Man Ri Sung Restaurant in Richmond: Korean Style Peking Duck Feast


Updated 11th Oct 2014; This restaurant is closed.

Here. Take a look at this. Take a good look at this.

A picture paints a thousand words but a youtube video paints a million words.

Last weekend was a mega weekend for Suanne and I. We organized three back-to-back dinners starting on Friday where we had a duck feast. This was followed on Saturday and Sunday where we had Alaskan King Crab dinners. There are so much eating it is scary to think of it. We had never attempted such a crazy thing before but it was just a coming together of a perfect storm.

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The kickoff of our feasting marathon started with the Duck Feast at the Man Ri Sung Korean Restaurant. No, it was not the the Man Ri Sung in Coquitlam where we once had a memorable meal. That Man Ri Sung restaurant in Coquitlam closed a few months ago to make way for SkyTrain construction (or so the sign says). Man Ri Sung re-opened … and they have re-opened in Richmond.

Going back a few weeks ago, vanchow reported that the Chuan Xiang Ge Sichuan restaurant closed quite suddenly. It was unexpected because this is a favourite Sichuan haunt of many chowhounds. So it is good know that a popular restaurant like Man Ri Sung is taking over the vacated spot.

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You may click on the picture above to show it larger if you can’t read the words.

Man Ri Sung is well known for their Duck Feast. When they were in Coquitlam, they had the duck feast for just $50 and that is good enough for … 4 or 5 people. So it was such a great deal then. That was two years ago. Today it is $59 which is not too bad.

It was Jenny of My Secret Eden who first discovered Man Ri Sung two years ago (see post here). This time I asked if she could help in the planning, especially in speaking to the restaurant. Jenny was a great help especially because Man Ri Sung barely know how to speak English. They speak Korean or Mandarin. Yup, Jenny did all the heavy lifting organizing this dinner behind the scene.

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We managed to pull together 20 attendees for this dinner. So we got the only two large tables which was just nice for our party.

The restaurant is not really big. They can fit maybe 50 people but certainly not more than 60. The other tables were rectangular tables which is really not suited for a party bigger than 6. We were there early and were the first diners for that night. Don’t let the above pictures fool you. Later on that night, this is how the restaurant looked like:

The place was absolutely packed. If you think about it, they had re-opened just 1 week prior. There were people standing around waiting for a table. The place was quite chaotic.

The thing is that they have only ONE waitress that night. While she was scampering around trying to keep up, we did not sort of mind as much that night. Maybe it was because we were too engrossed with our conversation and took our sweet time dining that. But I think this is a big problem that Man Ri Sung need to fix quickly. Hmmm … I was thinking how much that waitress made in tips that night.

I noticed that most of the customers were Korean. I guess word gets round the Korean community. There are not many Korean restaurants in Richmond. I am so glad that they decided to re-open here.

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This time quite a number of bloggers took time to join us in the dinner. Other than Jenny and R, there is DesignGirl of Foodology.ca with her entourage who had a bit of an adventure getting to the restaurant. I have a feeling it was all MY fault but DesignGirl is just too polite to pin the blame on me. Hehehe … you see, I gave everyone the wrong address. Read about their adventure here.

I heard that Cory was quite a charmer and I was glad that he kept the other table entertained. Cory is another blogger we just discovered. Of all blogs out there, his blog is unique. You see, he HAND-CODES his site! Us blogger whimps uses WordPress or Blogger. I did not know that people still do that.

Quenchiest Cravings was also there. I see these bloggers as the next wave of bloggers dominating the foodie scene the next few years. This is so encouraging because it is my dream that someday Vancouver will get known around the world for its diversity of food other being known as a very beautiful place. Yeah, one way to achieve this is to have a huge food blogger community larger than any other city in the world. Hehehe … that is my dream.

Our table was lucky. At our table was the elegant and sweet Elizabeth who is Korean. So we had the benefit of her explaining the food to us and help us throw questions to the chef. Knowing more about the food and the chef made the evening a lot more enjoyable.

