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Chungdam Ahn

April 21, 2011

To celebrate the last day of classes before the start of final exams, I went to Chungdam Ahn  for dinner with PonDeRing, Mochi, and JL. It was a good opportunity to use up the 50% off coupons that I had bought online which were fast reaching their expiry date. Chungdam Ahn is a Korean izakaya on the corner of Robson St that is fairly hidden from the eyes of strolling passersby. I’ve only heard of Japanese izakayas in Vancouver, so the concept of a  Korean izakaya is new to me. I was curious to see how it would differ from the more traditional Japanese izakayas that I am more familiar to seeing. Being an izakaya style restaurant, Chungdam Ahn opens daily at 4:30pm and closes a couple of hours after midnight. The last time I came here, I didn’t check their hours so I ended up going somewhere else for lunch. Always check ahead of time!

They recommend making reservations ahead of time, so we reserved a table for 6:30pm. Since it was a Thursday and still early, there weren’t many people eating when we arrived. The windows of the restaurant resembles the windows of  Hapa Izakaya’s on Robson St, which looks dark to those who are standing outside looking in.

The interior of the restaurant is dark, but the bright yellow lamps on the ceiling gives off a warm aura that fills the room. There are two types of menus, a regular one (which can be found on their website) and the “New Menu” which consists of a few items not listed in the regular menu. This is the latter:

Besides Korean food, they also offer Japanese food such as sashimi, but we decided to stick with what they are probably better at.

After we placed our orders, we reminded our waitress that we were using the coupons, which included 2 complimentary rice wine cocktails:

I didn’t care for the taste of the rice wine cocktail much, but my companions seem to have enjoyed it. It tasted a little bitter –  similar to the taste of sake, for those who have tried it before.

Grilled Squid whole squid seared and sliced with Ahn’s special dressing ($12.5):

From the selection of seafood on the menu, this is what we ordered. I didn’t read the description, so I thought we would be given grilled squid legs instead of a whole squid. I like grilled squid legs better, but this was also good – albeit more chewy in texture. The squid tasted fresh, and went well with the sauce drizzled on top. I don’t remember what kind of sauce it was though, since I ate the squid mostly with the red hot sauce provided on the side. I thought that the squid tasted better with the hot sauce, as it tastes a little bland on it’s own.

Seafood Pancake ($16.5):

This was super delicious, my favourite out of everything ordered that night. The pancake was filled with green onion, crab meat, squid, etc. The sauce went really well with the pancake – I think it was some sort of soy sauce based sauce with a few white sesame seeds mixed inside. The pancake was very flavourful, and not too doughy. The portion size was big and just enough to share among four people.

Spicy Rice Cake with Seafood ($17.95):

This was ordered from the “New Menu”. I was so excited to see that they offered it here, because I didn’t see it when I browsed the menu online. Dukbokki (spicy rice cake in Korean) is one of my favourite Korean dishes, and Chungdam Ahn’s version did not disappoint. The portion was very large – hard to tell in the picture, but there was a lot of stuff in the bowl. It came with an abundance of seafood which included clams, pieces of squid, and shrimp. There were also pieces of cabbage, which I would presume to be the “fillers”. I love the rice cake that is used in this dish because it is shorter and fatter than the typical long, skinny ones used in most Korean restaurants. These kind are more chewy and bite-size.

Bulgolgimarinated sirloin pan fried with salad on the side ($13.9):

This dish was just average, nothing really spectacular about it. The presentation of the dish was nice, however, and the salad on the side balanced out the meat well. The beef was flavourful and well-cooked, but I probably wouldn’t order this again if I were to come back.

I thought the service that night wasn’t so great. Our waitress wasn’t all that friendly, and didn’t come by frequently to check how we were doing, or to refill our empty water glasses.

Had it not been the online promotion, I probably would never have the chance to find out about this restaurant. Overall, I thought that the quality of food was good, though the price is a little high. Unlike Japanese izakayas, the portion sizes here are quite big and not tapas sized, so I suggest going with a group of friends. That way, you get to try more different things as well! I thought that the food we ordered were pretty good, and next time I’ll probably try their signature dishes.

Chungdam Ahn on Urbanspoon

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 21, 2011 5:47 AM

    My favorite was the rice cakes. : ) Spicy and sweet at the same time~ Very yummy.
    I agree with you on the price — definitely on the high side.
    I prefer Guu over this place. I like smaller dishes.. That way you get to try more things.

  2. February 28, 2012 1:25 AM

    The rice sticks look divine. <3 Awesome blog!!! :D Thanks for checking out my blog, too. :)
    –Kim

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