Tuesday, May 8, 2007

San Ma Ru

I've tried a few places where they serve "Ginseng chicken" in Korean restaurants. The ones that I've tried have been good. When I happen to browse the menu for this restaurant and saw that they have "ginseng chicken" on the menu too, I made a note that I need to try this one.

Finally was able to come back and we were seated relatively quickly for lunch time hour. The decor is nice and clean.

Saw this one the menu and it reminded me of drinks back in my childhood. It is quite refreshing and definitely had the lychee taste in it.

As with the Korean restaurants here, you always get served serving of little appetisers which I always look forward too. Each restaurants tend to have their own version. I quite like their appetisers here. The tofu and the mushroom dishes was really good. We were given a plate with salt in it as well, wasn't sure which appetiser was I supposed to dip it with. That puzzled me.

As a side dish, we ordered the "Agedashi Tofu". This came as the watery version rather than the thick sauce that is usually served in other places. The tofu was really good, full of flavour and the softness of the tofu allows you to savour the delicateness of the texture.

Next arrive what we came here for, the "ginseng chicken". This is essentially a whole chicken with glutinous rice stuffing in the middle that is combined with ginseng, chestnuts and sometimes, red dates. It is then boiled in a pot so that the soup is chicken soup with ginseng. Talk about a power dish!
When it arrived, the soup was quite clear (different from the other ones I've tried). Tasted the soup and it is definitely chicken soup but you couldn't taste any ginseng. The chicken tore open quite easily and the meat was just right. Took some of the glutinous rice stuffing in the middle and tried that. It was terrible. The rice wasn't sticky enough and had no taste to it at all. I didn't enjoy the glutinous rice at all. There wasn't much infusion of the chestnuts and ginseng which were meant to play a role with the glutinous rice. In the end, we only found half a chestnut in the dish, that explains the lack of the chestnut's role.
The "ginseng chicken" here seems to be made quickly when it should have been prepared in the chicken earlier. There wasn't sufficient time for the flavours to combine to produce the taste that it was meant to be, not to mention the lack of the supplementary ingredients. I was quite disappointed.
Other than my sadness of the "ginseng chicken", the other dishes were good. So, do try this restaurant but just not the "ginseng chicken".

Total Score ~ 15.5/25
[Taste - 6 (10) , Presentation - 3 (5), Service - 3.5 (5), Value for Money - 3 (5)]
Help Street, Chatswood


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