September 01, 2009 | | Comments 24

Bool Chul Pan Korean Hot Grill on North Road, Coquitlam

Update 10-Jun-2010: This restaurant had closed and no longer in business.

Ladies and gentlemen.  This restaurant is a great find.

It is unique and one of a kind in Vancouver.  It is cheap.  It is delicious.  It has monstrous portions.  It is multi-course.  It is interactive.  It is fun.  The people are super friendly.

If I tell you the name of this place, you will NEVER find it.  Yeah, go ahead … go Bing or Google or Bingle the name “Bool Chul Pan”.  See if you can find it.  LOL!

It is everything I like in a restaurant.  And I think you will too.

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The place is unpretentious.  Not much of a decor.  The tables and chairs are of bulky wooden unpolished type.  The place is smokey.  It is smokey from all the cooking they do for you at your table.  The smell alone of this place will make you drool in anticipation.  The hardest part is eyeing the neighboring tables having the same thing on a sizzling pan … cooking away.

I swear those at the tables who were already eating smirking at us droolers who had not started yet.

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Let me clue you in a little bit more.  They serve drinking water in plastic containers like the ones above.  The characters on the label should give you some clue what type of food they serve.

OK, the title of this post already has the word “Korean”.  Just humour me and stay with me … pretend you still don’t know.

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This place gives us metal chopsticks.  No other nation in the world uses metal chopsticks.  And the chopsticks are very thin … very hard to hold even for someone who grows up using chopsticks.  It forces you to pick your food more delicately … more deliberately.

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They give you banchan.  Lots of it.  Plates stacked high as they bring them to your table.  Then they lay it on the table leaving hardly any space left for anything else.

Suanne had to put her note book on her lap.  I had to also put my camera on my lap.

Kimchee.  Potato.  Bean sprout. Daikon. Cold Sour Soup.  It is free.  No charge at all.  Free is good.

The banchan is quite OK.  Not great.  I had better ones.  But it is forgiveable given what we are about to have.

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Then they gave each of us an apron.  Everyone has one.  It is bright orange.  This is gonna sizzle.  This is getting exciting.  Felt kind of silly putting this on.  But we did.  Everyone did.

They proudly declared that they are the only people who serves this unique meal in Metro Vancouver.  No one else.  Non.  Nada.  Nien.  Nyet.  Illai.

Mei you!

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Then came the gas burner.  For once we see a Korean made one.  It is not one of the billions of Chinese made burners that had flooded the worlds market.

The Korean stands are taller.  They are different.

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Nanzaro ordered this.  This one came in a bowl as big as a basin.  Not really, but close.  It is huge, big, humungous, gigantic, enormous, massive.  This alone can feed a family of four, communal style.  Am not kidding.

This is called Spicy Seafood Soup with Korean Pasta.  Only $9.

The noodle was chewy.  It is loaded with stuff … with squid, onions, mushroom, wood ear, cucumber and green onions.

Value for money.  Delicious too.

But wait.  This is not “it”.  The above is not “it” at all.  No siree.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is IT! …

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They made this English version of the name for me.  I could not understand what they were saying when I asked them.  They repeated so many times I lost count.  I asked them to write it down … spell it in English.  They congregated at the counter to discuss and decide how to write this in alphabets.  Our waitress then came back with a piece of paper hastily torn from some notebook.  She smiled as she passed that to me … was proud even.  Just three words:

BOOL CHUL PAN

Ah so … Bool Chul Pan.  You will never see these words anywhere here.  In English that is.  I am sure that it is all over the place in Korean.  I don’t read Korean.

There are several versions.  We ordered the one called Pan Fried Squid, Pork Belly and Vegetable.  Delightful.

We ordered a large one.  $35.  They said it is good for 3-4 people.

They lied.  We have four adults, two teenagers and two toddlers.  And that is too much food even for us.

Picking up the chopsticks, I wanted to dig in — pronto.  But got to hold on first.

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They come by and cook this for us.  Stir fry style with wooden ladles.  They said this is the “Fire Grill”.  I like the name.

Hard to watch.  Getting hungrier by the second.  The aroma!

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That’s just course #1 above.  They are generous with the ingredients.  The Pork Belly and Squid was pre-cooked already.  In this are stuff like cabbage, bean sprout, cucumber, yam, green onions, baby corn, green bean, and rice cake.  Oh the rice cake, it was a conversation piece between Suanne and Joyce.  I couldn’t care for conversation.  Time to eat, not to talk.

The Red Pepper Sauce was used to stir fry this.  The Koreans call this Go Ju Jiang or Gochujang.  Hot and Spicy. Sweet.  Delish too.

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Here is the menu to understand more … I hope.  I don’t understand their strange combination.

See the section that says Alpha-T-2-1?  The part that also says “plus item $1″?  Well, each item is $1.  But if you want all five items, it is $3.  I like their math.

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The $1+$1+$1+$1+$=$3 item came next.  They dump these ingredients onto the pan and then stir fry some more.  This is like course #2 — noodles.

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In between courses, we had something to clear our palate.

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They call the above Rice Soup.  It is like congee … very plain, watery congee.  It is bland.  Interesting.

