Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sea Snails at Ap Gu Jung

Ap Gu Jung Korean on Urbanspoon
Hi Everyone!

I became curious about Korean seafood pancakes from an article in the Vancouver Sun about dining out for less than $25. The restaurant cited was Ap Gu Jung on Robson Street On the online menu was something else even more interesting -- sea snails!

I managed to find two friends to dine out, and ordered the kimchi seafood pancake to start as an appetizer. It was very reddish and a tad spicy, but not really hot-spicy at all. One of my fellow diners said she had seafood pancakes at other Korean restaurants before, and this one was very different. Not bad per se, just different. It was about 8 inches wide, too soft to pick up, and soggy enough that the seafood goodies (which ended up near the middle, sitting underneath a dish of soy (?) sauce with chilli) tended to tear free if you didn't support the wedge as you pulled it out. There was evidence of searing as some surfaces were crunchy-crusty.
As for the contents of the pancake, strangely enough what I noticed wasn't seafood but large portions of onion. Hmm... Anyway, there were portions of tentacles as well.
Next time, maybe I'll try the other seafood pancake.

For my entree, I went with #54 - "sea snails and fresh greens served with chillied noodles". Which wasn't exactly as described... I thought the $20 price tag was for the exotic snails, but it turned out the portion was vast. Two bowls of white rice noodle and a HEAP of a lot of "fresh greens". The greens were shredded and mixed in with the chopped up snails (which were almost hard like gizzards, and a bit hard to find in the mix). The "chillied noodles" weren't chillied at all -- It was the greens and snails that were practically swimming in a generous portion of very red sweet-and-hot sauce. Tasty sauce. Very hot. Served chilled, which gave it a refreshing feel.
It was a huge portion, probably good for three to four people, though extra noodles would have been nice.

Would I recommend it? Not for the sea snails. Here's why: It wouldn't have made a difference if there weren't any snails at all. The sauce overpowered everything. The vegetables were more for texture than for taste. And the snails ended up being these funny chewy bits that gave it some texture. Not much taste. They could have substituted tough chunks of chicken and you wouldn't know the difference.
So, for me, the "sea snails" was a bit of a gimmick. If you can stand the heat (rated "5 chillies" on the menu), at $20 this is a reasonable bargain as it can feed 2-3 people as an entree (add one person if you can get extra noodle).

No comments:

Post a Comment