Oh Geul Buh Geul
Oh Geul Buh Geul is a Korean restaurant for the truly indecisive. The restaurant's offerings span the gamut of Korean cuisine. Stews, noodles, barbeque and virtually everything in between make an appearance on the menu. Located two doors down from the popular Owl of Minerva , Oh Geul Buh Geul runs on a different philosophy, choosing an expansive menu over a handful of specialty dishes.
Like many Korean restaurants, half of the seats are made up of private dining booths, with regular dining tables filling out the rest of the space. The TV is always blaring K-Pop performances. The tables and booths at this restaurant have a button to call a server, ensuring efficient service.
While complimentary Kimchi is standard fare for Korean joints, this place's reputation is founded on their absurd assortment of side dishes. We counted ten including the scallion pancake. These side dishes are great to munch on before the main orders come in. The spicy glazed potatoes and glass noodles were particularly satisfying.
My three dining partners and I had come with big appetites, so we opted for the BuDae Jongol which literally translates to boot camp stew. ($25, $30 with a bottle of soju) The dish derives its name from the Korean War as it began as a method for locals to re-purpose discarded pork products from American boot camps.
This stew consists of pork belly, spam, hot dog slices, rice cakes and kimchi and comes topped with a brick of instant ramen noodles and a handful of watercress and enoki mushrooms for good measure. This is honest, low-brow comfort food and your doctor's worst nightmare.
My friend who avoids red meat ordered the Soon (soft) Tofu Stew with a side of grilled yellow croaker ($15). The fish was nicely charred, well seasoned and served on a hot plate. The stew is intensely spicy, with the smooth silken tofu cutting the heat and the occasional oyster offering a nice seafood flavour.
Our final dish was a Korean street food favorite. Ddukbokki consists of white rice cakes fried in a sweet and spicy pepper sauce. Fish cake, onions and glass noodles round out the dish. This one seriously brought the heat. The chewy rice cakes are good for mitigating the burn.
After a couple of shots of soju, Korean rice wine ($5 with the Jongol) my friends and I had filled our bellies and cleared our sinuses. We were sweaty, stuffed and satisfied so we picked up the cheque, ate our complimentary orange slices and went on our way.
Writing by Walter Yoo