UPDATE: As of Oct 22, 2012, I discovered that Ogam has closed. The restaurant has been renamed to Soban Korean BBQ and is under new ownership. The menu has changed as well.
I came across Ogam for the first time in FFWD Weekly‘s 2012 Bar & Restaurant Guide, which was published earlier this spring. The article had mentioned that the “must eat” item at Ogam is the “ultra popular samgyeopsal, or grilled pork belly eaten with rice and wrapped in lettuce”. I was instantly intrigued at the thought of grilled pork belly and had made a mental note to try this place. However, over time, I kind of forgot and never quite made it there. Then two weeks ago, a coworker of mine had raved about the sweet spicy chicken from this Korean place he had tried that was tucked away inside Dragon City Mall in Chinatown. I immediately knew he was talking about Ogam and remembered about the pork belly dish that I had been meaning to try. Hence, I made it a point to try Ogam for lunch last week.
In fact, I ended up at Ogam for lunch twice last week. On the first visit, I was meeting up with a friend and we decided to try their daily lunch specials. Ogam offers a different lunch special for each weekday:
- Monday – Samgyupsal (Marinated sliced BBQ Pork)
- Tuesday – Chicken Galbi (Boneless Chicken with Sweet Spicy Sauce)
- Wednesday – Bulgogi (Finely Sliced & Seasoned Beef)
- Thursday – Spicy Pork (Sliced pork with Sweet Spicy Sauce)
- Friday – Chicken Teriyaki (Boneless chicken with Teriyaki Sauce)
Since we were there on a Tuesday, the Lunch Special ($8.90) consisted of Chicken Galbi along with two pieces of deep-fried gyoza, a fresh fruit salad, a side of kimchi and some rice. The Chicken Galbi consisted of boneless chicken thigh meat stir fried with vegetables and tossed in a sweet spicy sauce. The sweet sauce chicken was tasty but I didn’t think it had a wow factor like how my coworker was describing. Relative to the price, I thought this lunch special was good value. All the food tasted fresh and I like that there is variety since the main dish is different for each day of the week.
On my second visit, I was determined to try the famous Samgyupsal/Grilled Pork Belly ($12.90). This dish is part of the regular menu and is available during both lunch and dinner. The marinated sliced pork belly was served with sautéed onions on a sizzling hot plate along with rice and ssam (wrap, which in this case was lettuce leaves). It also came with some kimchi and ssamjang, which is a thick spicy paste used as a condiment for the “wraps”. The ssamjang is typically made of doenjang (fermented soybean paste), gochujang (fermented chili bean paste), sesame oil, onion, garlic, green onions, and sometimes brown sugar. The term ssam literally translates to “wrap” in Korean and refers to a dish where leaf vegetables are used to wrap a piece of grilled meat. The proper way to eat this dish is to take a piece of lettuce or leaf vegetable in one hand and place a bite-sized piece of grilled meat, some kimchi or other banchan, and a bit of rice in the center, add a bit of ssamjang on top and wrap the leaf around the contents. This dish of Samgyupsal/Grilled Pork Belly was amazing. The slices of grilled pork belly were very flavourful and melt-in-your-mouth tender. I liked that the pork belly did not taste overly fatty.
My coworker ordered the Sweet Spicy Chicken Galbi: 80z ($11.90) again. This was the dish he had been raving about from his previous visit. Like the Samgyupsal/Grilled Pork Belly, the Sweet Spicy Chicken Galbi was served on a hot plate but in the case, the hot plate was more for presentation purposes as the chicken wasn’t really sizzling on the plate like the pork belly slices were. Again, the Sweet Spicy Chicken Galbi was with rice and ssam (lettuce leaves) and also came with some kimchi and ssamjang. This dish tasted basically the same as the version I had as part of the Lunch Special a couple of days earlier except that this one was served on a hot plate and was a much larger portion. Compared to the Samgyupsal/Grilled Pork Belly, I thought Sweet Spicy Chicken Galbi was tasty but didn’t really have a wow factor like the Grilled Pork Belly did. To me, there is no doubt that the Samgyupsal/Grilled Pork Belly was the star of the show and a “must try” item at Ogam.
My coworker and I ended up sharing both dishes. This was perfect as I didn’t want to feel guilty about eating the whole plate of grilled pork belly myself. I totally could have as the pork belly was so tasty. It was actually quite addictive. I can’t wait to go back to Ogam to have it again.
Ogam Korean Restaurant
Dragon City Mall
Unit 167, 328 Centre St SE