Oh the food … the banchan was sort of disappointing. Having four banchan does not befit a feast. They should have served more. I expected more! Instead they serve the usual stuff: kimchee, seaweed, bean sprout and sweetish potatoes. Kind of boring isn’t it?

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Our singular focus: The Duck Feast!

We ordered two ducks per table and added also a couple of other dishes (pancake and lemon chicken) to supplement the dinner. The duck feast menu is above (right) is clickable.

For the duck feast, you can have a choice of duck congee or hotpot noodle and a side of either rice blood sausage, japchae or pan fried dumplings. Note that you need to pre-order the duck two hours in advance.

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Table setting was very Korean. Someone remarked that it was the first time he had seen the spoon wrapped in paper sleeve. I had come across this many times and had taken it for granted. But now thinking about it … yeah … is there a story behind why Koreans take the extra effort to wrap the spoon up but not the chopsticks?

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Most of us don’t have the hand muscles to use Korean chopsticks. They are made of metal which I have never come across Chinese chopsticks made of metal. Someone was telling us that the once upon a time the chopsticks were made of silver. The emperor or someone important uses silver chopsticks because it can change color when it comes in contact with poison. Is this a myth? LOL!

Anyway, you really need to develop a different set of hand muscles to use these chopsticks. They are very narrow but it does force one to use chopsticks in the proper manner.

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The table was set … and we waited (OK my fault!) and waited for the Foodology entourage. So we all got hungry.

I think this is because I told everyone to “come hungry” and they all came hungry. I swear I detected throats swallowing saliva during the agonizing wait.

So we started first and asked the chef to save one up one duck for the Foodology entourage.

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Here is the man behind the ducks. His record for 1 day 50 ducks!

Chef Sang Myung Lee will personally carve the ducks in front of every table. I think this is what makes it so unique and made Man Ri Sung such a memorable meal. It wasn’t fancy or anything like that. It is just a simple act and made a lot of difference. I think if the ducks were carved in the kitchen and no one saw what the chef looks like, the duck is probably half as delicious.

Chef Lee is Korean but was born in China. He lived in Korea for only approximately three years before he migrated to Canada 10 years ago. So his cooking is by and large more Chinese than he is Korean. Hence the Peking Ducks. He had been cooking ducks for almost 20 years already.

Chef Lee is a friendly person with a ready smile. It was hard to speak to him because he doesn’t speak English. When Jenny and Elizabeth spoke to him in Mandarin and Korean, he was more than expressive.

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The above is for the duck. It is the wrap and the julienne green onions and onions.

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The above plate is all the meat from 1 duck which was a lot.  There is a difference between the Korean Peking Duck and the Chinese Peking Duck.

The Chinese Peking Duck is normally served in two course. In the first course, they will serve only the skin of the duck which is made crispy and eaten with a pancake like wrap. There are no meat in the first course. The meat of the duck is then stir fried to make a second course which is eaten with a lettuce wrap.

However, with Man Ri Sung’s duck, most of the meat is in the first course. So it is more delightfully looking at so much meat. When it is served the steam from the still hot duck makes it even more enticing.

Man Ri Sung’s duck is barbequed. They BBQ it in a charcoal brazier. Oh never mind … here … I’ll let Elizabeth describe this to you in her own words:

“I called the restaurant and confirmed with them that it is a BBQ duck. They BBQ it in a charcoal brazier which look like the picture in the attachment (I tried to copy and paste it but no luck). It is the actual photo of the charcoal brazier that the Chef used back in Coquitlam so I am guessing it is the one that he uses in Richmond as well. You can notice that there is a nozzle at the bottom that collects all the fat and oil from the duck. It is called Beijing style BBQ duck, which Koreans call Jeon Chi Duk (全聚德). They use fruit charcoal (I’m guessing charcoal made from fruit tree wood). They do not cut open the duck’s stomach to remove the intestines and such but take them out by the anus of the duck (lovely I know). After the removal of the insides, they go through 12 different process involving water and fire. It is sometimes viewed as cruel. The article that I am translating from does not go into details. The article that I am translating from is an interview done by a Korean newspaper back in 2007. I got the picture of the charcoal brazier from there as well.

