2. Galaxy Korean Mart Where: Jalan Utama 1/1 What: Fresh produce, canned goods, drinks, home utensils When: 10am – 8pm daily It’s easy to think you’ve just stepped in Seoul when you enter this supermarket – everything Korean that you can imagine wanting or needing is here, and everything comes fresh straight from South Korea. From fruit, vegetables and fish to jam, coffee and spoons – everything bears the Korean label and serves to make the local Koreans feel at home. Why not try a Korean ice cream – for only RM3 you can cool down with a Jewel Ice Bar or a Rich Milk Bar – or pick up your normal brand of cereal and see if they make it better in Korea!
3. Twins Restaurant Where: Jalan Utama 1/1 What: Sushi When: 7am – 9pm daily “No not sushi,” the smiling waitress tells me as I peer down at her busy hands, “this is Kimi bab – Korean sushi!” This bustling little restaurant rolls all its own Kimi bab and has been satisfying the locals for the past five years. The kitchen team – all native Koreans – smiled as I watched entranced by their filling and rolling, producing a neat stack of Kimi bab that was quickly bought up by a waiting customer. At only RM7, it’s a bit of a bargain, and appeals to the tastebuds of everyone in the area, not just the Koreans! You can get food packed to take away, or take a seat and browse the menu to taste some authentic Korean food cooked by the people that do it best. Judging by the busy tables and munching Koreans, it is a popular place!
4. Korean Food for the Hungry Where: Jalan Utama 1/1 What: Korean savoury snacks and coffee When: 3pm – 5.30pm Tuesday, Friday and Saturday “Please come and sit, have some coffee.” The smiling, welcoming face of Cho Chang Hyun caught my eye and before I knew it, I was seated at a small stall, in the alleyway, with a cup of ice coffee by my elbow and a plate of freshly cooked Buchimge in front of me. Cho and his wife serve Korean snacks to passers-by on three afternoons a week to help raise money for charity. “It’s a very good place to meet people,” he tells me as we nibble on the Korean fried bread made with kimchi, flour and onions, “we sit, eat, and talk about everything!”
5. Chalet Suisse Where: Jalan Utama 1/1 What: Swiss food When: 11am – 3pm Monday to Friday, 6pm – 11.30pm daily You may be surprised to stumble upon a Swiss eatery in the midst of Little Korea, but Swiss owner Heinz Bauert and his wonderful wooden-panelled eatery have been here for a good 15 years. This is the place to come for a true Swiss experience, from décor to food. Try the popular Chicken and Veal Bratwurst (Swiss sausage) served with Roesti (grated potato patties) for RM32, or indulge in a cheese fondue as you marvel at your surroundings. The antiques are all from Switzerland and the wood is all recycled from an old sea freight container!
6. Tehran Restoran Where: Jalan Utama 2/2 What: Iranian food When: 11.30am – 11pm daily My gaze was transfixed by Tehran Restoran – an Iranian restaurant in Little Korea – when the owner, Hamedani, rushed out and ushered me into the kitchen to witness him whipping up his favourite dishes. “A restaurant can only be good if the owner is the chef – I do everything and everything is popular!” Hamedani declares as he proudly shows me a menu full of traditional Iranian dishes. I watch salivating as a plate of Lamb Koobide Kebab (RM19.50) is passed to a waiting customer. The meat is flown in from Australia, while everything else – the ingredients, the traditional recipes and the effusive chef – are from Iran.
7. Chung Wa Dae Where: Jalan Utama 2/2 What: Korean BBQ When: 11am – 12pm daily A trip to Little Korea would not be complete without a Korean BBQ experience, and a customer who goes by the name “Elf” has come all the way from Iraq for a taste of freshly BBQ-ed pork. “It’s my favourite type of food,” he smiled, as he tucked into his lunch. Customers to Chung Wa Dae select their meat and watch it bubble at the table in front of them, as they nibble on the various complimentary Korean side dishes including platters of fresh lettuce to dishes of kimchi. “There are so many Korean BBQ restaurants around here,” explains Elf’s companion Diana, “but this one is very good.”
8. Naab Where: Jalan Utama 2/2 What: Iranian groceries When: 10am – 10pm daily “Naab is an Iranian word,” explains worker Marijam as I squint in confusion at the sign outside this small supermarket. “It means unique, which is what we are!” This tidy store offers a whole range of produce all shipped fresh from Iran to satisfy the local Iranians with a taste from home. “People come here to buy Iranian honey,” Marijam tells me, pointing out the lumps of fresh honeycomb sitting inside the huge jar of thick honey, “and the Koreans who live in the area just love the pomegranate juice!”