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Course #3.  They came by with three large servings of rice.  Stir fry some more.  When it gets dry, they will pour more of the soupy stuff.

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We were already quite full.  But who could resist the likes of the above.  Marvelous.

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We did finish this off.

Highly satisfying.

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The bill came up to $55 before tips.  Joyce laughed when she saw the bill.  For all the food we had, anyone would have thought that they made a mistake with the bill.

We even had a Bulgogi which I did not even take pictures of.  With Bool Chul Pan, Bulgogi looked so unexciting.

You must go check it out.  Bring friends.  Lots of friends.  Lots of hungry friends.

Thanks to Joyce and Jeff for showing us this nameless restaurant.  I understand now why you said you don’t know the name of this place.

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I hereby call this place the Bool Chul Pan Korean Hot Grill.  Just remember the address 4501 North Road, Coquitlam.  The Skytrain tracks runs next to this mall.  Bright yellow sign at the corner of the mall.  Sign is in Korean with English word “Korean Hot Grill”.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Here is the map.  Enjoy!
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Bool Chul Pan Korean Hot Grill on Urbanspoon

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  1. shokutsu says:

    Phonetically, perhaps its best to spell it out as “Pul Chol Pan” to get the right sounds, but as you say, with only Korean script in the signage, it will be hard to find anyways. :)

  2. Kevin says:

    This is the first place I’m going to eat after I heal from my wisdom teeth. Seriously.

    I’m going to write this down and post it on my wall so I will remember.

  3. Quinn says:

    I so wish I’m in Vacncouver now!

  4. Su-Lin says:

    Five food dishes for $19.99 sign in their window? I wonder if that’s good too!

  5. Joyce says:

    Glad you guys like it just like we did…what a great deal this is, I must try the basin-oops I mean the Seafood Noodles we head there next time. Must also check out the nice Korean Dessert Tea House on the first floor of the Plaza which I think will be an eye candy – want to venture there together again??

  6. There’s another extremely good (albeit higher-end) Korean BBQ place just a block or so away at North Rd and Lougheed Hwy: Insadong. Highly recommended.

    That said, I will definitely try this place out.

    • jenn says:

      yeah, I like Insadong too.
      one of the few korean places i will actually go to :)
      bool-chul-pan is probably not as “formal” as insadong, but it sounds fun! plus i guess you’d get WAY more food :]

  7. Calico says:

    I live around there and was really curious about it. I’m glad you went there first–it looks interesting though the menu seemed confusing. Will give it a try one day.

    By the way, I’ve been following your blog a long time–you two do great work!

  8. foodprints says:

    Dined there because of the fabulous review you had given. My experience paled in comparison and would not go again. We ordered a medium sized version of what you had. There was only one course not the massive multi meal you had. I did not find a single dumpling, only about 5 peices of thinly sliced hotdog, a few peices of the rice cake and about 5 pounds of onions and cabbage. The rice was served in two silver bowls, I asked the waiter if he was going to mix it into the dish and he said it’s to be eaten separately. HUH?? Did we go to the same restaurant or some dark bizarro copycat? The food is tasty and filling from the massive amount of carbs. It just didn’t live up to the high expectations I had.

    • Ben says:

      Hi foodprints:
      How much did you pay for the meal? Maybe it’s because we had the larger sized one. I am not sure because our friends did the ordering. About the dumpling, I just cross checked the photo of the menu. The dumpling was in the $3 extra 5 items we ordered. Strange thing about the rice because they did not serve the rice until the end for us when they actually stir fry it in front of us for us.
      Ben

      • Foodprints says:

        Hey Ben

        We paid just under $30 for the med size with all 5 items. Since I am a condemned carnivore, the two slices of hotdogs just didn’t hit the spot for me. For $30 we could have eaten 1/2 a pig in most Chinese eateries =)

        IMO this would be a great meal for vegetarians.

        BTW they also placed the grill right in front of my three year old son too!

  9. gish says:

    I also dined here after reading Ben’s glowing review and I have to say my experience here was not equal to yours. I left a bit disappointed and felt I needed to let other readers know about my experience here.

    Ordering from the right menu: The menu you have posted in your blog is not the correct one. It is the menu opposite that page that has the rice they fry up for you at the end. The menu you have posted just comes with plain rice. It is a good thing the waitress pointed this out to us.

    Service: The ladies that served us were not very strong in English, so that is perhaps the reason why I felt they were avoiding us all night. We had a toddler with us too and they seated us at a table for 4 against the window so my daughter sat in a high chair at the end of the table. The server comes and plops the burner and food right in front of her. Gee, that’s smart! We did not receive water at the beginning of the meal like you did. We had to ask for it several times before we got it. It also took us a few tries before we could order two beers, which were priced well at $3.50 each. They did not give us any dishes to eat off of after they stirred up our food so we had to wave someone down, which was not that easy as the servers were not always around. At one point we had to get up ourselves to look for some extra napkins and other pair of chopsticks. The cooking of the food at the table wasn’t much of a show. It was more like, turn on the burner, a few quick stirs, turn off the burner, enjoy. They gave us the rice soup and only one bowl of the kimchi soup(?) between the four of us at the beginning of our meal, not in between courses. They were also not able to make light conversation with us when we asked about the food as they were cooking it.

