I ate out a lot over the past holiday season. I had the opportunity to try out some new places as well as revisit some old favorites. I was introduced to Insadong from my mother and father in law. This was their first time trying Korean cuisine and they were pretty excited to share this new restaurant with us. The menu for this place is HUGE, so big that we really had a hard time deciding what to order. The menu could probably be scaled down if they got rid of some duplicate items. I found that a lot of the menu items were very similar with a difference of only one ingredient. This menu would’ve been very intimidating if someone was trying Korean cuisine for the very first time.
Dduk Buk Ki $7.99 (Stir fried rice cakes, vegetables and mushrooms in a spicy sauce) I thought this dish was pretty average. The rice cakes were cooked well, still al dente however I didn’t find the sauce to be spicy at all – it was more on the sweet side.
Hae Mul Pa Jeon $16.99 for large (Seafood Pancake with Green Onion and Egg) I think everyone loves Korean pancakes. What’s not to love? Seafood and vegetables encased in dough and pan fried till crispy. Yum! This pancake was pretty good, particularly the edges as they were crispest. We all wished the center pieces were like that too.
Bibimbap in a hot stone pot $11.99 This dish was very plain tasting with the highlight being the runny egg yolk to bind all of the ingredients together. It didn’t work well as a dish to share though as each of us only got to taste a spoonful.
Gam Ja Tang $ 10.99 (Pork bone spicy soup with potato and vegetables) This soup was very flavorful and was my mother in law’s favorite. The soup had a deep pork flavor and the potatoes soaked up all the flavors of the broth. There were a lot of small bones in the soup though, evidence that it had been cooking for a long time, so we had to be careful to pick those out. This dish could easily be enjoyed with a bowl of plain rice.
Ttukbaegi Galbitang $10.99 (Beef ribs soup with clear noodles and vegetables) I didn’t try this dish but all of the others commented that it was too sweet and they didn’t enjoy it at all. They did say the beef was tender though.
Skate Soup $10.99 (Spicy soup with skate and vegetables) This soup was one of my favorite dishes of the night. The soup was flavorful, mildly spicy and everything melded well together. I really enjoyed the taste of the skate and would happily order this again.
Haemul Woodong Bokkeum $8.99 (Stir fried seafood udon noodles) Unfortunately, nothing about this dish stood out and the portion was quite small as well. The sauce was on the sweeter side which did taste a bit strange with the seafood.
Samchi Gui + Soon Tofu Jji Gae $13.99 (Grilled Spanish mackerel with spicy soft tofu and rice) This particular menu item appears on the menu twice, once as Spanish mackerel and another as just mackerel which seems unnecessary to me. That being said, this was another one of my favorite dishes. The Spanish mackerel was cooked perfectly and had a nice smoky grilled flavor to it. It came with a bowl of spicy tofu soup as an accompaniment (see below). The soup was mildly spicy and filled with tofu. Along with the rice, this would be a dish I would order for myself to enjoy.
Kkan Pung Gi $18.99 (Deep fried chicken with spicy sauce) This particular menu item was listed under the “Chinese” portion of their menu. I suppose because it’s Chinese inspired. I found this dish to be disappointing and I think everyone agreed. The batter was slightly soggy and the chicken was encased in too much batter. We couldn’t even tell whether there was actually chicken in it. My sister in law thought the dish tasted fishy. The sauce wasn’t spicy but was more so on the sweet side.
Osam Bulgogi Bokkeum $19.99 (Stirred squid and pork belly with vegetables in special sauce) My hubby chose this dish and it turned out to be his favorite of the night. This dish was indeed very good. The squid was very tender and not the least bit rubbery. The fatty pork belly held it’s own in the savory mildly spiced sauce.
Samseon Ganjajang $11.99 (Noodle with black bean sauce, seafood, vegetables and fried egg and cucumber) This last dish arrived well after we had finished the rest of the other dishes and made us wonder if we had even ordered it at all. Oh well, we decided to try it anyways. The black bean sauce was unlike that of the Chinese variety and wasn’t overpowering when mixed with the noodles. It had a slight sweetness to it to counterbalance the fermented black beans. We also enjoyed this dish but found it to be a bit overpriced as there were only 2 pieces of mussels in the sauce.
We ended our meal with a complimentary slushy drink made from sweet potato and rice. It was very refreshing and helped to cleanse the palate. Does anyone know what this drink is called?
The restaurant itself is quite big with tons of seating. The majority of the seating is very cafeteria-like and there wasn’t anything to really brighten up the place. The service was slightly below average as no one checked up on us throughout the meal despite there only being a handful of tables filled. We were a group of 8 and had ordered all of those dishes to share so it was a shame that they did not offer us any extra serving utensils. It would’ve been nice if they had told us what each dish was when they brought it to our table as we had ordered so many dishes. Instead, they told us what the menu item number was (for example, B5 or C6) which was not helpful at all. Many of the dishes were very sweet and I wonder why that is. I don’t know a lot about Korean cuisine but I always thought most of their dishes were on the spicier side and I don’t think any of the dishes stuck out as being spicy to us. Overall, the food and service was mostly underwhelming.
#132 90 – 36 St NE
Calgary, AB T2A 7E6