Since Thursday, I had been craving Dok Bok Ki (spicy rice cakes) so badly. The name is Korean, and I am guessing the dish itself is of Korean origin since I have never seen it served in other Asian restaurants. Anyway, I first tried this tasty dish last year with some Korean friends; they introduced me to more authentic Korean food than the usual Bulgogi, Bibimbpap, and such.
I remember when I first tried Dok Bok Ki, I really liked it a lot, but completely forgot the dish’s name after my friends moved back to Korea. So I forgot about Dok Bok Ki in general. At the beginning of February, when my friends and I had a three-way birthday party, we had our dinner at a Korean restaurant called Playground here in San Francisco. There, I was re-acquainted with Dok Bok Ki and wanted it more.
I next tried Dok Bok Ki at another Korean restaurant called Won Mi along Fillmore Street. I went during their lunch time and was able to secure the lunch special price. I remember eating their Dok Bok Ki and thinking to myself “Spicy and sweet, and oh so chewy.” Korean food is one of my favorite kinds of food–I love spicy foods and I just love how many little dishes come with the meal. Lots of little trays of kimchi/random appetizers served, and sometimes there is also a complimentary almond rice drink served after dinner. Mm.
Anyway, so I was without Dok Bok Ki for around a month and that was probably what stirred up my cravings on Thursday. I kept thinking “I want the spicy sweetness of Dok Bok Ki” and was trying to plan my Friday out so I could go get some lunch at Won Mi. Unfortunately, I did not have a good day on Friday and decided to stay in that day.
Yesterday though, my cravings were still very strong, so I ended up going to Han Il Kwan with my friend for dinner. Han Il Kwan is probably the best Korean restaurant I have been to so far in San Francisco. I loved Won Mi and Playground, too, but Han Il Kwan seems to have the best value for their meal. We got many little appetizer dishes, a complimentary egg dish, and the almond rice drink, all for under $10 per person (without tip).
Here was where I finally satisfied my craving for Dok Bok Ki, and it was well worth the wait! I got a big plate of it and could only finish half of it; was happy to bring home some leftovers. I just love how chewy the texture is and the sweet/spicy sauce served with it. Mmm. I feel like I will need to stay in San Francisco or live in another city/suburb with superb Korean food in order to feel sane, haha.