SeoulFood: Min’s Kitchen Seoul

Min’s Kitchen Seoul

On a chilly Thursday night in Seoul there are a surprisingly high number of ways to warm up.  Soju and Korean BBQ most often top that list.  I, however, find that I really enjoy a warm atmosphere with good friends, conversation, and great food.  Enter Linda of Linda Goes East, a travel blogger who has not only traveled the globe extensively, but who has lived in Germany, China, the United States, and Korea (among others, I’m sure).  She has a knack for finding the best of the best in each city, and showing off all of its beauty with vibrant, elegant photos.  On Thursday night, I was her guest at Min’s Kitchen in the fancy Apgujeong area of Seoul.

Min's Kitchen Seoul The Toronto SeoulcialiteThe Restaurant

The restaurant is located on a busy side-street in glamorous Gangnam (yes, that Gangnam).  I noticed the French influence immediately.  There were plenty of chic little cafes and wine bars dotting the small street as far as the eye could see.  Min’s Kitchen wasn’t hard to find, especially as there was a glowing green sign in English directly out front.

Min's Kitchen Apgujeong Restaurant Seoul The Toronto Seoulcialite
We glided down the stairs, went through the automatic door, and passed between the massive bar and glass wall of wine bottles.  I noticed the interior was very basic, but warm and appealing.  The lighting was poor for blogger photos, but the  light installation was enticing.  There were several tables, a couple of booths, and three or so rooms for private dining.

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The Food

This is why you’re reading, isn’t it?  The food is a modern twist on Korean standards.  We were treated to 5 elegantly plated dishes as well as some Moonbaesool (the featured image and 40% ABV).  Mimsie over at My Seoul Searching thought it was crisp and tasty.  I felt like Linda and I were pouring moonshine for one another.  It’s the kind of drink to put hair on your chest, that’s for certain.

Once we sat down we were immediately served the Cold Bean Sprout Salad with four kinds of seafood and beef topped with soy sauce based dressing.  The dish was served deconstructed and was prepared table-side.  Four kinds of seafood is…a lot for me.  I made the attempt anyway and found that this dish was on the mild side.  I felt like it didn’t have much in the way of seasoning or flavour, although it was really beautiful to photograph!  Linda, on the other hand, loved it!  She was delighted at the fresh vegetables, seafood, mushroom, and beef combination.

I couldn’t get enough of the next dish!  The Crispy Tofu Salad: fresh salad topped with crispy tofu and perillia seed dressing.  I was never a big fan of tofu until I moved to Korea.  I’m still not the biggest fan, but when crispy tofu is done right it can’t be beat.  The tofu was, indeed, crispy on the outside, and the inside was soft and creamy.  I always hate it when tofu has the soggy consistency of cottage cheese and this was miles away from that.  The salad had the perfect amount of dressing for the lettuce, tomatoes, and sprouts, but it wasn’t overpowering.  While Linda would have liked a soy-based sauce for the crispy tofu, I was actually quite happy to dab a little of the perillia seed dressing on my tofu bites and go to town!

Our next dish was the Oats with Fried Shrimp.  I don’t tend to do very well with seafood in Korea, but I gave it a try anyway.  Mum always said that good seafood shouldn’t smell or taste fishy.  Unfortunately, this dish was definitely on the fishy side for me.  Perfection in differing opinions, Linda preferred this to our next dish and happily took it out of my way!

Roasted beef sticky rice: seasoned #beef covered with glutinous rice flour.  For some reason, I figured this was kind of like Thai Sticky Rice.  I was entirely wrong.  Instead of this dish being served with rice, the beef was actually covered in a fine glutinous rice flour.  Imagine fried chicken, except instead of chicken it’s beef, and instead of your traditional batter it’s glutinous rice flour and served with honey mustard sauce for dipping.  I certainly preferred this entree, and Linda was happy to let me slide it across to my side of the table!  Be advised that this dish is topped with shredded sesame leaves.  I particularly like this bitter plant having lived in Korea for nearly two years, but for some it can be an unpleasant surprise!  To them, I say, “more for me!”

Our last dish of the evening was a bit of a surprise.  We were still a little hungry at this point and the Pork Nurungji Gangjeong with a crust of overcooked rice (read: savoury rice crispy treat) mixed with crispy pork meat.  This was a tangy dish with tender pork and a hint of heat.  By the end of the night I had deemed it my favourite dish by far, but a part of me still wants to go back for that crispy tofu instead.

The Menu

The menu at Min’s Kitchen is a bit intense!  This lengthy list has lots of options for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.  You can dabble in mild Korean cuisine or intensify and try dishes with more intense flavours.  Check out Min’s Kitchen’s Menu below!

The Wine & Drinks Menu

Min’s Kitchen is the perfect place for an expat to take their parents who are in from out of town.  This modern restaurant offers western-style elegance (and tables) while serving dishes which could be shared or eaten alone.  This is definitely a bonus if your parents have yet to yield to the sharing culture of Korean dining!  With all the 2-top couples tables it would be a great spot to impress your date if Apgujeong intro drinks go well and you want to grab a bite.  The music was noticeable, but not overpoweringly loud, which facilitated easy and enjoyable conversation.

Getting to Min’s Kitchen:

29 Comments Add yours

  1. Faith Coates says:

    This brought wonderful memories for me of eating Korean food at the best restaurant in Merida Mexico. I love Korean food and learning more about it just makes me very happy…lol…one day I hope to get to Korea and visit all my ex students and teacher friends. Thanks for the lovely memory tweaks.

