Qing He Gu 青鶴谷 [Shanghai]

What is Qing He Gu?
Qing He Gu is a Korean BBQ restaurant chain. Located on outskirts of downtown Shanghai in the district of Min Hang, Qing He Gu caters toward area’s large Korean population. On the 2nd floor of a recently renovated office building, Qing He Gu occupies a large space with a large main dining room with another wing of private rooms. Inside, you first notice the long, extendable, silver-tentacled, smoke suction ventilators, which are the norms in ALL Korean BBQ restaurants. And then the instant the cooking beef aroma sways you. . .

What did I eat?
If you aren’t Korea, most likely, you’re going to order Beef and more Beef. Rib of Raw Beef (250g) at 128 RMB and Seasoned Beef Ribs (250g) also at 128 RMB were highlights of the meal for my friends. I was particularly interested in the other dishes that Qing He Gu had, like the Dolsot Bibimbap 38 RMB – vegetables, beef, and rice in a sizzling iron bowl (used to be one of my favorites), Kimchi Stew 38 RMB – kimchi stewed till thick spicy and sour stew, and the Sundubu Jjigae 38 RMB – spicy seafood tofu stew. We also at Pork Belly (170g) 48 RMB, which was not bad. But I am not a big pork belly, which isn’t anything against Qing He Gu, but more my preference. I just don’t like it when the fat is seared and has a tough texture.

Constructive Criticism
Qing He Gu is a good place for friends and family for solid Korean BBQ. But it is not the type of cuisine for a lunch or a weekend brunch – but that’s just me. I wish Qing He Gu had a larger selection of Banchan – I think the 3 or 4 little dishes were lacking and didn’t offer make varying tastes. Banchan are the little table appetizers.

The Last Word
This Shanghai Koreatown, requires you to know where to go, which places to visit, and a little Korean to get the best out of this unique enclave. Qing He Gu is also quite popular with celebrities here and abroad. one of the first things you notice are the various pictures of famous people.

Location Rating
青鶴谷 Qing He Gu
Minhang District, Hong Shen Lu, No. 3998, Di Bao Plaza, 2nd Floor, near Wu Zhong Lu and Hong Quan Lu
+86 21-34323068
2 Pigs
Price Range 2 $/¥/NT

Gaam [Koreatown]

Gaam is the ideal starting point for any night of fun, with its great drinks, grubbin’ food, and cool space. Boring restaurants won’t get you in the mood, but Gaam will.
Gaam features a great happy hour that me and my friend were able to take advantage of.
Gaam Happy Hour (taken from yelp.com)
Special Event sponsored by Cass, OB, & Chum-Churum
April-June – Everything on the menu is 50% off (Incl. Sake)
Mon-Sun – 5-8:30 PM
This was enough for 4 people to get thoroughly started. I know I stumbled out a bit buzzed. The fried chicken, the hand rolls, the soup, tempura, and sizzling beef were all part of the special. Also, the sake was included in the deal as well.
Other than the food and drink, the venue is quite possibly the best in K-town. You won’t find higher ceilings with an airy feel almost anywhere nearby. The low slung padded stools give Gaam an intimate feel with your friends – almost like you’re at home.
What to Order: Try to get there early to get the 5-830pm special.
What not to Order:
2 Pigs
3465 W 6th St, 2nd Fl
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 388-8850

Debbie Lee’s Seoultown Tapas at Breadbar [Hollywood]

Debbie Lee, of the Food Network’s The Next Food Network Star, presented her Seoultown Tapas at Breadbar in Hollywood.
On this night we were able to sample almost everything on the menu. Here are the highlights from the meal.
Korean rice cylinders, maple smoked bacon and jalapeno ponzu
Chicken meat balls with magnolia pepper sauce.
Korean fried chicken with pickled winter vegetables.
Sashimi Ssam Style, Seafood Trio, Ginger Rice, Gochujang Drizzle, Spicy Pickled Cucumber, Roasted Nori, Tobiko Caviar, Romaine Lettuce
I really must commend Debbie Lee’s venture to work the Hollywood palate with Korean flavors and spices. Though the Asian side of me, may feel that, I lose some of the boldness of Korean heat. It is tough to please both sides. But one interesting added element of the “southern” feel, as tasted in the bacon and fried batter. Special thanks to Miss B for organizing this special treat for us. Anyways, without a wall of text, I will let the pictures do most of the talking.
Parking situation: Street parking is tough to find. Valet Parking available $4 plus tip.
8718 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles
(310) 205-0124