Every time a new ethnic restaurant opens in Medellín, I get excited about the way the city is growing. This happened again recently after eating at a new place called Korea House.
It has a popular location, near Avenida Nutibara and Avenida Jardín, a busy intersection with a handful of well-known cafes and restaurants within walking distance, such as Cafe Zeppelin and Milagros.
I think Korea House will fit right in.
It’s a small restaurant, and the atmosphere reminds me of some of the ethnic places I’ve been in the states…small and comfortable.
The owner of Korea House, Kyehong Seo, who goes by Anna, has a goal of sharing her country’s food with everyone here.
To qualify things, when I go to an ethnic restaurant here, or any restaurant for that matter, I try to be mindful of the fact that only recently are Colombia’s major cities starting to import the ingredients that are so readily available in the big metropolises of the United States.
That no doubt can affect the authenticity of a dish.
That said, if something is bad, it’s bad.
Lucky for me, I found everything enjoyable at Korea House, starting with the kimchi.
This fermented and spicy cabbage is to Koreans what beans and rice is to Colombians.
I admit, I’ve had better in Hawaii. But it was still tasty enough that I reached for it more than a few times. We followed that with the pizza de kimchi.
It looked like a pizza but has the consistency of a thin pancake. It was one of my favorite dishes.
Shortly after, the kimbap arrived. It looks like sushi, tastes a little like sushi too, but the Koreans apparently don’t like it if you call it that.
A rice noodle dish came at the same time. It was mainly clear noodles with vegetables in what seemed like a chicken broth-based sauce.
Now it was time for the main dishes.
The first one that arrived was the bulgogi, or barbecued beef. I had tried this once at a small Korean restaurant near the George Washington University campus, when I used to live in Washington, D.C.
At that same restaurant, I also tried the bibimbap, a dish that mostly consists of rice and vegetables. I liked it better in Washington, but, as I said before, the U.S. capital city probably has access to more ingredients and spices than Medellín.
But the plate that came out that could challenge the pizza de kimchi for favorite of the day was the spicy chicken. It tasted a little different from the Korean chicken I used to eat in Hawaii, but I still liked it.
At the end of the meal, Anna, who deserves a thumbs up for bringing her food to a city so overwhelmingly traditional, asked if we wanted to sing karaoke. We declined because a few of us had to go back to work.
But I’ll go back for the food, and I just hope people will go to her restaurant with an open mind and enjoy her efforts.
I know I did.
Korea House accepts cash only.