Throughout the past 10 years, I’ve seen hundreds of new restaurants pop up all over the city. Some stay, many go. Even in the case of what I think are really popular restaurants, sometimes they still just don’t make enough to break even which is heartbreaking to see. In the space where the famous Shabu Shabu used to be YEARS ago (Richmondites will know what I’m talkin’ about), a new restaurant called Dolpan Seoul BBQ emerged and for whatever reason, starting on the first day it already started having lineups!
I didn’t hear any buzz about this restaurant on Instagram so I barely saw any pictures of the food before coming here. If you’re a typical Vancouver foodie, IT’S A BIG DEAL! One must always do research, view the menu, and view food photos prior to making a decision to try out a new restaurant! Amiright?! XD Alas, I didn’t do it but trusted my friend’s RAVING word of mouth review instead.
Their menu is quite simple. You can get one of 6 BBQ meat sets or one of 4 Hot Pots. The rest are appetizers/sides. It may seem a little pricey to pay $21-$35 just for pork belly or boneless short ribs. However, what you don’t see is that the sides (Korean banchans) make it worth the price.
Every person gets soy bean paste, soy sauce, and some herbed salt for your grilled meats.
They don’t kid around with their side dishes. Most Korean restaurants give you only three to five different banchans. Dolpan? They give you 8 PLUS some extra side appys to grill before the pork belly! Their sides include: cold sweet potatoes, homemade kimchi (yum), bean sprouts, a ginger flower, marinated/fermented onions, and japchae (I know!!!). And the best part? All of the ones I mentioned including the japchae, are refillable.
There are only two sides that are not refillable and that is the 1) Soybean soup. And….
2) Egg Volcano!!!! This egg volcano is ginormous and the texture is silky smooth. Highly recommend getting another one of these for an extra three bucks if you love eggs. 😀
We ordered two pork belly sets and they gave us these appetizers to grill on top first. They include some mushrooms, red onions, fish cakes, and a mix cake that has crab meat, spam, and other stuff. The service at this restaurant is impeccable and there will always be someone grilling for you.
For our grill sets, we got one Honeycomb Samgyeopsal Pork Belly ($20.99) and one Green Tea Samgyeopsal Pork Belly ($21.99). Green tea on pork may sound weird at first (and frankly we had no expectations when we ordered it) but it was actually really really good! The green tea mixture has salt in it so it ended up being a very delicious savoury rub for the pork belly.
The Cheese Lava Omelette Roll ($15.95) while pricey for an appetizer, was very delicious. They are very generous with the cheese inside and on top of the omelette.
One of the things my friends and I really appreciated about this place was that the servers will cover the meat/veggies with a piece of parchment paper to prevent oil splatter. It’s all in the details people!
The Kimchi Fried Rice ($12.95) was pretty standard. You can add an extra $3.50 to get melted cheese on top of it. 😀
After the servers grilled the pork belly for us, they cut it into even chunks and set it aside. The pork had decadent layers of fat marbled throughout, and once rendered, the meat chunks were just little morsels of deliciousness.
Another cool detail! Their grill pan is purposely slanted so the excess oil drips into this container!!
Last but not least, I know this may not seem like a big deal for many, but to me, it will be one of the reasons why I will choose to go to Dolpan over many other Korean BBQ restaurants. Here, they do not charge you for extra lettuce whereas at many other places (in Richmond at least), they will charge you $1-$3 extra for 3-4 lettuce leaves! I enjoy wrapping each piece of meat in lettuce so this refill courtesy is like a godsend for me. 😀
All in all, Dolpan Seoul BBQ in Richmond is a hidden gem (that’s not so hidden) and I will gladly return time and time again whenever I’m in the mood for some good ol’ Korean BBQ.
*Disclosure: I was not invited to visit this restaurant. My friend and I paid for this meal*
Service Rating: 5/5
Food Rating: 5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5