Monday, May 30, 2022

Korean Catch-up Dinner

It wasn’t exactly my idea to go have dinner at Hansik Goo on the first week when the territory-wide dine-in ban was lifted, but we were glad that our friends D and A asked us to tag along on one weekend evening. After all it’s been a little while since we visited the place, and even longer while since we last caught up with one another. 

The place was busy as ever – just like everywhere these days I guess – when we walked through the door in the evening, and they put us at the backside of the dine-in area which I never knew existed at this newish venue which opened less than a year ago. Even the front of the house team is new but with familiar faces that we became well acquainted from elsewhere, so we felt like right at home. 

The single tasting menu went through subtle changes since our last visit around 6 months ago but in similar style of serving order. The silky egg jjim (steamed egg custard) was topped with the equally hearty Clam Juk, or congee, and sea urchins providing that punch of umami flavor. Oysters were done two ways – one deep-fried topped with a dollop of Jangajji aioli, the other raw with the slightly spicy chogochujang and scallons. I loved that contrast of hot and cold plus different textures. 

Naengchae was another salivating course, with the thick slices of the flounder from Jeju cured ceviche style and served with fruit tomatoes, pears and plum vinaigrette (maesil dressing, as described on the menu) It was a perfectly paired dish with nice acidic flavor and fatty texture. 

I felt one could not have made a better looking dumpling as in our next course of Hanwoo Mandu, with the Korean beef dumpling (with beef tendons) served in the traditional, creamy-white beef bone soup, thickened by the collagen and with rich bone flavor from the slow-cooking. 

Fish mandu was something always on the menu but went through different rendition from time to time. This time it was a piece of sea bass fillet topped with meat floss and wrapped with more meat and vegetables underneath. The mild choganjang sauce complemented well with this fish and meat combo with its subtle umami taste. Samgye Risotto was another “regular” dish but this time it was served with the whole steamed abalone along with the rolled chicken roulade and the samgye risotto made with sticky rice dressed with the “ginseng chicken soup” in the center.

The pajeon (scallion pancakes) was the surprise dish Chef Steve sent over. It looked amazing and tasted great – and we appreciate he sent a separate version for our vegetarian friend too (one without seafood). Knowing a long menu ahead when we ordered but I refused to leave without the add-on course of Korean fried chicken, something I have never had enough of. Good as usual – that went without saying. They really should consider opening a branch serving just casual Korean food and beer. 

The final savory course of pork was another dish that’s out of this world, with the bone-on pork rib marinated with ganjang sauce and grilled to give a nicely charred crust and pinkish, tender meat in the center. I enjoyed the small bowl of bibimbap topped with beef tartare and the dureup salad with the seasonal Korean angelica tree shoot, both of which served on the side, too. 

Was a pity that we need to rush through the dessert course towards the end – more of our fault really without realizing we must finish by 10pm and went slow at the beginning – but all the sweet dishes were lovely, especially the Doedeok icecream with rhubarb juice and toasted buckwheat on top. 

More photos here:

When? April 23 2022
Where? Hansik Goo, 1/F, The Wellington, 198 Wellington Street, Sheung Wan
Menu Highlights? BBQ Pork with Yukhweh Bibimbap

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