Isn’t Elizabeth wonderful? She did the research for me!

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The assembly is simple. Just smear the wrap with some bean sauce.

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Then add the julienne onions and green onions.

You know, to come to this dinner, it is best you invite vegetarian friends. This is because they can stop at this stage and enjoy the wrap.

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The non-vegetarians may proceed to the final assembly.

OMG! Heavenly!

The duck is charcoal grilled and so it is not fatty at all. Eating this is very informal. You really need to use your hands and you can enhance the taste 100% if you have soju with this. None of us had soju but yeah, some of us was saying how good it would be.

OK. I’ll give you a second while you swallow your saliva before reading on. Take your time. Don’t hold it. You can get choked.

Ready to carry on? I can’t wait forever, you know.

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DesignGirl said that eating this is like eating cancer.

And I just realized that I love eating cancer. LOL!

Oh my … this is the best-est and and crispest-est and super-est wings I ever had. Oliver knows his wings, Marion knows her wings … and so does Ben. It is dry and super brittle that even the bones are “muncheable”.

Let me give you a tip and please don’t tell anyone. OK? Promise? Cross you heart and hope to die?

If you do go to Man Ri Sung, tell your friends that the wings are awful looking and no one ever eats it. Then tell them it looked cancerous.

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Each duck will come with either a Duck Congee or a Hot Pot Noodle. Since we ordered two ducks for each table, we got one of each.

The Hot Pot Noodle had duck meat, mushroom, soy bean sprout, green onions, green vegetables and sesame seeds. Chef Lee came over and told us that there is no MSG and if we look very closely there is no oil in it.

The broth is not made with the duck carcass but Chef Lee uses the left over meat to flavour the soup.

Elizabeth did some more research and told us this:

“I wanted to clarify, I said that the hotpot contained sesame seed when they are in fact called perilla seeds. I originally thought that sesame leaf were actually the leaves of perilla plants but they are not. sesame leaf is from sesame seed, which is more common and more affordable. I love the perilla seed oil as it has a different fragrance and taste from sesame seed oil. That is about it for now. I haven’t done this much research since I was in university! I enjoyed it.”

Too much information for me. That was too technical but I am just amazed with Elizabeth’s research. She doesn’t have a blog yet but don’t you think she should start one? Yeah?

Let’s put our hands together and follow me:

“Liz-a-beth! Liz-a-beth! Liz-a-Beth!”

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The noodles are hand shaved. It was a bit soft and I wished it was a bit chewier.

Actually I thought I had MSG thirst after the dinner. I was not sure where the thirst came from but I thought I mention it.

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If not the Hot Pot, you get the Duck Congee. The rice looks like a mix of brown rice and sticky rice. The congee was creamy and yet still has some chew to it. It also has red dates, duck meat and green onions.

Really nice.

We were talking about congee and we forgot the origin of the word congee. I thought someone mentioned on chowtimes before how that word came about. Anyone can remember?

We said that it should be called “jook”. The Koreans also call this “jook” and it is such a universal work. OK, can someone tell us what “jook” is called in Vietnamese, Thai, Tagalog, and Japanese?

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The third course is made up of a choice of between:

  • Japchae,
  • Rice Blood Sausage, or
  • Dumplings

We got Japchae and Rice Blood Sausage. Dumplings were too common. The Japchae was just OK and quite delicious and flavorful. We were debating on whether this is the right texture for the noodles which is a bit chewy and yet soft and sticky.

The word Japchae sounds like how the Chinese would say a mix of vegetables. Suanne has a recipe for Japchae here.

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The Rice Blood Sausage was served with a dipping salt. This is made with pork blood, rice and potato noodle.

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I am not a fan of this but it tasted not too gross. I just had to take that obligatory piece.

What to do? It is part of the bucket list.

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The Seafood Pancake was an extra dish we ordered to supplement the Duck Feast. This is $14 and is served on a hot grill pan. Pretty good.

