There’s got to be a perfect spot between eating something while it’s fresh, crispy and hot, and not burning my tongue. Unfortunately, I still have yet to find it. My latest attempt was at Haru Korean Kitchen, a small but tidy Korean shop located in Gastown. It seems to be quite a popular place; almost the entire restaurant was filled when I visited during lunch time, although fortunately, the shop did clear out a bit after shortly after. I had their Kimchi & Pork Jeon, Crispy & Crunchy Chicken Nuggets, and Jap-Chae Noodle + Beef. Of course, I wanted to tackle the chicken and pancake while they were still fresh and crispy…and of course, ended up burning my tongue in the process =/.
Kimchi & Pork Jeon ($14.50):
They offer several varieties of pancake; this one contained kimchi and pork. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of kimchi (I think it’s more of an acquired taste), and this really didn’t do anything to change my mind. I will say however, if you do like kimchi, then you’ll probably appreciate this dish as they do put quite a bit of it in the pancake. I couldn’t find any of the pork however. More importantly, I found the pancake to be a bit too soft and soggy; a few pieces were crispy but others were very soft and fell apart when I tried picking them up. This isn’t bad, but it’s not nearly as good as the pancake from a place like So Hyang.
Crispy & Crunchy Chicken Nuggets ($10):
This came with eight good sized pieces of chicken that’s drizzled with spicy sauce and is garnished with chopped nuts and pumpkin seeds. The chicken was very meaty, tender and juicy, while the batter was quite light and crispy. I did find it to be a tad on the bland side however. The chopped nuts were a very nice touch.
Jap-Chae Noodle + Beef ($13 + $2):
You have the option of adding meat to your dish for an extra $2; I decided to add beef. The noodles had a nice chewy texture and was flavourful, being sweet without being overly so. I also quite enjoyed the beef, which was tender and had a flavourful sweet marinade.
Although I did experience a few painful burns from trying to eat crispy chicken nuggets, I did enjoy most of the food at Haru Korean Kitchen. Their prices are also fairly reasonable. The service is quite efficient, although the staff is not the most attentive. All in all, while this doesn’t beat out places like So Hyang, it is still worth checking out for some decent Korean food.