Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Shao mei - Yep, Korea has good Chinese Food!

We wandered through the back streets of Gwangalli like two homeless ally cats killing time.  We were hungry though and in this neighbourhood, everything seemed to be just out of reach.  'That place is too expensive, that place serves that ketchup shit'...  Things were lookin gloomy and the night wasn't waiting for us... hold it! 'Hmmm, is that place Chinese?'  Perhaps we could get lucky, perhaps there is actual "Chinese" food in Korea.  There's people inside and they appear to be smiling, at least by Korean standards.  Must be good, lets do it.

Inside it smelled like the cedar smokeroom doors had been left open a bit too long.  Something about that smell made me love that place.  The hardwood smoke was baked into the floor boards creating an comfortable homey feeling.  Shao mei is cozy but not cramped.  There's enough seating for a couple dozen people to fit happily.
The waiter was wearing sweat pants and a t-shirt and his interaction with the rest of the staff suggested that they were a tight family unit and this was their gig.

The food.  This part is easy to sum up.  Shao mei is easily one of the best restaurants I have encountered in Korea in regard to its food.  from the dinning room we could see through an opening in the wall exposing the kitchen.  Two or three ajummas were working hard, slingin out dishes like nobodies business.
My wife and I settled on the spicy shrimp and an order of fried rice.  No fancy tricks with the display.  What you see is what you get.  The shrimp was perfectly deep fried in a wonderful batter.  The shrimp was smothered in a crisp, vibrant, peppery sauce that gave the dish incredibly unique character.  Making a pepper dish unique in Korea is a true success.  The meal came with the usual set of banchan, water, and a whole lot of satisfaction.
The food was great, but was it bonafied Chinese cuisine?  I'm no expert in food identification but I'll tell you this, it tasted like the real deal.  My wife, who's 1/4 Chinese, also liked it but she called it good "Western Chinese."  Maybe not truuuue Chinese but unique none the less.
Main dishes range from 10-25,000won.  Our whole meal was 29,000won.
Don't miss this place.  Its really damn good Chinese food.
To find Shao Mei, take Exit 5 at the Gwangan station and go straight.  Take a left on the fourth street (pass the Honda dealership, then take the next left).  Then, go straight on this street for a while.  You will pass about 4 streets then look on the left side of the road.  Shao Mei will be on your left.
~k Gastric Canvas 


No comments:

Post a Comment