Tuesday, April 23, 2013

FOODIE REVIEW: Moti Mahal, Pyeongtaek - South Korea

Back in 1997, when I first moved to South Korea with my family, we were the only Indian family registered to be living in Pusan, the second largest city. Needless to say, finding indian groceries, spices, and ingredients was definitely impossible -- let alone an indian restaurant. How my mother managed to import her spices over from her hometown by going back and forth for vacations, I do not know. 

I remember going to the first Indian Restaurant which opened on Haeundae beach, I was a junior in high school and Ganga made my parents super happy. It was their way of remembering home, giving my mom a break from cooking, and of course -- it was just yummy Indian Food. Just watching my mom get excited over looking at a menu made and ordering way too much food all these years, is probably where I have developed my bad habits from, and I often get told, 'Hey, your eyes are bigger than your stomach right now, calm down.' But that is how excited I get, I read over the menu, and think ... mmm, that will taste good in my tummy, and just keep ordering. I guess it will always be hard to break people of old habits? :) 

Now that we are back in Korea, here in Pyeongtaek, my amazing hubster FOUND AN INDIAN RESTAURANT! We almost rushed to dine at Moti Mahal the same day we found out that delicious aroma of spices was only 15 minutes away from us.  

If you walk out the front of AK Plaza, (with AK plaza behind you) walk down the alley towards the right of Pyeongtaek Hotel and keep an eye out, looking down the alleys while walking down this street. You will find the restaurant on the second floor of either the second or third alley. Now my directions are not always fail proof, so I recommend calling, incase you can't find the restaurant, luckily the staff speak English, so you shouldn't have too much trouble finding the place.

We ordered a 'Chicken Makhani' and a 'Mutton do Piaza', two plain naans and rice.  My husband, that normally wasn't super excited to go to Indian restaurants while we were in the States, suddenly couldn't wait to bring friends to this place. The meat in both dishes were cooked perfectly, soft and tender, not dry. The curry bases were both unique in flavor and not overly done with too much spice, cream or ghee, which some restaurants tend to over do when they want to mask the quality of the food. 

My verdict: this place is awesome! The only thing that let the food down, was their use of Korean rice for steamed rice, the starchyness of the rice just doesn't blend well with the thick Indian curries. Skip the rice, do the fluffy fresh Naan Breads and dip into the yummy gravy of whatever you order. 

Keep note: this restaurant is slightly on the pricier side, ranging from 15~20,000 KRW for just one basic curry -- but go with a lot of friends, order lots of dishes, share and try lots of food. They have a decent vegetarian selection too. :)  

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