Jien and I stumbled upon Jal Dae Ji in Ampang when we were in the vicinity for an appointment. It was past 9pm but still, we had to wait 20 minutes for a table to vacate. Prior to our visit the Jal Dae Ji, Jien and I mostly ate Korean food in Mont Kiara since it nearer to where we live.
Service at Jal Dae Ji is quick, but food can take a while during peak hours. We ordered a portion of beef bulgogi (RM60), kimchi jjigae (RM22) and marinated pork belly (RM31) to share. A tad much for two pax I know, but we were famished and I always insist on kimchi jjigae whenever I’m having Korean food.
Compared to our regular Korean spot in Mont Kiara, Jal Dae Ji offers a better selection of ban chan (side dishes). I feel the former has lost its glory over the years and am glad to have found a better albeit further alternative when it comes to Korean food.
Jal Dae Ji’s kimchi jjigae is delicious – currently the best in town in our opinion. It’s thick, spicy enough and packed with flavour. All the things I look for in a bowl of kimchi stew. And because it’s made well, the broth is tasty enough to go with white rice. Many places serve this insipid which annoys me.
The beef bulgogi is also quite noteworthy; the staff at Jal Dae Ji will cook it on the side for you and serve it once the bulgogi is nicely simmered till the broth is reduced. The beef slices are well marinated in the bulgogi seasoning, and the onions are caramelised which lends an extra sweetness to the stew. I feel it could have benefited from a bit more simmering but Jien and I were just too hungry to wait.
They also cook the pork belly on the side so you wouldn’t reek of grilled meat at the end of the meal. Of course, you can also opt to grill the meats on your own but I prefer it when someone else does the grilling for me. Like the bulgogi, the pork belly is also well marinated so there’s plenty of flavour in each bite.
You can opt to eat it on its own or wrap it with lettuce and pickled greens. Jien likes the former while I like the crunch and tang that the vegetable wrap gives to the meat. A small gripe though – the pork belly seems to be precooked so that the grilling time is faster. I would have preferred it to be cooked on the spot as there’s a noticeable different in the crispness of the sides.
Overall, we both feel the food at Jal Dae Ji is tasty. That said, I wasn’t too pleased with an incident with the lady boss, who was nice to customers but not so courteous to her staff. Jien and I were seated right at the back of the restaurant and since we dined towards closing time, the staff were preparing to have their meal.
The lady boss decided to switch off the air-conditioning and fan at the back which made it uncomfortable for Jien and myself as it was stuffy. I assume she wants to save cost and also because she doesn’t want the staff to dine in comfort, but she should have refrained from doing so when customers are still in the shop.
And because of that, my experience at Jal Dae Ji ended on a not so positive note. Food is good, I’ll give them that. But the lady boss’ move to turn off the air-conditioning and fan while I was eating ticked me off. And it was 20 minutes to closing time so no excuse.
Food: 7/10 (non-halal)
Verdict: The kimchi jjigae and bulgogi is quite good.
Jal Dae Ji
B4-1, One Business Avenue,
Jalan Ampang Utama 2/2,
Taman Ampang Utama,
68000 Ampang Jaya.
Tel: 03-4251 1360
Business hours: 11am till 3pm, 5pm till 10:30pm daily.