One of the cuisines I crave most when it’s chilly outside is Korean – there’s something about the strong, spicy flavours in Korean food that is oh-so comforting in the cold. Instead of the usual Korean places that everyone’s familiar with, I made a stop at SANCHE, the newest Korean restaurant in town.
Hidden in the middle of the Central wet markets, SANCHE is a hidden gem. I loved the simple mix of the exposed white brick walls paired with the wallpaper covered in Korean characters. It’s a great first date spot – the dim lighting from the dangling light bulbs will no doubt set the mood just right for a romantic evening. The staff are also really friendly and attentive, so I promise you’ll feel right at home here.
The concept at SANCHE is simple: come here to experience true Korean flavours in a healthy and delicious meal, made from quality farm-fresh ingredients. The simplicity of the restaurant is clearly reflected in its short, two-page menu. There are only about twenty or so items; too often I feel overwhelmed at restaurants constantly flipping back and forth between the pages, so this was a nice change!
Having just walked over in the cold to SANCHE, I ordered up some hot yuzu tea – it smelled heavenly and the thick slices of lemon in my teacup provided just the right mix of sour against the sweet, aromatic yuzu.
First up, we had the fried green peppers stuffed with minced beef. Despite being fried, the stuffed peppers weren’t at all greasy, and the accompanying bulgogi sauce provided just the right hint of heat at each bite.
For a dish that will wow you at first sight, the octopus salad is a must order! The octopus was incredibly fresh (flown in from Korea), and expect a tang from the refreshing yuzu ponzu dressing.
I’ve never ever been a fan of the kimchi pancake (sorry!), mostly because the ones I’ve had often resemble a heap of flour batter and sad looking veggies. But the kimchi pancake at SANCHE was thin, crisp and the charred smoky exterior gave a great extra crunch!
On to the meats! The first was a flavourful platter of BBQ beef short ribs; sadly I wish it had come off the bone… it was rather difficult to eat this in a lady like manner without looking too barbaric. On the upside, the side salads were a hit – the homemade dressing was nutty and rich, if only they sold this by the bottle!
The second of the meats was the spicy pork belly. Who doesn’t love a little bit (or a lot) of pork belly? With an intense smoky flavour and a feisty, spicy kick that will linger at the back of your throat, this was my favourite of the two meats.
SANCHE unfortunately does not have a dessert menu yet (I can hear all you readers gasp in shock), BUT don’t run away just yet! If you happen to come early enough, they do offer a selection of traditional Korean goodies for those who know to ask for them! We got a little taste of a popular Korean children’s snack, which resembled a sweetened rice puff. It was light like cotton candy, yet also crunchy – sounds weird, but most certainly worth a try! I fell in love with the homemade candied walnuts, which were super moreish. Each bite was one of sweet, crispy, indulgent goodness!
For a Korean restaurant that sets itself apart from the rest, I think SANCHE hits the spot. It’s the perfect place to come if you’re looking for traditional Korean comfort food that’s also healthy (and won’t leave you smelling like grease and fat!). Prices were also reasonable, with dinner at around $250-300 per head. If you work near Central, you can also beat the lunch rush by popping into secluded SANCHE and sampling their lunch set (which is around $100). With its small, cozy space, remember to call in advance to make sure there’s room for you and your Korean cravings!
SANCHE Shop C, 32 Gage Street, Central, Hong Kong
2628 3248 www.sanchehk.com