Hankook is a Korean restaurant two blocks away from Al Wahda Mall. While there are regular chairs and tables, one of their unique features is their traditional Korean seating — low tables with cushions on the floor for people to sit on. The low table setting is usually cordoned off into separate rooms and a group of 11 people can fit into one room. The table also has two stoves embedded into it so that you can cook certain dishes yourself. As you enter, excited voices conversing in Korean can be heard through the wooden doors separating the private rooms.

JooHee Choi, Class of 2018, especially recommends it for larger groups.

The stews come in big portions which you can share whereas other restaurants don’t necessarily have [those],” said Choi.

The fact that the stew is cooked in front of you also makes it more exciting. The dishes don’t need to be shared but can be, and if you do choose to share, it will feel like a whole new experience. The dishes are served separately and you are given a separate small plate to serve yourself.

The room is very homey, almost family-like, because you have to share,” said Marie-Claude Hykpo, Class of 2018.

Sitting so close to the ground while serving each other food makes the setting feel more intimate. Of course, once the food reaches the table, silence takes over as everyone eagerly starts digging into the dishes. The service is pretty good — the food arrives within 10 minutes of it being ordered. Staff also respect your privacy and only enter the room when you press the service button.

Individual dishes cost around 50 AED, and include a wide variety of stews, barbecue options, meat dishes, mixed rice, noodles and kimchi pancakes. Hankook also provides complimentary side dishes — with free refills — which includes kimchi, bean sprouts and boiled eggs. Kimchi is fermented spicy cabbage similar to the German sauerkraut except spicier. There are also a selection of sauces.

Hykpo added that while she generally hates fried chicken, she really enjoyed the Korean Fried Chicken.

The chicken was fried but it wasn’t dry [on the] inside and the fact that it had a sweet and spicy sauce was really good,” said Hykpo.

Those who aren’t very accustomed to spicy food can choose how much spicy sauce to add to their food.

Other recommendations include Bibimbap (a mixed rice dish with fried egg, vegetables, meat and a spicy sauce), Kimchi Jongol (a kimchi stew that comes with meat), Bulgogi (a type of marinated beef) and Haemul pajun (a seafood pancake).

While Hankook will pack leftovers to take home, unfortunately this does not include the side dishes.

Choi agreed that the Korean food at Hankook is pretty authentic.


Originally published by ‘The Gazelle’, an NYUAD student publication on 17th September, 2017. https://www.thegazelle.org/issue/118/ad-secrets-13