  2. The food looks delightful! Do they have plenty of veg options as well..mock meats? I love the vegetarian mock meats! Bon Apetit!

  3. Sara Essop says:

    The food looks amazing. I love Asian seafood dishes although I haven’t eaten Korean food yet. Now I know what to try when I get to Seoul

  4. Will vegetarians be able to get mock meat preparations here? Was there anything close to the bibimbap here? Your pics have made me hungry!

  5. Sasha says:

    Min’s looks like an incredible restaurant. I have always wanted to visit Korea but don’t know much about the local food but if it is anything like this I will be happy. Delish!

  6. Lauren West says:

    The decor is lovely! I love the simple but warm aesthetic. And that food looks DELICIOUS! That cold bean sprout salad with seafood looks yum!

  7. Kreete says:

    Sounds like a really nice place to take your friends and family indeed! And all the food looks absolutely delicious! I’d love to try that beef sticky rice! And WOW! What a long menu! If I’m ever in Seoul, I’ll be sure to check it out!

  8. Allison says:

    I love Korean BBQ and Min’s Kitchen looks divine. I don’t do tofu or seafood so would give this a miss. The beef with rice looks so good!

  9. I recently tried Korean food for the first time and must say it was interesting. I loved the way they served the BBC!

    Of course, it was completely different than your experience. All the dishes here look stunning and would like to try every each of them!

  10. FS says:

    The food looks very delicious. It looks like a great place to take your friends and family. Would surely love to try few dishes.

  11. I have the same opinion as you on Korean seafood (although I generally love it back home). I’m always a bit hesitant to try it here, unless it looks normal. The food does look divine though (as I would expect for those prices ).

  12. Nicky says:

    Wowza! This looks like the perfect place for a cute girl’s night out! As a fellow living in Gangnam, I am definitely taking my friends to this place. And, so much respect for drinking moonshine, that stuff can make you do strange things haha.

  13. Rocio Cadena says:

    It’s very interesting and refreshing seeing a modern twist to Korean food. Although to be honest, based on your photos, I don’t think I’d visit Min’s Kitchen over my favorite BBQ joint. I appreciate that you added this restaurant is very good to take out people, maybe parents or visiting friends, that are possibly unfamiliar with Korean cuisine and eating culture.

    1. Kate says:

      Haha I could take that as my pictures are garbage or you don’t like the ingredients. To be candid, I love KBBQ too, but often my guests don’t want to smell of smoke for the whole night. It definitely is a great place for dipping your toe in!

  14. Indrani says:

    I wish I could get there now. I can wipe off the plates clean in a jiffy 😛 🙂 Love food! <3

  15. Emre says:

    I think I have a similar taste as you. I’m not fond of seafood, but those other dishes look delicious. I never had the crispy kind of tofu, but always the soggy one and I am not fond of it either. Maybe I should try this one instead. The restaurant seems to have a great atmosphere. For me that’s as important as the food.

  16. Wendy says:

    I love your presentation! The photos and the flipping menu!

    That was a big treat! And the restaurant looks fancy (or is it because of your skilful photography?) Though, I noticed the private room looks blank with just the white wall and table in there.

  17. Izzy says:

    I always wondered what a modernized take on Korean food would look like and it definitely impresses! From the cold salads to the glutinous flour crust, I love how the traditional ingredients were used in innovative ways. That cold bean sprout salad and Pork Nurungji gangjeong would be my main orders! Would have to bypass on that Korean moonshine cause I’d be dead! My tolerance to alcohol is embarrassingly low, missing that enzyme! Glad that you got to hang out with Linda too!

  18. I can already imagine all you blogging ladies, taking your time to document each dish, as the waiters are nervously shuffling their feet, knowing that their efforts are being featured somewhere in the bloggosphere, maybe even CNN’s Travel Page, haha. The dishes look delish, I’m a huge fan of veggies, seafood and light-looking. I guess it went well with the moonshine haha – 40% – you ladies were tying one on!

  19. blair villanueva says:

    Foods looks delicious. I love Korean foods especially the leafy dishes and of course different kinds of kimchi

  20. Anne says:

    It all looks amazing but the tofu is definitely calling my name. Yummy!

  21. Sally says:

    I love that there is a suburb called Gangnam haha that’s awesome! I’ve never really experienced Korean food so I think this place would be interesting to try. Thank you for sharing your experience and the menu!

    1. Kate says:

      It means south of the river! That’s where the song comes from haha

  22. Christina says:

    I love Korean food so you got me with the modern twist on traditional Korean. The pork Nurungji looks absolutely delicious. Min’s Kitchen looks like a great spot to entertain.

  23. verushka says:

    reading this post made me very hungry. Everything is so beautifully presented. I would defo become a regular here. This reminds me I need to find a Korean place here in SA.

  24. Jackie says:

    What a fascinating post! I have never been to Min’s Kitchen before, but wish I had. Btw you weren’t kidding when you said that they have an extensive menu! I’m very interested in their wines, though. Looks like a great date place. Thanks for sharing!

  25. mark wyld says:

    The food looks amazing and the setting is very welcoming cant wait to get to Korea next year. The roast beef sticky rice looks amazing

  26. What a delightful place in Seoul. I loved all your gorgeous photos and I started salivating! Good job on that!

    Moonbaesool sounds like my cup of alcohol. Is it very different from Soju?

    I need to go to Seoul!

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