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I love their Lemon Chicken ($15). Unlike Chinese style which is crispy from the deep frying, the batter is light and soft. The sauce is slightly spicy. I had a lot of this because I just love the sauce.

The Korean Tea dispenser delighted all of us. It is serve yourself for 25 cents. So all of us were digging for a quarter to try the drink. This is called Yuel-Mu-Cha and it tasted like toasted rice and is sweet.

Elizabeth does a better job of explaining this:

“The name of the tea is yeul mu cha. I looked up yeul mu on the dictionary and it gave me this: Job‘s
tears
,
adlay
, Chinese
pearl barley
. I have attached pictures of it as well (A picture is worth a thousand words – I’m sure you have seen it before). It is a tea made from the Chinese pearl barley. The tea that we drank from the machine is made to taste yummy and does not necessarily contain great amount of the Chinese pearl barley. It is mixed with peanuts, walnut, lots of sugar, etc. Therefore, I do not know how “beneficial” the tea is. It is a nice drink after a meal like coffee. As I explained at dinner, it is usually a drink for kids or people who do not want to drink coffee.”

OK, here we go again … all together now:

“Liz-a-beth! Liz-a-beth! Liz-a-Beth!”

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Total damage was $18 per person including tax and tips. Not too bad huh?

Well, the food wasn’t spectacular-spectacular. It was interesting and an unique experience. It is a great group food shared among buddies.

This is something worth putting on the bucket list for the committed foodie. At least just so to say that “Been there. Done that”.

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Here is the rest of their menu.

Man Ri Sung (Richmond) on Urbanspoon

38 thoughts on “Man Ri Sung Restaurant in Richmond: Korean Style Peking Duck Feast

  1. Crispy,currently in the Philippines right now,But I love the place and would be more then happy to split a duck with you when I get back at months end.We could turn the dinner for 4-5 into a very heavy dinner for 2.Yes I found the duck delicous being charcoal roasted

    • Ops sorry for the previous post. Somehow I pressed the enter key by mistake. Anyway, Pinoy Gourmet, I cant eat that much myself. We may have to get a couple more people to join us. Thanks for the invite.

  2. I really wish I was able to join you for this dinner. I love duck specially roast duck and Peking duck. I’m thinking of going there and trying it, however, I’m getting mixed signals from the comments here. It looks like the people enjoyed the experience more than the taste of the duck. I’ll to try it myself although its a tad expensive at 60 dollars for 1 duck dinner.

    • Um it’s an experience that one should try but honestly I did not like the duck at all HAHAHA I can get so much better ducks even at many Chinese restaurants here in Vancouver…

      • I think most of us are used to the Chinese style Peking duck so we would inadvertently compare it with that. If its just roasted without the Chinese seasoning or without MSG, then for sure it will pale in comparison with the Cantonese roast duck or Peking duck. I’m thinking of the cost too. In comparison, Red Star has an award winning roast duck and its less than half the price of this Korean roast duck. Their 2 course Peking duck dish is less than 40 dollars. So to compare it with the Korean duck feast even if you factor in the other dishes that you get, it is still a bit expensive than the Cantonese duck. And as you said, it doesnt taste as good.

  3. Hi Ben and Suanne,
    I loved the hot pot. I love a good jup! I agree with you in preferring the noodles to be more chewy though! 🙂 Thank you for hosting such an amazing dinner! I look forward to another one soooon!

  4. Ben, I read this post last night and immediately asked my family if they wanted to try this duck feast! And we ended up having it today, LOL. It was an interesting experience and definitely a lot of food, more than enough for 4 people. We especially liked the hot pot and the jap chae!

    • Hi PD: Yeah, you summed it up exactly like I did. The food was interesting and for sure it was a feast. Was there a lot of people today (being a weekday)? Ben

      • Nope, the restaurant was empty when I was there, but my reservation was at 5 so maybe that’s why. When I left at 6 there was still nobody, though there were a lot of passer-by’s stopping to look at the menu outside.

