It has been more than a decade since the “K-pop wave” crashed into Malaysia, leaving nothing behind in its wake. What started out as just music and TV shows has since blown out of proportion. Korean beauty brands are in abundance as well as beauty spas, which just goes to show just how much of an impact Korea has on Malaysians. Korean barbecue restaurants are also prominent around town, injecting some much-needed Seoul into our already diverse culinary industry.
As it already stands, there are plenty of barbecue restaurants all around both KL and PJ. Japanese barbecue is one of the more popular joints with Thai barbecue close behind. However, none can withstand the heat and sheer might of Korean barbecue. There are also plenty of notable areas around town that are home to Korean barbecue places.
One such area is Ampang, which is notorious for being the birthplace of Korean cuisine in KL. Of course, there are more places that will satiate your appetite. A level of caution is needed though; these places are not for vegans, if that wasn’t already obvious.
If you’re looking for one of the OGs in the Korean barbecue game, look no further than Seoul Korea Restaurant. Aside from being a staple in the industry, Seoul Korea Restaurant is known for many things. Its barbecue is an obvious choice, and so is its waiting time, which ranges from 30 minutes to an hour if you’re lucky. This is to be expected given how popular it is to both Koreans and locals alike.
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Po Cha Korean BBQ offers a truly unique Korean barbecue dining experience like no other, located in the heart of Little Korea in Ampang. Po Cha Korean BBQ does away with the pomp and circumstance, instead relying on its authenticity to do the talking. It offers an extensive menu with both traditional Korean dishes as well as barbecued meats.
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Sae Ma Eul is also another top Korean barbecue joint in the heart of Mont Kiara. Much like Ampang, both Mont Kiara and Hartamas are known for its rich Japanese and South Korean background. Sae Ma Eul has a reputable hold of its local community by being one of the better places to dine in at given its easygoing vibe. Aside from its Korean barbecue, which is already delicious, be sure to check out the joint’s spicy rice balls for a burst of flavour.
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Dae Jang Geum is an institution in Seksyen 14 Petaling Jaya, playing host to both locals and South Koreans who drop by for a meal. It has been around for many years now, making it one of the longest standing Korean barbecue restaurants. It serves up delicious cuts of barbecued meats with plenty of side dishes to offer. Be sure to order the fried chicken as it’s to die for.
Solaris Mont Kiara is home to many Korean restaurants and Ola! Korea Barbecue Garden is one of it. It’s one of the largest Korean barbecue restaurants in the vicinity, which already gives it an advantage on the number of people it can hold in one seating. The menu itself is vast so be sure to eat with your eyes and not your stomach first. Smoked duck is also a signature dish at Ola! Korea Barbecue Garden.
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What makes Apple Samgyupsal Restaurant unique to many other Korean barbecue restaurants are the pairing of grilled meats with sliced apples. While it isn’t a mainstream idea, Apple Samgyupsal Restaurant does it to great effect, which is why it has a healthy repertoire of regulars.
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Bon-Ga Restaurant is one of the more upscale Korean barbecue joints around Solaris Mont Kiara so you can expect a more modern and contemporary setting than usual. However, what truly sets Bon-Ga Restaurant apart is its wide selection of meats, which includes fish and various seafood.
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Jal Dae Ji may not be a household name like many others but that doesn’t stop it from offering a great Korean barbecue experience each time. Every customer is treated like family and surely fed like one, as the menu is extensive with a wide selection of beef, pork, and even seafood. Jal Dae Ji is addictive, mainly because the owner marinates the meat in an age-old family recipe to ensure everything is mouthwatering from the get-go.
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Another crowd favourite in Ampang, Hanwoori Restaurant is known for its exceptional service and portion sizing. While this may not trump quality and value for money, it is still two aspects of how a restaurant should be run. Much like many others, Hanwoori Restaurant offers plenty of choices for one to choose from, ranging from beef to pork and even chicken.
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Korean barbecue can only go so far in terms of creativity and originality. Most places would offer the same if not similar cuts of meats and side dishes. However, Palsaik Korean BBQ takes it one step further by offering its signature dish: eight different marinated slices of beef to tantalise your taste buds. As each marination gives off a different aroma, the grilling can be done either by your table or in their kitchen to ensure the smell doesn’t stick to your hair and clothes.
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