By Tana Kosiyabong
I have had a hard time classifying Dae-Ji. It is definitely Korean by name. However, most dishes are either Japanese or Western inspired. Only few dishes, like Kimchi fried rice, are traditional Korean cuisine. Dae-Ji is pretty much like a teenager suffering from an identity crisis. Because of this, the restaurant is rarely on the top of my mind whenever I am in the mood for authentic Korean, Japanese or even Western food.
Earlier last week, I was craving Japanese Tonkutsu—deep-fried breaded pork cutlet. However, I think it would be more interesting for my blog readers to review the Tonkutsu with a Korean twist instead. That’s how Dae-Ji became this week Cheap Appetite mission.
So I walked into Dae-Ji restaurant on Dunsmuir Street. The dark and gloomy day was literally brightened up in front of my eyes, thanks to the fluorescent orange interior walls. Since I had already made up my mind, I didn’t waste the time to order No.1—Dae-Ji Pork Cutlet ($7.99). After all, the restaurant was named after it. Once the dish had arrived, I felt astonished by the amount of food on the twelve-inch plate. Although the cook tried to spread everything into thin layers, the dish is still a square foot full of food.
After a short photo session, it was time for the taste test. The pork cutlets had fresh, crispy panko bread crusts. But the pork was a bit dry. Perhaps the attempt to occupy every square inch on the plate was backfired. The cutlet was too thin it dried out during deep-frying. The Japanese Tonkutsu is normally made from a thicker cutlet.
The topping sauce is sweet and savory. It tasted somewhat like a milder version of Tonkutsu dipping sauce. I think it made sense considering the amount of the sauce on the plate. The mayo-based salad dressing was so tasty it brought plain shredded cabbage to life. The macaroni salad and steamed corn added varieties of textures to the dish. The steamed rice was nicely cooked, though not nearly enough for the two cutlets. By the time I finished the first one, I ran out of the salads, and rice. The second piece was left on the plate. However, I couldn’t take it home because it had already soaked in the sauce. So I had no choice but to finish it without the side dishes. Next time, I’ll make sure to ask for the sauce on the side.
Dae-Ji menu price range from $5.99 to 8.99. You can make your meal a Combo as follows: Combo A (add miso soup and pop for $2); Combo B (add kimchi soup and pop for $$2.50). Some items, however, already come with miso soup.
The restaurant should consider a better proportion of the cutlets, rice and salads. One cutlet with more rice and cabbage salad at $5.99 would have been a better Cheap Appetite.
Dae-Ji Pork Cutlet: ©©© 1/4
Dae-Ji is located at 519 Dunsmuir street, Vancouver, BC, Canada. (T) 604.677.1636
No.1: Dae-Ji pork cutlet with salad and rice — $7.99
No.2: Chicken cutlet with salad and rice — $7.99
No.3: Fish cutlet with salad and rice — $7.99
No.4: Currry pork cutlet with salad and rice — $8.50
No.5: Curry chicken cutlet with salad and rice —$8.50
No.6: Kimchi roll cutlet with salad and rice — $8.99
No.7: Pizza flavor pork cutlet with salad and rice — $8.99
No.8: Cheese pork cutlet with spicy gravy, salad and rice — $8.99
No.9: Veggie curry rice with miso soup — $5.99
No.10: Chicken curry rice with miso soup — $6.99
No.11: Pork curry rice with miso soup —$6.99
No.12: Marinated pork rice with miso soup —$6.99
No.13: Kimchi fried rice with miso soup — $7.99
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