Saturday, August 7, 2010

Quo Lai, Chinese in Samcheong-dong

(Directions at bottom of post.)
Quo Lai is fancy Chinese in a small, cozy restaurant with an upscale, trendy-looking atmosphere, but it's not ridiculously expensive. You can get a really good set menu for 30,000 won per person at dinner time, which features 7 dishes. Meg & I both got that (you can only do it in groups of two people, since the dishes are meant to be shared).

The dishes in the 30,000 set are:

1. Chewy seafood in a deep brown gravy-like broth. Very savory.

2. Seafood noodles with a strange, meringue-like sauce. This dish is interesting, and an excellent complement to the richness of the first dish. Meg was suspicious of the meringue-type sauce, but I thought it was delicious. I think it was egg-based, but I could be way off.

3. Deep-fried shrimp with a sauce that's somewhere between honey mustard for sweetness and hollandaise sauce for texture.

4. Crispy pork with hot peppers piled on top. Mmm, crispy pork. Enough said.

5. Beef & green peppers and onions. A lot of peppers and onions, not that much beef, but still tasty.

6. Chinese flour buns. You know the stuff: really thick, chewy perfectly white, buns.

7. Choice of either jjajangmyeon (noodles with the black bean sauce) or seafood kalguksu (noodles in a mildly spicy clear broth with some seafood thrown in). I'm a jjajang fan, so I'd always recommend the jjajang. It may just be fifty pounds of msg, but something about that black bean sauce just sets off all the deliciousness alarms inside my brain.

Overall, a good meal. Increasingly fancier sets are available for increasingly fancier prices. A good choice to really satisfy a Chinese craving, though of course, there are cheaper ways to do that. Summary, the here food here is pricey but top-notch. Also a good place to take a date, assuming that the individual likes Korean-style Chinese food.

These directions are lengthy. See the interactive map below to clear up confusion. Go out Anguk Station Exit 1 and walk straight. Eventually you will get to walls of Gyeongbokgung Palace. It is absolutely massive, you'll know it when you see it. (see the map below.) Turn right and head up the street that goes alongside the palace wall. Keep going until you see a restaurant called The Restaurant. (It should be at the third substantial intersection since you started walking alongside the palace.) When you see The Restaurant, turn right and walk up the street. Just keep going and you will get to Quo Lai after a while; it should be on the left side of the street. On the way up this street, you should pass many nice-looking restaurants and art galleries. If you want to take a cab or need to ask any Korean speakers how to get to Quo Lai, the Hangeul is 쿠얼라이.

View Quo Lai in a larger map


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