Kimbab Cheonguk (Kimbab Heaven), CoquitlamDecember 28th, 2012 by Michael Kwan
Translated as Kimbab Heaven, it is a relatively small and unassuming restaurant that you can very easily miss. There are only a handful of tables and the menu only contains about 20 items. You can see the menu posted next to your table, but it’s also clearly visible from the signs hanging above the kitchen area. This is also where you’ll see several photos of the different dishes available.
As its namesake suggests, the signature items here are the kim bab. These are essentially the Korean version of sushi, except they use Korean style seaweed in maki-style rolls and the filling tends to be cooked food, rather than raw fish like their Japanese counterparts. Also on the menu are rice bowls, noodle bowls (ramen), spicy rice cakes (bok ki) and cold noodles (naeng myeon).
Beef Broth – Interestingly, instead of tea or water, they serve you a teapot with beef broth. It does lean a little on the saltier side of things as far as drinks go, but this broth is awfully tasty.
Bulgogi Kim Bab ($3.50) – There are five varieties of kim bab offered here, including varieties with tuna, kimchi or cheese. I opted for the bulgogi, since I wanted something meaty. The portions are certainly generous for a mere $3.50, giving you about ten pieces of scrumptious goodness. Unlike Japanese sushi, this “Korean” sushi doesn’t take any wasabi or soy sauce. In addition to the pork bulgogi, you’ll also find some vegetables like the oshinko pickles.
Al Bab ($7.99) – You could say that this stone pot rice is very similar to the more common bibimbab. Inside the bowl, you’ll find a delicious combination of tuna, fish roe, seaweed, cabbage, carrots and cheese. There are two sauces to accompany, but they’re not really necessary. There are already so many flavors going on in there. The tuna and cheese are particularly tasty and, as with bibimbab, the crispy rice on the bottom–particularly with the beef broth above–is a great way to finish off a great meal.
Soon Dae ($7.50) – Not to be confused with a western “sundae,” a Korean soon dae (sometimes confusingly spelled “sundae”) is a type of blood sausage, typically prepared with dangmyeon (cellophane noodles), barley and pork blood stuffed into a pig’s intestines. I’m a pretty big fan of eating offal, so soon dae is certainly my cup of tea. You get a generous serving, but it didn’t taste any better than the frozen ones you can buy at the Korean supermarket.
A place like Kimbab Cheonguk can be a little intimidating for the uninitiated, especially since the menu isn’t really in English, but there are plenty of pictures. The menu items are all very affordable and quite inexpensive. This dinner for two came to just a little over $20 and we were positively stuffed. Kimbab Heaven offers a great value and is well worth revisiting.