Korean Food Zone - Authenticity at its Best | Lonumedhu

Korean Food Zone - Authenticity at its Best

Category: Eating Out

By Iyath Adam

Getting authentic East Asian cuisine can be a bit of a struggle in Male’ – which is why we’ve been meaning to try out the Korean Food Zone, the first Korean food restaurant that we’ve seen around.

Located in Hulhumale’, near one of the beach roads, Korean Food Zone is a small space – the restaurant is cosy and has a homely feel to it. K-pop and K-drama memorabilia line the room and features about two group seating tables as well as two wooden booths.

The menu featured well-known Korean favourites (for those of us who are familiar) such as bibimbap, kimchi, bulgogi and tteokbokki. We opted to try the bibimbap chicken (mixed rice bowl), tteokbokki (rice cakes) and the ban ban chicken (a mixture of normal and yangnyeom fried chicken).

Our server was also the owner of the restaurant, a sweet but straight-talking lady who assured us that we had already ordered too much food. But what can we say, we were definitely eating with our eyes instead of our stomachs!

The food arrived pretty fast and looked great.

The bibimbap featured a colourful mixture of veggies as well as the chicken, rice and omelette which came with a side of spicy gochujang sauce. Mixed and eaten together, the taste was a delicious harmony of savoury and spicy with a hint of that sweetness Korean food is known for. The vegetables added a fresh kick and went well with the stir-fried chicken.

The tteokbokki, along with the ramen, sausage, chicken ball, tofu, hash brown and hardboiled egg were cooked in a spicy red sauce. The sauce was sweet, salty, and savoury all at the same time (the owner’s secret recipe!) and went well with the add-ins – especially the chewiness of the (what seemed like) homemade cheesy rice cakes.

But the absolute star of the meal was the yangnyeom chicken – fried chicken glazed with a gochujang sauce. The overall taste was spicy, umami, and a little bit sweet which perfectly complemented the crispness of the fried crust and the tender chicken meat underneath. The normal fried chicken came with a garlic soy sauce glaze which was also really tasty in its own right but lacked the savoury complexity of the yangnyeom chicken glaze.

Be warned though, this dish is messy to eat! But don’t worry, you’re provided plastic gloves, so you don’t have to eat with your bare hands (unless you want to, of course).

On the whole, the dishes were tasty and having them was an experience in itself. And although the menu might seem a tad bit expensive, considering the large portion sizes and the cost/availability of Korean ingredients in Maldives (yes, we struck up conversation with the owner), this restaurant is definitely worth adding to your must-try repertoire!



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