Red Chicken Korean RestaurantPosted: 04/14/2012
SB is a huge YouTube enthusiast. Actually, “enthusiast” might be too mild a term…maybe it would be safer to say that YouTube is like his second girlfriend. I’m not such a big YouTube fan, but I do avidly watch two types of videos: cat videos and those by KevJumba.
I love KevJumba. Really really. So despite my lack of enthusiasm for the other members of YTF, I dragged SB down to their Vancouver concert. Too bad for me, KevJumba randomly couldn’t make it that night…but anyways, I digress. The point of that whole preamble was that before the concert, SB and I stopped by Red Chicken for what was supposed to be a quick dinner. I’m usually quite indifferent to eating out at Korean restaurants, as there aren’t any spectacular ones in Vancouver, but SB managed to convince me somehow.
“Red Chicken” is thus named because of their signature dish, Buldak (불닭), literally “Fire Chicken”. I’ve had this before in Korea, and to be honest, I don’t find that it’s worth paying money for. It leaves a burning sensation in your mouth and isn’t at all pleasant to eat. We steered clear of the Buldak (as SB isn’t really into spicy foods either) and ordered some traditional Korean dishes instead.
We started off with the complimentary side dishes, Banchan. Here we received three: potato salad, pickled garlic, and kimchi. These weren’t really much to talk about–they did their job but weren’t anything spectacular. The kimchi tasted quite bland and a little store-bought. I guess nothing beats homemade!
I had the Seafood Soon Doo Boo (해물 순두부). It came with a bowl of rice. My biggest beef with this would be that there wasn’t a lot of seafood…there was one large prawn, and not much else. The tofu was soft though, as it should be, and it came out boiling hot. At other traditional Korean restaurants, they give you an egg so you can crack it in yourself, which I like better than the way it was served here. Another thing I found amiss was that they didn’t ask how spicy I wanted it to be, which is a common practice at soon doo boo restaurants. I suppose we can let it slide because it isn’t their specialty, although I can see it being too spicy for some people. The accompanying rice was a little too hard as well. Overall, this wasn’t a bad execution of soon doo boo, but you can definitely find better elsewhere.
SB had the Dook Bae Gi Bulgogi (뚝배기 불고기). It came with a bowl of rice as well, and consisted of marinated beef, egg, golden mushrooms, green onion, onions, button mushrooms, potato vermicelli, and small rice cakes. The broth was super sweet and tasted full of MSG. It was unnaturally sweet and there was no other real taste to the broth. SB thought that the amount of meat was acceptable, but he would have liked more noodles. He commented that while he didn’t mind this version of bulgogi, he preferred my mom’s home-cooked version better (d’awwwww…), which pretty much summarizes my attitude towards Korean restaurants in Vancouver.
Most Korean restaurants in Vancouver are more than acceptable and serve the usual dishes–Bibimbap, Bulgogi, Japchae. However, most of them use too much MSG and can’t stand up to home-cooked versions, which is why I rarely visit Korean restaurants. Also, I found that at Red Chicken, the prices were a little high. I do understand that operating costs are high in this part of town, but I find that high prices are quite standard for Korean food restaurants in Vancouver, which seems odd considering the large Korean population and the plethora of authentic Korean restaurants in the city.
Also, despite the usually horrible reputation that Korean waitresses have, the waitresses here were quite friendly and efficient. Although, they did mistake SB to be Korean and didn’t bother trying to speak English…of course it wasn’t a problem for us since I’m fluent in Korean, but I’m not sure how fluent the servers are in English. Still, it appeared that overall, they had a pleasant attitude and would try to assist non-Korean customers to the best of their ability. If only the food were a little less expensive…
Red Chicken Korean Restaurant
833 Bute Street