    Food: The food was tasty but it wasn’t an overabundant amount of food. You say that the large was too much for 4 adults, 2 teenagers and 2 toddlers. We had 4 adults and a toddler who wasn’t eating and we were able to finish everything easily. We are not big eaters, just average. The 5 items for $3 was a bit skimpy. A few slices of hotdog, 1 or 2 dumplings, what cheese?, mostly just instant noodles. I noticed that you were not charged for this on your bill. It wasn’t really a 3 course meal for us as they came by with the noodle stuff seconds after they cooked up the main stuff so it’s more like a 2 course meal. Also, we did not receive any beans sprouts, green onions, cucumbers or green beans in our dish.

    Ambiance: It was way too warm it there. The place was only 1/4 full and not everyone was having the fire grill yet the place was so warm when we arrived and stayed that way throughout our meal.

    Value: The food came up to about $40 with the extra 5/$3 so for 4 people it was ok but I think I ate more cabbage and rice than anything. Everyone at our table thought that valuewise you could get a lot more at a Chinese restaurant, where they usually have an extensive dinner menu that you can order 4 things off of and get rice, soup and dessert for just under $50.

    P.S. Love your blog, B&S! Keep up the great work! :)

    • Suanne says:

      Oh wow. Thanks for the detailed feedback gish. Am glad you enjoyed reading this little blog of ours and thought it worthwhile to check out this restaurant too even though your experience did not quite meet up with ours.

    • Joanne says:

      I had a very similar experience to gish today. The food was not overabundant. We ordered the combo that came with large portion of hot grill, pancake, and soft tofu stew. The hot grill was more like vegetable grill, there’s not enough meat for all of us. The pancake was fine, but the stew was so small. I wonder why Ben and some others found that they’re generous with food. The portion was not monstrous at all. They ran out of Hite beer, the 5 items for 3 dollars, and took them forever to get us water and more side dishes. There was only one waitress serving the entire restaurant today. Ah..

      Anyways, I think there’s never harm in trying out a new restaurant. thank you for all the reviews, Ben and Suanne :)

      By the way, have you ever tried out the $13 all you can eat Korean BBQ lunch in Richmond? It’s called Kim Ga Ne, located across from Aberdeen mall. What do you think of it?

      • Ben says:

        Hi Joanne:

        I am getting the same feedback that BCP is not what it used to be when we were there. Trust me, when we went there there were TWO families and we all thought that there was a lot of food.

        As a matter of fact, we ALMOST went to Kim Ga Nae today. I was about 2 blocks away when the boys suddenly kiboshed the idea when I told them it will take more than 1 hour, likely 2. They wanted to go home quick to get back to their computer games (sigh!). KGN is the type of restaurant we will like … we love Korean BBQ!

        Ben

  10. Kevin says:

    Would you happen to have their #? Strange that there isn’t one on the receipt.

    • Suanne says:

      Hi Kevin: I am afraid I don’t have their number. I checked also my other unpublished pictures … nyada. Sorry. BTW, I sent you two emails already in response to your question. Did you receive it? I am afraid that it might have landed in your spam folder.
      Ben

  11. Audrey says:

    I’ve gotta say, I’m glad you enjoyed your meal there, but I highly disagree.

    We had their Combo C, which consisted of tofu soup, beef shortribs, jumpcha (sp?), stone pot bugolgi and seafood pancake.

    It was filling enough, there were four of us, but the food quality was terrible compared to other Korean restaurants I’ve tried.

    The jumpcha and the beef shortribs were swimming in oil. And no joke, the shortribs were 50% meat, and 50% bone+fat. More fat than bone.. and meat for that matter;

    The seafood pancake had a marginal amount of seafood in it, and the bugolgi had very little vegetables and meat. In fact, after stirring in the egg and the vegetables, I don’t think I tasted any meat at all.

    I’d complain on a different website, but no dining rating site seems to really know this place exists, and good thing too. It’s really not that great;

  12. HYT says:

    Thanks for the recommendation for the K restaurant & your website! I live by the area & I had wondered if this is a good place to try…I will go check it out soon with my family. FYI – if your family comes out again to North Road – I actually recommend Korean Fusion restaurant (it is in the same complex as HMart) – at the very end of the strip. They specialize in pork belly -they have this long explanation in Korean in their menu (the staff has limited English) when I tried to get them to translate… Food is very good & lots of Korean eat at this restaurant.

  13. michelle says:

    Hi Professional eaters!
    Where should I go for cheap, authentic and not rip off quality Korean food? I’ve yet to have anything other than bimbimbab.. feel sorry for me okay? haha!

  14. [...] of you might remember that I did a post on a place called Bool Chul Pan about 3 months ago. This restaurant was introduced to us by Joyce and Jeff. We would not have found [...]

  15. [...] Chul Pan Korean Hot Grill October 20, 2009   Kevin Wu   4 CommentsChowtimes posted about this vaguely named Korean restaurant in September, but I couldn’t go try it out [...]

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