Back to dine at Nam Moon again


I stepped into the restaurant and my eyes zeroed-in on that long dining table arranged on the far right, at the rear of the restaurant because this was where my family and I made many fond memories of dining on Korean cuisine here.


A toast to friendship as we raised our
bowls of Makgulli together at Nam Moon

When I accepted the invitation to dine at Nam Moon again, I was not prepared for such a maelstrom of flashbacks to our time together when my dad and my brother-in-law were still with us. Back then, Nam Moon was among our family’s regular dining destinations.


It was where I had my first taste of Makgulli, the smooth flavour of Korean rice wine which simply made our family’s Korean dining experiences even more memorable.


It was good to be back for another dining experience prepared by the Lim family who operates this restaurant with a hands-on attitude and a passion for tradition.


Sunflower blooms along Jalan
Perang, outside Nam Moon

Lim Byong Hwan and his wife, with the help of their daughter, Jihae, have taken Nam Moon to the next level with an extended dining hall and more tables to serve a regular clientele who appreciate their menu of authentic Korean cuisine.


I was pleased to learn that the Lim family persisted patiently through the past few years by serving takeaways when dine-in was disallowed and kept all their staff in spite of the many challenges.


Lim and his wife kept themselves busy with rearing ornamental fish in aquariums that form part of the restaurant décor and nurturing healthy blooms of sunflowers that cheerfully bordered the road in front of the restaurant.


A generous spread of banchan at Nam Moon

Jihae reminded me that their restaurant was open daily for the past 13 years and has a tradition of preparing their food from scratch. And while it was reassuring to know that they still do not believe in shortcuts, she said it was rather physically challenging for the senior Lim.


Among the popular items that regulars often order was their Korean steamboat and in addition to the fresh ingredients to cook in the broth, there were dumplings which Jihae said, her father still insists that they should make their own.


Korean barbecued meat wrapped in lettuce
leaf is best eaten by hand!

When the banchan dishes were served, I counted some 13 items in the spread of appetizers – just as they did before – and we agreed that Nam Moon must be among the notable Korean restaurants here that serve such a generous number of banchan.


We took our time to savour the wide variety of appetizers while the staff helped to barbecue our SengKalbi, fresh beef ribs with bone, Kalbisal, boneless fresh beef ribs, and YangnyumKalbi, marinated beef ribs with bone.


Noona,” the staff politely addressed Jihae as older sister, as he presented the platters of freshly barbecued meat to our table.


A distinct bite and crunch in this Haemul Pajeon

As I wrapped barbecued beef, dipped in sauces and topped by appetizers, in fresh lettuce leaves (held in my hand) to pop into my mouth, it occurred to me that Koreans also ate with their hands not unlike the way Malaysians ate rice with gravies.


The seafood pancake, Haemul Pajeon, was served with a side of dip sauce and as I sank my teeth into a slice, I agreed that this pancake had a distinct bite and crunch which I very much enjoyed.


Steaming hot Samgaetang, Ginseng Chicken Soup

Another item to share was the mixed rice in a hotpot, Tolsot Bimbimbap which came with a bottle of gochujang – Korean red pepper paste sauce – for added flavour. In case it was too spicy, we decided to cautiously add only a small bit at a time to toss into the rice.


Other popular items to savour together included a portion of Jabchae, stir-fried potato noodles, and a bowl of Korean steamed egg.


Mul Nangmyun, cold buckwheat noodles

To strike a balance with the tasty dishes we were enjoying, there was the comforting flavour of steaming hot Samgaetang, Ginseng Chicken Soup.


MiYeun, our Korean foodie friend who often dined at Nam Moon, suggested that we have a taste of their Mul Nangmyun, buckwheat noodles that was served cold and I agreed without hesitation.


This bowl of cold noodles was served along with two bottles of sauces – white vinegar and western mustard – which MiYeun added a dollop each into the cold noodles.


Lim Byong Hwan [Left] with
wife and daughter, Jihae [Centre]

Then Jihae gently suggested that this cold dish was best savoured with the barbecued marinated beef ribs, YangnyumKalbi. When I had a taste, I must confess that I liked the refreshing taste of Mul Nangmyun so much that I kept the broth aside to savour later.


When MiYeun saw that I had kept the cool broth aside, she smiled and assured me that it was still good etiquette to lift the bowl to my lips and slurp up the tasty broth…


She suggested having a serving of Makgulli and our leisurely lunch suddenly turned celebratory. As we raised our bowls of Makgulli for a toast to friendship, it was like a warm welcome back to enjoy the familiar food in Nam Moon.


Enjoy the affordable Korean Set Lunch menu served on weekdays, Monday to Friday, from 12pm to 3pm. Prices range between RM14 to RM19 only per set.


Nam Moon Korean BBQ (Non-Halal) is located at No. 31 Jalan Perang, Taman Pelangi, 80400 Johor Baru, Johor. Open daily from 11am and closes at 10pm.


For reservations, Tel: +607 – 331 5573.

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