Food Travel

Good XLB in Korea’s Hawaii – Le Chinois

Jeju island is off the South Coast of Korea and is a popular vacation destination for Koreans and Chinese.  In fact, according to some sources, the flight between Seoul and Jeju is THE busiest in the world.  Some have dubbed the island the “Hawaii of Korea”.  More on Jeju in a later post.  This is a review of the Le Chinois Chinese restaurant located in the Marriott Shinhwa resort.  I will also post a review of that hotel later (the room we had was spectacular as was the service).

As for the restaurant, we were hungry after our flight, and our room was not ready yet, so we decided to eat at the resort’s Chinese restaurant after going first to the Korean one, and learning it was past last call for lunch.  Jeju relies heavily on Chinese tourists, and in fact, the island is VISA free for them, so the Chinese food at the resort, which has a casino that also presumably relies a lot on the Chinese, should be good.

One of the things I wanted to eat was the famous black pork of Jeju.  It has been described by some as the “Wagyu of pork”.  I noticed the menu had some local pork on it, but the server recommended we order the sweet and sour version, and for some reason, discouraged my selection (slow cooked pork belly).  Anyway, we started off with an assortment of Xiao Long Bao:

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Each one was absolutely delicious.  The skin was in between thin and thick.  Each different flavor came through well, and was not overpowering.  It was just the right amount of truffle for example.  A good amount of soup and a delicious filling.  These were expensive, but I think they were worth it.

The next two items were just ok.  The fried rice (XO sauce with scallops) and the sweet and sour pork.

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I should of known better about the pork.  The sauce would overshadow any flavor of pork.  However, the server kept insisting so I thought he knew what we wanted as I mentioned several times I wanted to try the famous pork of the island.   Perhaps he thought this is what “tourists” wanted.

It was hard to tell, from this dish, what was so great about the famous Jeju Black Pork.  Fortunately, later that day, we would experience the pure version some where else.

Overall, the service was very good.  Another thing to be mentioned is the tea.  Jeju is known for its green tea, and you can visit the Osulloc tea museum (more like store) which is where this restaurant gets its tea.  The tea served here was a green tea with a floral hint.  I thought it was spectacular.  Other than that, the XLB was also spectacular and everything else was average.  I would come back, but only for the XLB.

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