#AucklandEats: Celebrate the Holidays with Korean Soul Food

by Michelle Li

Tae Neung | Rosedale Plaza, 10/243 Rosedale Road, Albany 0632

One of the many things that I love about the holidays is having an excuse to go out with family and friends to enjoy dinner with good food and of course good company. As far as Korean food goes, K-BBQ is the perfect way to gather all your loved ones and have a feast while catching up all night long for the holidays. 

A place that I went to recently and will definitely be going back to during this time is the K-BBQ restaurant Tae Neung - located in North Shore where I personally think some of the best Korean food is found. Its interior is designed to feel quite traditional which I think is the best as it gives the restaurant a warm and cozy feeling ideal when you are having a family gathering.

One of the unique features about Tae Neung that you wouldn’t see a lot in other K-BBQ restaurants is how they grill their meat. Tae Nueng uses charcoal to do so which again, feels more traditional and not to mention makes the meat taste A LOT better. It brings out the richness and gives a smoky flavour to the meat making it that much more delicious.

Going with my family, we got two different cuts of meat, the marinated pork and the fresh beef with short ribs and both did not disappoint. I really think you can’t go wrong with any of the options they have, especially because they give you lettuce and plenty of side dishes to wrap your meat in countless variations of ssam (lettuce wrap) 🥬 It sounds basic but dipping your meat in ssamjang and adding in different sides elevates your meal completely! You definitely won’t get bored with all the different combinations of flavours that you can achieve with the ssam. It’s also fun to see which pairings taste the best and share it with your family to compare! Plus, the lettuce not only balances out your meal but adds a freshness to cut through the greasiness of the meat.

We also ordered the Kimchi-jjigae (Kimchi Stew) which was full of flavour 😋 It was savoury, spicy and a perfect match to wash down our meal. It’s the right pairing to go with the K-BBQ to add different flavours during the meal. The warmth of the soup makes for a comforting meal that's the best for the holidays. Plus, adding some rice to your spoonful of soup is unbeatable for a tasty dinner to go with the grilled meat.

If you are going to Tae Neung, don’t miss out on their Naengmyeon (cold noodles)! The noodles they use for this are actually hand-made so it’s extra chewy and tasty! My family didn't believe me when I told them but after trying it, there’s a noticeable difference between these fresh handmade noodles that is incomparable to other cold noodles.  We got the Bibim Naengmyeon (Spicy Cold Noodles) so the noodles were spicy yet slightly sweet from the flavour of the gochujang paste. The heat from the meat and Kimchi-jjigae makes Naengmyeon much needed to cool you right off in between bites, especially during this hot time of year. It’s a refreshing way for you to enjoy the meat and the warmth of the soup all over again. 

If you are wanting a place for a family meal, a K-BBQ restaurant is a great option and Tae Neung is one that you shouldn’t miss out on. It’s got all the menu options you would want at a Korean restaurant with some unique features like the charcoal-BBQ and handmade noodles which adds something interesting to your holiday meal. I think a lot of people can agree as this restaurant was packed with families when I went with mine who seemingly also enjoyed each other's company and the best food too 🥰 

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