Rice fried any way you want it, for lovers of teppanyaki dishesTeppanyaki restaurants were trendy in Seoul a few years ago. And then, like most things trendy, they disappeared.
One day Bahn Sang-ha, a baseball player-turned-entrepreneur, had a craving for teppanyaki fried rice. He wanted seafood, beef or bacon to be fried and tossed into the rice on a hot griddle right in front of him. But he couldn’t find any eateries that were still making fried rice the way he liked it.
That is, until he opened his own restaurant, called Bahn, which is taken from his last name and is the same Chinese character for rice.
Mr. Bahn developed a slew of special sauces and went into business nine months ago near near Ewha Womans University in northern Seoul. Bahn attracts students in droves. “Young women pay attention to visual stuff; they like to have their food decorated,” Mr. Bahn observes.
His fried rice is molded into either a star or heart and garnished with a piece of purple pickled Chinese cabbage. Mr. Bahn plans to add more shapes next month, including rice molded into a doughnut shape.
The portions are sized for women, but Mr. Bahn is happy to dish up extra rice, for free, for man-sized appetites.
The rice is pan-fried with Bahn’s special teppanyaki sauce, a blend of vegetable stock, seasonings and oyster sauce. It’s served with another chestnut-colored sauce that Mr. Bahn makes twice weekly with beef-and-pork stock and tomatoes.
Among the most popular dishes is Bahn’s combination fried rice (5,500 won; about $4.50). The combo has a little bit of everything: squid, bacon, kimchi, shrimp, beef and mushrooms.
The kimchi fried rice doesn’t taste like your average kimchi fried rice, though. It’s a versatile base for the other dishes, including the ones with seafood, ham, bacon, mushroom and cheese. Except for the combination and seafood fried rice, each dish costs 4,000 won.
The hot homemade sea kelp soup, or miyeokguk, served on the side is a tasty surprise. “Most young people, like myself, don’t like to eat miyeokguk at home, but outside home it tastes good,” Mr. Bahn says. On warm days, he switches to a cold version of the soup.
Korean soda pop costs 1,500 won.
Theme: Teppanyaki fried rice
Telephone: (02) 313-8388
Address: 56-129 Daehyeon-dong, the Green House Bakery street, near Ewha Womans University’s main gate
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily.
Credit cards: Not accepted
by Ines Cho