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.
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.
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.
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.
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 forgivable given what we are about to have.
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.
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.
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! …
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
In between courses, we had something to clear our palate.
They call the above Rice Soup. It is like congee … very plain, watery congee. It is bland. Interesting.
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.
We were already quite full. But who could resist the likes of the above. Marvelous.
We did finish this off.
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.
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.