Having recently read in both Olive magazine AND the Observer Food Monthly that Korean food is the next big thing to hit the UK, I have to say I’m feeling pretty smug. I’m currently undergoing an education of my own. Unrelated but incredibly well timed, which I’m going to say puts me bang on trend for once. In the last couple of months, I’ve tried so many things which are totally new to me and I’m loving every single mouthful.
A few weeks back I got to try lots of different Korean food at a very unassuming little family style restaurant at the bottom (less desirable end) of Hockley. Sarangchae is clearly popular with local Koreans and Chinese (mainly students) and the place was packed, despite us dining early. We ordered a bit of everything and after a quick chopstick lesson, I was ready to tuck in (spoon on standby)…
Here’s what we ate:
A kind of pancake. we had ours stuffed with spring onion, seafood and red peppers was probably my favourite thing of the night. The bowl of gangjang (soy sauce) positioned perfectly for dipping and spot on for my salty palette.
Served in a traditional pot. This is the one dish I already knew – mixed rice with vegetables (and in ours also beef) and egg. We asked for ours to come with a raw egg in the traditional way. You mix the egg in and it cooks in the heat of the red hot pot. Seasoned with gochujang (a spicy sauce), this was absolutely delicious.
A tomato dish with rice cakes which was really spicy and very filling. It didn’t look overly appetising but tasted great. Just hard to eat with chopsticks!
This is not sushi. I definitely won’t be making that mistake again after assuming it was. Similarly, though, the fillings are rolled in rice, seaweed and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Here we went for tuna and it was GOOOOD.
Korean rice wine – I was warned that its an acquired taste but I actually really liked it – the closest comparison I guess would be slightly flat prosecco. Bonus points for such a cute teapot and cup set.
We ordered a LOT of food. We ended up taking the leftovers home for what turned out to be a pretty epic brunch. I’m fairly sure I’ll be heading back to Sarangchae soon. It might not look like much, or be in the best end of town but the prices were reasonable, the place was totally casual and the food was wicked.
I always say it but just in case - here it is again. I paid for my meal and Sarangchae were not aware that I was planning to review the experience. My opinions are all my own and I will always be honest regardless of whether or not I paid for my meal