Korean places are popping up left, right and centre these days. NongBu Korean Eatery is the latest entry. Surprise, surprise, it’s located where else but South side. At least this one is just off Whyte Ave.
We decided to check NongBu on a Friday evening and the place was busy. The interior is clean and simple with Korean black and white soap op’s projecting onto the main wall. We sat upstairs, which I thought was pretty cool. I think they could re-think some of their table layout though. Lots of unused space.
We had to wait a bit for a table but whittled away the time sitting at the bar and drinking some beer and soju. We never got to try the roasted corn tea that they supposedly serve when you first sit down. Sad face.
The menu is a short, concise one pager of snacks/street eats, kalguksu and ssam’s. They’ve only been open for a week but the prices have already increased? Interesting…
Seafood pa-jeon ($8.50)
Traditional Korean crepe with shrimp, squid and green onion. I like the rustic, imperfect look of the pancake. It had a crispy texture and wasn’t greasy. The sesame dipping sauce it came with was delicious.
Chef’s daily kimbap creation made of rice and vegetables rolled in seaweed. The Korean version of sushi, I thoroughly enjoyed the kimbap’s. The sweetness from the sesame and crunchy bite from the vegetables was excellent. Look at all those fresh veggies (asparagus!) stuffed inside the rolls. The accompanying sauce (not sure of the name) complimented the kimbap well.
DwengJang kalguksu ($12.00)
Korean bean paste and pork soup topped with ground pork and enoki mushroom. The fresh hand-cut noodles were excellent with a chewy bite to them. The broth tasted similar to miso, but less salty and more flavour from the bean paste. A few slices of tender pork balanced things off nicely.
Mussel kalguksu ($14.00)
Seafood soup topped with mussels and vegetables. The broth was much lighter than the DwengJang but still flavourful. There were about six mussels in our soup along with a couple of green hot peppers. Eat one and you’ll experience a temporary flash of heat.
Bo ssam ($32.00 sharing plate)
All ssam dishes come with two rice bowls, soup (same broth as the DwengJang) and banchan. We went with the bo ssam (slowly braised pork shoulder) that came with sliced garlic, hot peppers, cucumber, ssamjang and a tasty green onion/onion side bowl. Apparently, we got the last one of the night! The pork shoulder was doooope. Super tender, flavourful, the only disappointment was that there wasn’t enough! We found the portion small for the price. They skimped out on the lettuce wraps, which should never happen. At Tofu House, you get more bang for your buck.
Overall, we were pretty happy with our meal. The service is a bit on the slow side and could use some work (they forgot about one of our orders and brought our pa-jeon out near the end, when it should have came first). Blame it on opening week kinks. As well, they sold out of all their food by 9pm! What?! Exciting that NongBu is offering a different perspective on Korean cuisine. Will be happy to go back and try more items next time.
NongBu Korean Eatery
8115 – 104 Street