I can’t count how many times I’ve been to this local joint because it’s just THAT fantastic. Korea House is located at Canon and Victoria in downtown Hamilton. They have very limited parking and sometimes you might be boxed-in in their square lot! Street parking is available or you can park across the street at Shoppers Drugmart. You’ll find Korea House signs at the front of the store but that’s actually their kitchen. The front door is accessible through the parking lot area (around the corner from the storefront).
The interiors aren’t the prettiest either. Dark carpeted floors, white walls and dated décor fill the space. They have a flat screen TV to keep you entertained! I’ve never seen the restaurant at capacity but I’ve also never seen it empty. They usually have one or two waiters taking orders, bussing food and clearing tables. Every time I’ve eaten here, I’ve never had to wait for a table… which is another reason why I keep coming back. Their menu consists of typical Korean soups, noodles, rice bowls, and stir fries. Popular dishes like Soondubu and Gamjatang are some of the best in Hamilton.
Most of the time, they start you off with complimentary appetizers. I’ve gotten small bowls of rice noodles or green onion pancakes. It’s a nice treat to start off the meal! There are a variety of Korean pancakes but they all usually have the same flour and water mixture. Kimchi pancakes and green onion pancakes are some of my favourites.
Their Soondubu is flavoured with sweet seafood tones, silky smooth chunks of tofu, and topped with a raw egg. The rapidly bubbling soup comes in a piping hot clay pot so you know it came straight from the stove. You eat it with a bowl of rice and an assortment of side dishes (did I mention you get free refills for all the side dishes? Every Korean restaurant goes by this code). If you’re up for an even spicier dish, you have to try Daeji Bulgogi (spicy pork stir fry with onions). It’s insanely spicy but so delicious at the same time, you’ll probably need to stick your tongue in ice after each bite. The torturous burning is worth it.
If you’re not that adventurous and want to try Korean cuisine, I’d suggest you start off with Bibimbap. It’s rice topped with a variety of vegetables and meat served in a burning hot stone bowl. I warn you, don’t touch the stone bowl unless you want scorched fingers. The bowl is purposely hot to sear the rice in the bottom of the bowl. It makes a crispy yet chewy texture that’s quite addicting. Another easy-going dish worth trying is Bulgogi – marinated beef strips stir fried with onions and served with rice. What makes this dish extremely delicious is the flavour of the beef. The marinade uses the simplest ingredients yet it comes out like a masterpiece. The secret? Maybe the crushed pear and brown sugar to balance the salty flavours. It’s just heavenly.
Jjampong is another item I usually order. A spicy seafood broth with a boatload of vegetables, an assortment of seafood, and ramen. What caught my eye on the menu was the enticing layer of red chili oil contrasting beautifully with the green garnishes. The broth is the star. Once you flood your mouth with a spoonful of it, you can taste the sweetness of the seafood supported by the bold kelp flavour with the perfect amount of tongue-numbing spice. It’s a bowl of comfort especially during the winter months.
The atmosphere of Korea House might make you a bit uncomfortable but once you taste the food, you’ll feel right at home! The staff are super caring, respectful and attentive. Whenever I’m up for Korean food, Korea House is usually the restaurant I’ll visit. I’m usually closer to Alirang or Owl of Minerva, but I don’t mind driving the extra 2 minutes for consistent dishes and comfort food at Korea House.