Currying flavor ― Japanese styleTo Indians, curry is as essential to the diet as kimchi is to Koreans. Kali, a curry restaurant near Ewha Womans University, does not offer Indian curries. Japanese-style versions of the aromatic, spicy sauce are served.
Curry started to gain popularity in Japan in the ’70s and since then has remained one of the most popular foreign cuisines there.
Nam Sang-young, who worked as a cook five years in his brother’s curry restaurant, Mamezo, in Japan, opened Kali last April in this area, where several universities are located.
Typical of Japanese-style curries, the fare at Kali provides a spicy-hot sting, followed by a pleasant, smooth taste that stimulates your taste buds without sending you to the water cooler to douse the flames.
Besides the standard chicken and pork curries, the place also offers vegetable versions, such as mushroom curry (6,000 won, or $5.14). I chose a mushroom curry, and I did not regret my selection. The curry sauce is prepared with 20 spices, fresh apples, banana, carrots and onions. It is really smooth on the tongue, but still strong enough to deliver that powerful flavor that makes a good curry so addictive.
For a beverage, Kali has seven different beers on the menu, including a Korean draft beer (2,000 won a glass), bottled Korean beers (3,000 won) and Heineken (3,500 won). There are also a couple of wines on the menu that are sold by the glass (3,500 won).
The lunch special, available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, includes a complimentary nonalcoholic drink, such as a soda or coffee.
The least expensive dish is the pork curry at 5,000 won. The most expensive dish, the chicken curry, is not far out of reach at 6,500 won. The set menu is a great bargain. Just add 1,500 won to the price of the curry dish of your choice and you also get a small salad, a drink of your choice (including beer or wine), a cup of after dinner coffee and a dish of Mr. Nam’s homemade blueberry yogurt, which is served with every order.
Diehard curry lovers can ask for extra spice at no charge.
Kali wins my vote over other curry places, many of which serve inferior food at higher prices.
Credit cards: accepted
Price Range: 5,000 to 8,000 won
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., everyday
Tel: (02) 313-5951
by Brian Lee