  5. Seems like Richmond has a Korean restaurant actually worth visiting. Peking Duck in a Korean restaurant is a bit unusual but I’ll probably give it a try in a few weeks. Thanks for alerting us of this gem Ben and Suanne!

  6. Hi Ben,
    What the Koreans call Jeon Chi Duk (全聚德) for their BBQ ducks is the name of a famous chain of Chinese restaurants known for their Peking ducks: Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant. This restaurant has a history almost 150 years old. See the following for more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quanjude. I’ve had it twice in Beijing and once in Hong Kong. I must say that I was most impressed when I had it for the first time in Beijing. It was at the seven-story restaurant on Hepingmen Avenue. To get to the dining hall, you must pass through an entry hall that had large windows to the kitchen. I think you can appreciate all the work of the chefs and the sacrifice of the ducks when you finally get to enjoy your meal. Every course included duck in one form or another. There were only six of us dining but the duck feast was meant to feed ten. My mouth still salivate whenever I think of it. Very memorable!

  7. Hi Ben,

    I have also been surprised that the English word for congee was not borrowed from one or another Chinese variant.

    It turns out it is borrowed by way of India… which I guess also makes sense.

    Websters gives the etymology as something like:

    Congee:
    Tamil/Dravidian kañci water from cooked rice
    First Known Use: 1930

    • Oops, Thomas already beat me too it.

      Oh, and I forgot to mention the obvious: Chef Lee’s special duck set meals look very tasty. 🙂

  8. If I remember correctly, my dad told me that ducks in Canada have more meat (in general) and fat between the skin and the meat so it’s not really ideal for Peking Duck – but good for meat dishes.

    My dad likes to carve his duck two ways for flavor preference and “health” preference. But it’s a little different for us, since it’s more of a “family thing” – more skin to meat ratio for me, my bro and himself – and more meat to skin ratio for my grandparents and mom.

    I always liked less meat in my duck wraps because I find that that’s where all the flavor is. And the “crunch” from the skin adds much better texture than the meat that’s more “soft” (and blander in comparison ergo: more sauce)

  9. Wow, that looks like a great meal!
    Ben you asked about where on earth the word ‘Congee’ comes from…
    I remember years ago reading a recipe for Kitchiri (Kitchari / Kedgeree: the classic Indian rice dish that can be served merely mushy or as wet as porridge), the author was Madhur Jaffrey, (or was it Julie Sahni?) and she suggested that colonial English and their servants coming to Hong Kong from India had applied this term to the Jook they saw cooked everywhere around them.

    However… From the Tamil we find the word ‘congee’ referring to water or porridge from boiled rice. Apparently the word travelled via the Portuguese.
    Take your pick. It’s not hard to see the South Asian influence on this European name for Jook.
    Wiki covers the subject, sort of.

    As for Thailand? I always heard people asking for Khao Tom. Khao = rice. Tom = a boiled dish. Unless the family was Chinese Thai, then it was Jook. 🙂

    • Awesome explanation, Thomas. Now I remember the discussion on “the origin of congee” came from you during the New Town chowdown.

    • My husband is Portuguese and they have this recipe for chicken soup with rice called canja, which when pronounced correctly doesn’t sound too far off from congee.

  10. Ben, my understanding is that the Chinese peking duck originally was served skin with meat to be used in the wrap. I don’t know where the variation came to serve it as two or three courses. It’s only been in Canada that I’ve had it served as two or three courses. When I was in Asia, both in Hong Kong and in Taiwan, it was only served as one course.

    The duck looked quite interesting, it did look moist, but the skin didn’t look crispy. I think Buddha Girl and myself may make a trip there to give a try of the Korean take on this dish.

    • Very interesting thought Buddha Boy. I always had Peking Duck served multi-courses. I went to wikipedia and found the following entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peking_Duck#Serving which describes how it is served. The process of making Peking Duck is the separation of the skin from the meat and hence that is why the skin and the meat are served separately. Or at least that was what I had always known it to be. BTW, the skin on the duck in Man Ri Sung is nothing great. It is all meat and less about the skin. The duck feast is a lot of food for two people but you can always pack to go. Ben

      • I have had it both ways in China and Hong Kong. The separating skin and meat is more popular here in Vancouver I would say. However I do think the main reason for that is so that restaurants can sell you an extra dish (the lettuce wrap).

