Cycle 14 – Item 47
21 (Tue) February 2023
-Hannam, Yongsan, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
with W, Mom & Dad
Jue is a Chinese restaurant. Specializes in Cantonese cuisine. According to the Michelin Guide: “Resembling the Chinese pronunciation of a word which refers to a title of nobility, Jue is a restaurant that specializes in Cantonese cuisine. Of the 13 different varieties of dim sum on offer, the cheung fan (rice noodle roll), shumai topped with abalone, and the spring rolls are not to be missed.”
Tomorrow is my mother’s 75th birthday.
For the special occasion, I did a Naver search for “good restaurants near Oksu,” which returned Jue. The reviews seem to agree that the food is super pricy – the Michelin Guide rates it as $$$$ – but worth the money. My mother loves that kind of thing. In fact, she was very eager to try the place, a favorite among her “rich” bridge partners, presumably to humblebrag: “Oh, my son insisted on taking me there, on my birthday, because you know I’m too poor to go there with my own money – the dimsum was nice, though I’d prefer Korean mandu hahaha.”
The food was mostly miss. The dimsum were pretty good, nicely constructed, nicely seasoned. But everything else was incompetently executed, leaving the impression of a chef with technical kitchen skills but no real-life expertise in the cuisine, including standard/easy dishes like hofan. Way better fare could be found in a cheap Hong Kong shopping mall food court. My parents, who lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for nearly 15 years and thus recognize decent Cantonese, were generally disappointed as well.
I am extremely disheartened that Koreans would regard the food as being worth the absurd prices. The trio of dimsum cost 32,000 won, even if one included a tiny abalone, and another included black truffle. The half-order of Beijing Duck cost 70,000 won, which yielded only 4 rolls, each costing 17,500 won. The entire meal cost 420,000 won – overpriced by a factor of 10.
The restaurant is henceforth BANNED.
My mother clearly enjoyed herself, giddy with anticipation of talking to her friends about the experience. “Oh, it was too fancy for me hahaha.” On that basis, the most important reason of all, the meal was actually worth it.
Happy Birthday, Mom.
(See also BOOZE)
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)