Unlike many other cuisines, Korean food isn’t about living your life under a rock. You’re going to have to pull up a seat at a communal table, rest your knees on the floor, and maybe even engage in a chopstick war so you can grab the last piece of tender meat being freshly grilled on the gridiron at the centre of your table. You’re going to get pickled vegetables in your teeth, spicy stews trickling down your chin, and some perfectly tender, grilled meats full of rich, hearty flavours rolling around in your mouth. You’re also going to learn so much new vocabulary you’ll be screaming words like “Naengmyeon!” in your sleep as you dream about the meal you lost your heart to.
For the residents of Mumbai, Korean cuisine is a treasure we’ve discovered very recently. We’re still counting Korean restaurants on our fingertips and learning how to use chopsticks without making a fool of ourselves. But not so far away, in another bubbling metropolis of Bengaluru, the craze for Korean cuisine has taken over the city. A little-known fact about Bengaluru is its increasing Korean expat population that paved the way for authentic fare in the city. This coupled with the barrage of Korean business visitors has given rise to a number of restaurants serving authentic Korean delicacies in the city. And voila, today Bengaluru is home to Korean food that can fit every kind of budget. So grab your stretchiest pants and join our little band of Korean food devotees, this right here is your ultimate guide to the flavour-packed cuisine in the city.
Where: 13, NK Enclave Building, Near Sathya Hospital, Chinnappa Layout, 4th Cross, KammanahalliMain Road, Kammanahalli, Bangalore.
From the floor seating to the delicate wall paintings everything about this place makes you feel like you’re in Little Korea, if not Korea itself. It has the sort of gentle ambience and friendly exterior that makes it immensely popular with Korean nationals in Bangalore. But having said that, the menu still caters to newbies as well with helpful pictures and descriptions that make your ordering much simpler. This is especially perfect because they have a really wide selection of dishes on offer and no matter how much of an expert you are, chances are you wouldn’t be ready for this gastronomical assault on your senses. That’s not an exaggeration because even the water is herb-flavoured.
Cost: INR 1,400 for two people.
II. Hae Kum Gang
Where: No 20, C.O Paul’s Castle Street, Ashok Nagar.
With a truly oriental touch, Hae Kum Gang has proved a favourite in Bangalore’s thriving Korean circuit where it’s all but impossible not to get lost in the crowd. Unlike most of the others, however, this place is actually owned by a Nepali man Mr. Hira Bahadur Karki whose Korean wife directs the goings on in the kitchen. Okay so it kind of is the same as all the others, we take it back. The place is comfortable but not overly flashy, which adds to the comforting experience that comes with home-style food and absolutely delicious soups and meat.
Cost: INR 1,500 for two people.
III. Hi Seoul
Where: 309, 7th Main Road, HRBR Layout, 2nd Block, Kalyan Nagar.
This local favourite for Korean cuisine (Bangalore seems to have an unfair majority of good options) answers a lifelong question for chicken wing enthusiasts—how can you make this godsend of a dish even better? Deep-fry them of course! But before we get carried away with all the culinary delights, a little context. A simple establishment, Hi Seoul may be located in a mall but other than its speedy service it has nothing of the food-court feel. The menu isn’t particularly extensive and that might be exactly what contributes to the high quality of every single dish. It’s a family owned restaurant which prides itself on its relaxed ambience. Perfect for people looking for a quick, reasonably priced meal that just happens to be exotic too.
Cost: INR 800 for two people.
IV. Soo Ra Sang
Where: Himalayan Inn hotel, 332, Indiranagar Double Road, Indiranagar.
The focus here is the best dam Korean BBQ you can find in the country, which means you shouldn’t consider wearing anything but your loosest dress or stretchiest pants to lunch or dinner. Concealed in the tiny back lanes of the airport road this is the place to go for a really special experience on your way in or out of Bangalore. The place is run by Korean expats who are hugely enthusiastic about providing new customers with all the information they need to get the best out of their meal. While you could easily overlook this small, unadorned setting it would be a real shame to miss out on this place that really lets the food shine.
Cost: INR 1,500 for two people.
Where: 8, 1st Cross Rd, KHB Colony, 5th Block, Koramangala.
Don’t let the name of this food joint deceive you, because the food is Korean through and through. A hidden gems in the lanes of the popular neighbourhood of Koramangala, The Himalayan caters to all your Korean food cravings. With a quaint and homely feel to the restaurant, its food will leave you oh-so-satisfied. The portions are beyond sufficient and the flavour remains authentic. An array of Kimbap, Bulgogi sizzler sets and sushi are sure to fulfil you. Be sure to try out their Pork rib stew, as well.
Cost: INR 1,200 for two people.
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