I don’t know why all the Korean restaurants are in Midwest City. It sure does make it tough to feed a craving though when you want Dot-Sol-Bi-Bim-Bap .
Which is what I find myself craving continually since my first visit to Seoul Garden Korean Restaurant.
The first time we visited Seoul Garden, we couldn’t find it, due to it being around the back (left side) of this small building that houses 4 or 5 places. The building fronts on SE 15th St but the restaurant is on the Hudiburg Drive side..
If you’re coming from the city, exit I-40 at Hudiburg Drive, turn left onto Hudiburg and take it almost to SE 15th Street. It’s right on the southwest corner. You can turn into the parking lot just before SE 15th Street (turn in left).
There is nothing fancy about this place. But it is clean and you will need to go to the counter to order.
Behind the counter you will meet Mrs. Kim, the sweetest little Korean lady. She will be very helpful in telling you how everything works, and give you suggestions on what to order. We always go in the evenings, but I’ve heard that if you go during lunch, you have to be patient, because I believe her and her husband are the only two working in the restaurant. He cooks, she takes orders and waits on tables.
We placed our orders..and every time, no matter who I go with, we always get the same two things and this is important…they must contain Bul-Go-Gi, although I’ve had the Pan Fried Seafood as well. I’ll tell you about those later…but here is a shot of the wall menu.
The wall menu lists the most popular of dishes at Seoul Garden. There is also a more extensive menu on the glass counter at the register where you order. As you can see, it’s extremely inexpensive at Seoul Garden as the prices range from $5.99 to $9.99 for most dishes.
After you order, Mrs. Kim will direct you to the counter and show you how to get your complimentary Barley Tea and Miso Soup and fixings.
Roasted Barley tea or (boricha in Korean) is a caffeine-free tea served hot or cold. Roasted unhulled barley is steeped in hot water to make this tea, and it is complimentary at Seoul Garden. The tea will be in water pitches on the counter or in a hot dispenser back by the Miso Soup.
There are also some fun oriental sodas and drinks in the glass counter to try and kids really get a kick out of them.
Against the wall is also a giant silver urn full of Miso Soup.
If you haven’t had Miso Soup, it is an oriental stock-type of soup, the base of which is dashi, or a stock made with fish and kelp, and then miso paste (fermented soy bean paste) is stirred into it. It’s really very good and you should definately give it a try.
There are two bowls by the Miso Soup.
One is filled with chopped green onions, and the other has black seaweed balls. Go very light on the seaweed, if you use it, as they greatly expand upon having water added to them. The first time I went I added two teaspoons full and they completely took over my soup. I think Mrs. Kim laughed at me.
Anyway, after you order, go sit down and wait for her to bring your food. The dining room is rather large with two sides and like I said before, is not fancy, but it’s comfortable.
Mrs. Kim will bring everyone a small dish with a freshly made, fried spring roll and some little deep-fried round- looking things.
The little fried round things are Pork Tempura battered balls and they are swimming on top of a very light sweet and sour type sauce. The egg rolls are really good and while they’re not a huge wow factor, the tempura balls are kind of fun too.
This next part was crazy the first time I went to Seoul Garden. Another complimentary offering will soon arrive called ban-chan.
You may have heard of the widely popular and healthy kimchi of Korean food as it’s widely found now in most supermarkets. Kimchi is just one of the offerings of the banchan Mrs. Kim brings out. Kimchee is fermented cabbage and chilis and is the Korean equivalent of sauerkraut, but much spicier nd a little crunchier. But there are also other pickled cucumbers, potatoes and daikon radishes amongst other things as well as fried marinated tofu. My favorites are the kimchi and the cucumbers but the potatoes are pretty good too.
Mr. Wonderful LOVEs this. The Korean version of Gyoza or Potstickers called Mandu or Yaki Mandu ($5.99).
These dumplings are filled with pork and cabbage, ginger and other spices and are crispy and addictive.
On to the main courses. I ordered my favorite – Dol-Sot-Bi-Bim-Bap ($5.99).
This dish comes out in a clay hot pot with steamed rice at the bottom and the rice crisps from the hot pot on the bottom, and then is covered with fresh julianned veggies like carrots, mushrooms and cucumber. But the crowning glory of this dish is the Bul-Go-Gi. Bul-Go-Gi or sometimes called Korean BBQ is a thinly sliced beef (usually flank steak) that has been marinated in the yumminess of soy, garlic, sesame oil and a little vinegar. Then it’s grilled to a smokey perfection. If you love the Bul-Go-Gi, you can order this as your main meal (#2 -$5.99). Then it’s all capped off with a fried egg.
If you’re feeling brave, ask Mrs. Kim to crack a raw egg into the dish instead of putting it on fried. This is the more traditional way of serving it in Korea, but to keep us Americans from “freaking out”, they usually serve it here fried. The pot is so hot, that the cracked egg with cook as you stir it around and I just prefer it much better this way.
The other favorite dish we order at Seoul Garden, is the Jap-Chae.
Cellophane noodles are stir fried in a sweet/savory sauce of soy sauce, sesame oil a little sugar. The noodles soak up the sauce and are also mixed with veggies and topped with more of the delicious Bul-Go-Gi.
This might have taken over the Bi-Bim-Bap as my favorite dish now.
I have also tried the Pan Fried Seafood which is octupus, squid, carrots and onionandstir fried in a spicy red sauce, but sadly on that trip, my memory card went kaput so no picture folks…sorry. Here’s a sort-of sorry picture from my phone.
If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try a new cuisine, give Seoul Garden a try..
You’ll be craving it just like I am from here on out.
Seoul Garden Korean Restaurants
6013 SE 15th
Midwest City, OK 73110
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