      • Thanks Elaine. Here, this is the link to the translated (by GoogleTranslate) Baidu website: http://goo.gl/PYPUC

        BTW, I had never tried Peking Duck that does not have separation of skin in the technique. Where can one have such Peking duck in Vancouver? If there is no separation of skin, how different is such Peking Duck from, say, the duck that is sold in places like HK BBQ Master? This is interesting because am learning much here.

        Ben

      • As Elaine said, Peking Duck simply means 北京烤鴨, and there are two ways of roasting it which in turn has two ways of eating it.

        便宜坊 (Bian Yi Fang) originated in the 1400s (Ming Dynasty), is well known for it’s 燜爐烤鴨 (direct translation would be “Stewing Oven Roast Duck”). The ovens are built in a specific way and each oven can only handle five to seven ducks each time. Usually the process begins with heating up the oven to its maximum temperature, shut off the heat, put the ducks in, then quickly close the oven door. During the whole “roasting” process, the door’s never opened and the ducks are never flipped. The ducks are served by separating meat and skin, but not as two different courses.

        全聚德 (Quan Ju De) started in 1864 by a guy from Hebei (河北) who modified the cooking process to 掛爐烤鴨 (direct translation would be “Hanging Oven Roast Duck”) where the hanging ducks are smoked while roasting. These ducks are served with meat and skin together, as one course.

        Peking Duck started off as a common food in Nanjing (南京) during the Ming Dynasty. When the third Emperor of Ming Dynasty (明成祖) migrated their capital from Nanjing (南京) to Beijing (北京), this food became the “royalty food” in the palace. Traditionally, it’s served as one course, never two or three courses. It’s really only until recent decades where restaurants, as gimmicks, started serving multiple courses.

        I have been to both BYF (便宜坊) and QJD (全聚德), and none of it served like the way at Man Ri Sung.

        I plan to bring Buddha Boy to QJD (全聚德) when they open in Taiwan.

      • Oops forgot to mention that I have been to Man Ri Sung before when they were back in Coquitlam and have tried the duck, back then, I did not enjoyed it.

      • Hi Buddha Girl: Wow. Thanks for the information. Well, as I remember it, the Man Ri Sung of Richmond is exactly the same as the one in Coquitlam. If so you might not enjoy it too. You have been to both BYF and QJD? Tell us more about the experience. Both the restaurant is in Beijing isn’t it? Do they have branches else where? I am just dying to know. 🙂 Ben

      • Hello Ben! I went to both places back in the days where I was not exposed to food blogging or taking pictures of food. Actually, it was even before I met Buddha Boy…hahahaha! We went with my mom and her relatives, we were really only in Beijing for three days and two nights (some kind of business trip for the adults). Can’t remember the details except that I was told the QJD we went was the original…the flagship.

  11. Looks like a great time was had by all!

    I can’t really tell what the wrap was made of from the pictures ~ it almost looks like raw pasta! Do you have any idea what it was? I’m used to wrapping Korean food in lettuce or boiled cabbage.

    I spent five years in Korea, and know what you are talking about in regards to the wrapped spoon ~ it’s really common there. Never thought to ask my wife about it until you brought it up though, and in return for my trouble I got the strangest look in response. She has absolutely no idea 🙂 Sometimes though, the chopsticks are wrapped as well as the spoon. Maybe it shows how clean they are? At the cheaper restaurants I never saw anything wrapped: spoons and chopsticks were both dug out of Tupperware containers by the customer.

  12. Thanks so much for organizing!!! We really enjoyed the duck with the pancakes/hoisin/green onion. The duck was really meaty and it was quite a feast for the price. I also really liked the pancake and the jap chae!! I’m normally a big blood sausage fan but this pales in comparison to the spanish morcilla and french boudin noir.
    It was much too bland. It was also great meeting the bloggers, Cory and DesignGirl.

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