Look past the plethora of delicious, decadent steakhouses and the tantalizing Tex Mex and Oklahoma City is actually full of intriguing international cuisine well worth exploring. And explore you will, if you visit Taste of Korea, currently engulfed by neighboring construction. Housed in a former fast food joint, this authentic Korean mecca is worth navigating the detours and orange cones for one of the best no-frills dining experiences in OKC.
This visit has been a long time coming. We love Korean food, and have heard nothing but good things about Taste of Korea since arriving in town. When our new friends Phi, Mucki and Haarlan of the Take a Bite OK Supper Club (which has been the best way to meet fellow foodie friends since we moved here) suggested a trip for a family-style dinner we agreed enthusiastically.
Taste of Korea is a small place with (at least in our experience( one sweet server handling the demands of all the customers in the dining room, so don’t come in when you’re in a hurry. But you will want to linger anyway and savor all the flavors coming out of the kitchen. Phi has dined here several time, so we let her take the lead in choosing most of our dishes. Of course, an order of piping hot yaki mandu (fried dumplings) was our first order of business.
From there, we moved on to the haemul pajeon (seafood and green onion pancake), a fan favorite amongst our dining guests before delving into some of the night’s specials. Kimchi fried rice is one of my true weaknesses in life, so we got an order of that along with a black bean and pork noodle dish, that while not exactly picturesque was completely unique in flavor.
As we were digging into these dishes, our banchan arrived. Banchan are traditional Korean vegetable side dishes meant for enjoying on their own or as an accompaniment to entrees. The kimchi was hands down some of the best I’ve ever had, and the pickled daikon was to-die-for. No need to fight over your favorites, as they were happy to provide us with refills as needed.
For our entrees, we doubled down on beef with the galbi ribs (beef short ribs) and the dolsot bibimbap (rice, beef and veggies cooked in a hot stone pot).
I’ve had a lot of bibimbap in my life, but at first bite I new this one was special. There was just a special harmony in the way the crispy rice, tender beef and red pepper paste melded into one flavor explosion. I can’t explain it any better than that, but it’s officially on my must-try list of dishes in OKC. (I plan to put that list together one of these days in its own blog post.)
All in all this was one hell of a memorable meal with great company.Don’t let the construction deter you, once you get past the maze there is ample parking and the food will soon make your forget your traffic woes. We also loved how incredibly affordable it was, even with the feast of food we ordered. A little birdy also mentioned that you can BYOB if you want to make things even more interesting (but don’t shout that from the rooftop.)