Korean cuisine is really not my cup of tea, both as a consumer and a practitioner of culinary art. In my personal view, and I could be wrong, Korean cuisine is not as popular as other oriental cuisines in the African context.
Nevertheless, one has to adventure and discover the diversity available in Rwanda and Dae Jang Geum restaurant, located on KG9 AV, Nyarutarama, was my choice for this particular foray.
The night of my visit was not particularly busy. There appeared to be more wait staff than actual diners. Furthermore, the majority of diners were of Korean descent. In fact, I was the only African diner. This only served to accentuate my belief that Korean food is not that popular amongst the African population and the fact that there are possibly more than two Korean restaurants in Kigali got me wondering if they are actually doing any business. Maybe Kigali possesses a substantial Korean population.
I believe Dae Jang Geum is of South Korean influence and we all know they are a friendlier people than their North Korean counterparts. My question is, is there an actual difference in cuisine?
In as far as service is concerned, Dae Jang Geum is not doing too badly. The presence of too many wait staff gathered right in front of guests was a bit of a negative but I did enjoy the friendly banter with my waiter and he was quick. Order to serving was a little more than ten minutes. Korean food like most oriental food is done with minimum fuss and usually cooking time is kept to a minimum.
The menu is a little complicated especially to those who have no idea about Korean cuisine. For example, I ordered for jeyuk bokkeum. Between you and me, what is that? Believe it or not, it is simply a spicy stir-fried pork served with rice and assorted steam vegetable side dishes. The pork itself was overwhelmed with vegetables, some not to my liking so I spent a considerable amount of time sifting through my dish to find the pork. I love pork ears so I was happy to chance upon quite a number of pieces.
This restaurant is a decent place with a garden setting for those wishing to have a more private dining experience or a well lit main dining that seems to be popular with the regulars. The furniture is basic but the tables with facility for keeping sizzlers hot caught my attention. I also noticed that the Korean diners eat in large groups and share a plethora of dishes and drinks. Very comradely.
Mosquitos aside, I had a good time at this joint. I do hope that the local population can pick an interest in Korean cuisine. Depending on your order, the average cost for two will cost you about Rwf20,000 including drinks. Not too bad I say.
Dae Jang Geum is open daily.