, I wouldn't recommend K Town BBQ. There are a lot of other places in downtown that offer just samgyeopsal so I suspect the quality will be better.
I agreed with your assessment of this restaurant and enjoyed it the first time I was there. However, I went back last week and it was a totally different experience. In short, I wouldn't be going back any time soon. From the time it opened for lunch till we left around 1.30pm, ours was the only table occupied. I don't think this restaurant would last much longer at Aberdeen Center, especially Sura BBQ is to open shortly in the same location.
Always wanted to try eating at a korean restuarant. It looks really cool to have an actual stove cooking the food you ordered right in front of you. And you can even op to cook it yourself!