GEONBAE

The traditional hanbok was eye-catching: it was billowy, colourful and completely out of place in a mall. Emerging from the claustrophobia-inducing rotating door of Grand Metropolitan into the lobby, my friends and I were met by smiling woman in a hanbok who handed is a promotional leaflet of a newly opened bibimbap and casual Korean food restaurant. I am not part of the huge number of fans of the Korean wave that has hit Southeast Asia or Korean food, which I find too spicy for my palate, but somehow, for some inexplicable reason, I agreed to try out the new restaurant called Mujigae.

Welcome to Mujigae!

Welcome to Mujigae!

Mujigae, apparently, has a vast and loyal clientele judging from the number of outlets written on the leaflet, excluding Grand Metropolitan in Bekasi. It can only be interpreted as Bekasi locals have actually developed a great fondness for Korean cuisine. The leaflet highlighted menu items such as topokki with yangnyeom chicken, Kimchi fried rice, classic Ramyun and bulgogi. The place was not keeping a low profile. The sign Mujigae is colourful and huge; you can spot it from the other end of the mall. Inside, it was every K-Pop fan’s watering hole: brightly lit with a video wall of Korean singing groups and another video wall of what I understood to be a Korean reality TV. Next to the reality TV was a “picture wall”: you take a selfie or a group selfie from the iPad mounted on your table and within minutes the selfie/group selfie loops into the wall. You are an instant celebrity with your own “billboard” for a few seconds!

Post a selfie or group selfie on the photo wall on the left or watch Korean reality TV on the right.

Post a selfie or group selfie on the photo wall on the left or watch Korean reality TV on the right.

Coffee sea salt drink - the Korean version of the popular ice blended drink.

Coffee sea salt drink – the Korean version of the popular ice blended drink.

Green tea sea salt drink for tea lovers.

Green tea sea salt drink for tea lovers.

What caught my attention were the sea salt drinks that were supposedly a favourite among K-Pop artists. Flavours come in four variants – coffee, green tea, red velvet, and lemon. My thrill was in the presentation and that I didn’t know how to drink it. Coming in a huge glass bowl, the drink is locked in a bottle, which you pull out in full or in little motions to let the drink – coffee, in my case – flow right into the merry mix of little ice squares, whipped cream and sea salt. The combination was a most welcome treat from the scorching sun and the usual ice blended drinks. The sweet- salty taste kept the drink from being too cloying or salty, and kept you sipping every so often in between bites of bulgogi or Korean fried chicken. Every sip was a perfect harmony of refreshing sweetness and saltiness.

Geonbae!

It's a dose of chocolate with the red velvet sea salt drink.

It’s a dose of chocolate with the red velvet sea salt drink.

It's a combination of sour, salty and sweet with the lemon sea salt drink.

It’s a combination of sour, salty and sweet with the lemon sea salt drink.

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