A few weeks ago, I woke up and made myself a pancake breakfast using a Japanese pancake mix that I purchased from a Korean grocery store a while back. The recipe and instructions are written in Japanese, but there are some easy to decipher pictures. Still, I wanted to be thorough and get the actual instructions instead of my guesstimations. Before I received the instructions from my friend’s Japanese co-worker, who was gracious enough to translate them for me, I tried to google them. What I did find was a rather amusing interpretation of the instructions on another blog that gave me a laugh. Might I add, the pancakes were the fluffiest pancakes I’ve ever made.
Later that night I went out to dinner and browsed through the aisles of a couple in the Korean grocery stores on North Road. At Hannam Mart there was an entire aisle dedicated to different types of seaweed. Fresh sea cucumber, in water packs similar to what you’d imagine pet goldfish go home in, were also for sale– something I’ve never seen before. When I asked the fish monger on duty how they were eaten, he briefly explained that they were eaten raw with a bit of seasoning. I wouldn’t mind trying raw sea cucumber, but I didn’t want to taint my first experience being disgusted by improper preparation, and worse yet–getting sick as a result. After picking up a few things, I went in search of a restaurant for dinner nearby.
It didn’t take very long at all to find a restaurant, because I immediately noticed a piggie logo on the same block which belonged to a downtown restaurant I had long been wanting to try. The piggie logo was really the only reason that the restaurant stood out in my mind. To be honest, I didn’t know what kind of food they served, but fortunately for one of my favourite foods was on the menu.
Some of you may already know about my minor obsession with hamburg steak and my previous posts here and here, and that was why I was so excited to accidentally stumble into Dae Ji. Dae Ji’s signature item is actually their pork cutlet, so I was happy to find out I could order a combo meal that included both the cutlet and steak. The combo was served with a coleslaw, corn, macaroni salad, rice, and miso soup(which I recommend upgrading to kimchi soup for an additional charge). Everything was smothered with gravy, so there was plenty of flavour to lend to the steamed rice which I added a fried egg to. The pork cutlet was crispy and tender enough to entice a rabbi to hang up his kippah. The hamburg steak was thick, juicy, and flavourful, but after a few bites I realized that because they added so many flavourings to the meat, it more closely resembled meatloaf than it did hamburg steak.
The cuisine at Dae Ji is what I would consider yoshoku fare. But if this type of food is common in Korea, perhaps they have their own name and variations on the dishes. I had fun shopping in the grocery stores and Dae Ji was a delicious end to my evening of exploration and discovery. While this was not the ideal hamburg steak, it was still pretty darned good. Congratulations to Dae Ji on their second location, and I hope their success will result in third location closer to where I live.
*On a side note, fellow blogger, Photos by Foodie, claims that this is a good recipe for hamburg steak. I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks delicious!