LOCAL Houston | The City Guide September 2016 - Page 19

FOOD | ARTS | COMMUNITY | STYLE+LEISURE Kalbi with Ban Chan SOJU 101 By Tim Moloney DRINK KOREAN! The lively bar scene at Republic Diner + Sojubang is primarily fueled by soju and its many artfully infused variations – from pineapple to cucumber-mint and beyond – created exclusively by the staff. Soju is like the Korean version of Japanese sake. •It’s a distilled, vodka-like, rice liquor with a high potency and that is often flavored. •Soju is smooth and clean in taste, which makes it easy to drink in combination with various Korean dishes. •The main ingredient of soju is rice, almost always in combination with other ingredients such as wheat, barley or sweet potatoes. •Soju is clear-colored and typically varies in alcohol content from 10% to 25% proof. •It was first known to have been distilled around 1300 A.D. I just had to order the Korean fried chicken wings. Double fried so that the skin was crispy, they were sticky, sweet, spicy, crunchy, so hot they practically burned your fingers when you picked them up, and completely amazing. Our entrées hit the counter next – a beautiful, hot stone bowl of Dolsot Bibimbap Korean rice topped with a colorful assortment of carrots, spinach, mushroom, bulgogi (Korean marinated ribeye) and a raw egg. We let it sit for a while so that the skin would crisp up before we broke the yolk and mixed everything together. Delicious. Also delicious – and my fave for the night – were the tasty Japchae sweet potato noodles and the sizzling hot plate called Wang Galbi, marinated short ribs served with an assortment of banchan, or Korean side dishes. Made in-house using recipes by the owner’s Korean mom, the banchan proved that there’s a new place in town to get your Korean fix, and the cool thing about it? It’s conveniently located right in the Heights. Dolsot Bibimbap REPUBLIC DINER+ SOJUBANG 1221 W. 11th St. | Houston, TX 77008 | 832.649.3601 | www.republicdiner.com Sun–Thurs, 11am–11pm; Fri and Sat, 11am–12am; KITCHEN: Sun–Thurs, 11am–10pm; Fri and Sat, 11am–11pm september 16 | L O C A L 19