Finally, onto Kowloon and the melting pot of Tsim Sha Tsui. The Friday night mission was Korean, and although there are a bunch of authentic ones on Kimberly Road, we decided to switch it up with some Miramar goodness. The amount of foot traffic at ChumChumMi takes a beating due to location, but those in the know find their way here. Specifically, lots of young hangukin/韓國人/한국인. I think the owner and staff were also mostly Korean. What with me, my friend, one waitress and the diners, there were quite a few black-rimmed glasses that night!
Complimentary hot Korean rice tea, a nice, fragrant break from the usual water or Chinese tea, plus yellow bean paste and gochujang (red chili paste/苦椒醬/고추장) which would come in handy for the bibimbap later. There was a stove set into the table for hotpot.
The menu was had some amazing photos, but from the multiple visual styles you know they’re all off Google! With Korean, I usually go for the dolsot bibimbap (stone bowl rice/石鍋拌飯/돌솥비빔밥)($110), so we did, as well as shrimp tempura kimbap (韓式脆蝦卷/새우김밥)($67) and kimchi jeon, or pancake (韓式泡菜薄餅/김치전)($100). I also had a $30 iced lemon tea.
We got some complimentary starters on a unique dish set, being sweet potato, mushrooms, sprouts and kimchi (from other reviews, these change around sometimes). All round OK.The kimchi pancake came with some chili sauce on the side. Without the sauce it was only about 10% spicy, and this is from me who can’t take too much spice. Texture was a bit soft and not crunchy enough, and occasionally a piece would fall apart. Could be better.
Next came the bibimbap. As soon as it was brought to us by the cute Korean-American waitress, I knew this was the highlight of the meal. She mixed the rice with some of the yellow bean paste and gochujang. We asked for a “little” spiciness level and got it (I know, wimpy).
The menu said this had veggies and beef, but I didn’t notice much beef; maybe reason enough to notch down the price a bit? The taste was alright but nothing out of the ordinary. Too bad there wasn’t much of a slightly charred rice layer (飯焦) on the bottom, like with that winter delight, Chinese claypot rice!
Soon after came the kimbap.
Each piece had a small slice of shrimp tempura and veggies like carrot and cucumber. Although there were no surprises in the taste, the tempura added some crunchiness to this welcome break from Japanese sushi.
So AFTER the meal was over, my companion for this mission suggested that we had ordered a touch too many carbs, and indeed we were stuffed to the gills but couldn’t handle the leftovers. My bad. It was also reported that she personally preferred the kimchi pancake at Arirang (阿里朗) in Harbour City. Time for a personal comparison?
Apparently this place is also a bar that’s open til 4am! The table next to us were a mixed group of lively young Koreans who were downing post-dinner shots, while next door you had an old couple having hotpot…
Conclusion: Overall, I was reminded me of my student days (sniff) and some of the more modern overseas Chinese eateries you see in North America, UK or Australia…although this place is neither devoutly traditional or cutting-edge fusion, it’s enough for these homesick souls wanting to recall a taste of the motherland. Final bill was $338, or $169 per head; reasonable for TST considering the quantity, but probably more for the environment than say awesome food. The location means you shouldn’t have much trouble finding a seat but if you want something a bit more authentic, plenty of choices nearby too! If you do come here, why not order the bibimbap… 😉
Restaurant rating: NOM NOM NOM (out of five).
Address:Shop 9-10, 2/F, Miramar Shopping Centre, 132 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui 尖沙咀彌敦道132號美麗華商場2樓9-10號舖
Tel: 2363 1100
Opening hours: Mon – Sun, 11am – 4am