Seoulfully Smoked: An Authentic Korean BBQ Haven at Gu On
Gu On, a Korean BBQ restaurant located in the bustling foodie hub of Sri Petaling, promises to impress even the most discerning Korean cuisine aficionado. At first glance, the restaurant appears unassuming and understated with its clean and simple lines.
But step inside, and you’ll be met with rows and rows of gleaming exhaust smoke pipe ducts high up in the ceiling atop dining tables. Adjacent to the dining area is the open kitchen, where the chef and the kitchen crew can be seen smoking the meats in a special, customised machine, BBQing the meats, cooking the delicious rice in the unique pressurised clay pots, stirring the rich, 20-hour-simmered pork bone broth, and carefully arranging the meats on top of a bed of straw and a piece of pork lard to coat the old-school original cast iron grill plates, free from harmful coatings. The professional yet cosy vibe of the place tells you that these people mean business and are committed to serving the most authentic Korean fare you’ve ever tasted.
The attentive servers will ask for your drink of choice. A refreshing option would be corn silk tea, which is subtly flavourful and a brilliant alternative to green tea. Of course, you can also opt for apple soju, which is a sweet and delightful accompaniment to your meat-laden meal.
Then the culinary feast begins. Of course, one should not step into a place called Gu On (which translates to “smoked meat”) and not order their BBQ specialties. The Smoked Beef Short Ribs and Beef Brisket come highly recommended.The restaurant uses Australian grain-fed beef that is wet aged before being smoked twice, resulting in succulent, perfectly marinated meat ready to be grilled at the table. I particularly enjoy the succulent briskets wrapped in strands of enoki mushrooms and bits of green onion. The taste of the meats was elevated by the delicious dipping sauces that accompanied them.
The Smoked Pork Belly was truly astounding; I could detect the alluring smokiness lingering on the nicely charred meat. One of the Gu On’s unique features is the use of straw sourced from Tanjung Karang, Kuala Selangor, for smoking the meats, giving them a distinctive, subtle smoky flavour. The menu’s creators discovered that, unlike wood chips, straw imparts a unique yet not overpowering smoke flavour to the meat. The fruit-marinated pork intestines will definitely appeal to fans of pork intestines.
I also tried the BBQ local hormone-free Chicken Thigh and New Zealand Lamb, which taste great and are good options for those who abstain from beef and pork.
Besides the glorious meats, the other noteworthy highlights on the menu include the Kimchi Pork Collagen Soup, Seafood Salad, Perilla Cold Noodles, and Seafood Pancake. I have it on good authority that the Kimchi Pork Collagen Soup tastes exactly as it would in Korea. I believe it because I have tried many kimchi soups in other Korean restaurants in Malaysia, and this one hands down beats them all. It’s worth visiting Gu On just for this soup!
The Perilla Cold Noodles have a delicious and distinct flavour with a hint of sesame sauce that is truly refreshing when eaten with the hot BBQ meats. The Seafood Pancake, which is crispy on the outside and delicious on the inside, was also a hit with me. My lunch companion referred to it as the Korean equivalent of Malaysia’s Cucur Udang. We then ended our hearty lunch with a trio of ice cream flavours, which included a kim chi flavoured one – it tasted strange, spicy but nice!
The renowned Striker Chef created Gu On’s “Modern Korean” cuisine menu, bringing a whole new level of appreciation for the thoughtfulness of each mouthwatering dish that will suit every palate imaginable.
I was particularly impressed with the powerful exhaust pipes because I walked out of the restaurant not reeking like a BBQ bash survivor. My stomach was full, and I smiled contentedly, counting the days until I could return with my Korean-food-loving friends.