I always come to my Korean friend Jane for great tips for Korean food or shopping around the city. And when she decided to show me some authentic Korean BBQ in Coquitlam, I was over the moon! The place she’s taking me to is Toe Dam Fusion in Hanin Village, a shopping centre at the corner of North Road and Lougheed Highway. Many call the area the unofficial “Korean Town”, whereas Korean signs are spotted everywhere. H-Market has taken an entire corner of the strip mall, and this particular store seems so much bigger than the ones in Downtown and Richmond. So yes we are definitely in a great place for authentic Korean food.
The main dining room is not very large, but there are a few private rooms with traditional decor and sliding doors set up for bigger party. The restaurant has been around for a while but was received a new ownership not too long ago. Jessica also owns Cafe Bono in the complex. Her known passion for food turns out to be just as intense as for coffee, which has made place busier than ever.
Jane did not hesitate grabbing her favourite, the Saeng Galbi, or the Fresh AAA Beef Short Ribs ($39.95). When the huge meat platter arrived, it was interesting to see the details of the preparation, such as the score marks on the ribs and the arrangement of onion and king oyster mushrooms. The meat looked super fresh, so fresh that I even found the raw meat appetizing.
A classic Korean dinner always comes with great side dishes because Koreans like their meal to be perfectly balanced with different food groups. The short rib platter came with spicy tofu soup and salad. I loved the spicy seasoning in both, and my stomach were warmed up for the main course. There were, as usual, small banchan dishes. I particularly enjoyed the white daikon kimchi.
The Korean BBQ grill was sizzling hot and Jane was placing all the ribs and vegetables on it. The Marinated version of the short ribs are also available and has the same price, but Jane suggested enjoying ribs with the natural flavour. There are a few Korean BBQ sauces available for dipping the meat in if you desire stronger flavours.
Without the marinate, the meat has kept the moisture and is much juicier. The flavour is just incredible. For someone who likes the original taste of a quality fresh ingredient like me, the meat is perfection. And I also did it in the proper way too, wrapping the beef, the sauces, the cooked garlic, onion, and mushroom, and some kimchi all together. Each bite was heavenly.
Jane recommended another favourite of hers here, the Mul Naengmyeon, or the Cold Noodle Soup ($11.95). I had this at MDG on Denman street before. The version here is much larger and has more ingredients. The portion is generous, and it can be a meal if you desire a lighter supper. The temperature of the cold broth, the texture of the noodle and the slightly spicy flavour of the sauce, all singing harmonically in my mouth.
Located in the heart of “Korean Town” in Coquitlam and recommended by my Korean friend, this place is definitely legit. The AAA Short Rib here is one of the best Korean BBQ dishes that I have ever had. The Cold Noodle Soup is just as impressive. Jessica, the owner, really shows her passion for food and tradition at this place. I will definitely need to visit her Cafe Bono in the same complex next time. I’m looking forward to my next visit to Toe Dam, but I would try to come with a bigger group so that I can try everything else on the menu.
Toe Dam Fusion Korean BBQ
Hanin Village 한인 빌리지
329 North Rd, Coquitlam, BC V3K 3V8
(604) 939-5515 or toe-dam-korean-fusion-bbq.business.site