korean food

Maru Restaurant (Brussels, Belgium): A Small Korean Restaurant That Might Be Your New Favorite

THE STORY

I spent a weekend in Brussels because I wanted to see Janelle Monae. It was self-indulgent, but also a birthday gift to myself.

I also knew this would be a great opportunity to try a few Asian restaurants, since lately The Asian Craving has been mostly about restaurants in the Netherlands.

Naturally, I looked up ramen spots. It’s an easy Asian cuisine to research in a city, and the ramen spots that pop up in a search are dependably good. But ramen is a streak I’m trying to break.

And so somehow, due to the incredible Instagram algorithms, I learned about Maru.

Maru Restaurant Korean Food Sea Bream Brussels seafood kimchi pickles spinach daikon steaks

The first picture that was on their feed when I looked at their account was of a green tomato kimchi. The following pictures were all just as intriguing, and so I added it to my list.

The restaurant had maybe 12 tables, including the tables outside, and seated maybe 30 people at once. When I arrived, there seemed to be one table left, and so I sat down. A waiter came over and asked if I had a reservation. I didn’t, but they were kind enough to let me stay.

Maru Restaurant Korean Food Brussels Asian Craving

The menu itself is simply yet chaotically designed. Its section titles seemed to be illustrated by hand (entrees, beverages, sides), but the menu items appear in a typewriter font with possibly hand-stamped elements.

Upon first glance, the menu didn’t seem to offer what I expected, but then again, what did I expect? I went into this restaurant without looking at their menu online, or with any idea of what I wanted to eat. As a person eating alone, any BBQ seemed out of the question. But as a person eating alone, I could also order whatever the fuck I wanted and not worry about whether another person would be willing to share it.

Maru Restaurant Brussels Bruxelles Belgium Korean Sea Bream seafood fish

THE REVIEW

I ordered the sea bream. Not what I would consider standard Korean fare, but most Asian cuisines prepare fish in a way that European cultures don’t – whole and with clean, intense flavors. Unless the fish is small enough to be fried and eaten whole, many Westerners tend to eat fish filets, rather than the entire fish. (I know, not all Westerners.)

The sea bream came out, cut in half, served with thin daikon steaks on a bed of chopped leaks and soy sauce (or were they green onions?). It was also accompanied by kimchi, spinach, pickles, and rice.

Maru Restaurant Korean Food Brussels Sea Bream pickles kimchi spinach daikon steaks Asian Craving travel

Every bite was such a delight. The light saltiness of the daikon melted with every bite. I’d pinch a healthy piece of fish onto the rice and savored the combination of flavors and textures. I’d cleanse my palette with a bite of kimchi, pickles, or spinach, just to enjoy the fish again. It had been a minute since I had eaten a whole fish with bones, but it’s not a skill easily forgotten.


Maru Restaurant (make reservations!), Chaussée de Waterloo 510, Brussels, Belgium 1050, +32 2 346 11 11

BAB (Grafenwoehr, Germany): Korean Food in a Small Town

Did you just PCS to USAG Bavaria? Looking for Korean food in Grafenwoehr, Germany? Craving something other than schnitzel? I recommend BAB Korean Restaurant, just a short walk outside Gate 1.

Kimchi Princess (Berlin, Germany)

THE STORY

After living in Germany for nearly a year, we finally made it to Berlin. Brooklyn Deferred wrote to us to say he would be there for the weekend, which was all the motivation we needed!

KimchiPrincess_002.jpg

He was coming into the city late, so the Ramen Marauder and I decided to go on an Asian food adventure (like we do). I had done a bit of research before arriving (like. I. DO.), and we were set on going to a Korean BBQ restaurant called Kimchi Princess. When we got off the train, it seemed that this neighborhood was a happening spot for food. We walked past all kinds of tempting restaurants, including a Vietnamese place that looked promising, but we were on a mission.

KimchiPrincess_001.jpg

We were grateful to be seated outside on such a beautiful summer evening. The sun had barely started to set at 8 p.m. and it felt like the city was just waking up. While we love our Bavarian town, it doesn't have the energy that Berlin has. I hate to exhaust words like electric and vibrant, but if I were able to see energy as colors, I swear that the whole neighborhood would have glowed neon.

KimchiPrincess_003.jpg

Throughout our (first) time in Berlin, we found numerous Asian restaurants, which hopefully we'll review more of down the line. There are just so many reasons to go back...

THE REVIEW

We ordered kimchi tofu and dumplings to start, and had bulgogi as our main course. As you can see, we were pretty thrilled about the food. It may have been too much, but we deliciously powered through it all. We highly recommend going to Kimchi Princess for your Korean food fix, and when you go, let us know. We'd like to meet you there.


Kimchi Princess, Skalitzer Str. 36, 10999 Berlin, Deutschland, +49 163 4580203 (They also have a Korean fast food joint called Angry Chicken)