NongBu Korean Eatery
This is in short, a declaration of love to one of my favorite spots in Edmonton.
What it is
NongBu Korean Eatery is a Korean restaurant that opened up in Edmonton back in 2015. I remember hearing about NongBu through word of mouth and that their focus is on Korean street eats, which really piqued my interest.
NongBu is tucked away just south of Whyte Ave on 104 St. When you walk in, the immediate vibe is industrial, as there’s a lot of concrete. This is offset by a lot of wooden accents, which warms the place up.
NongBu has a pretty small menu compared to other restaurants, and changes as the seasons change. Sections on their food menu includes Snacks and Street Eats, Mains, and Ssams (Lettuce Wraps). Everything on their menu is shareable (awesome for people with decision-making impairments like me), so it’s actually really fun to bring a friend or two to sample more of their menu. The drinks and desserts menu (shown above) is pretty straight forward and easy enough to navigate.
What I like to eat
If you’re coming to NongBu with me, and allow me to take over ordering, this is what I would order:
- Kimbap – made in the traditional style. The length and width looks like a small sausage, but is essentially rice with radish, carrots, and asparagus wrapped in seaweed. It comes with a sesame sauce for dipping that is also peanut-free! It sounds simple, but the texture and flavors are excellent.
- Kimchi bokkeumbap – Kimchi fried rice with an over easy egg on top. It’s easy enough to make at home but NongBu’s is legit. I love it.
- Honey butter fried ddeokbokki – You. Don’t. Even. Know. I joked with John Anh, the owner, that I would come by in full wedding gear on wedding day just to eat this to tame the hangry. It’s rice cakes that’s been fried so that the outside is crispy while the inside is chewy.
- Ssam – I usually order an individual portion since I’m sharing so much other food. It doesn’t really matter to me what ssam is ordered, but the Bo Ssam (braised pork shoulder) is a safe bet. It comes on a huge plate that has lettuce, the meat in bite sized portions, sliced garlic, and sauce.
- Every meal comes with banchan (side dishes).
What I like to drink
If you’re still on the train with me, here’s what I would order for us to drink:
- So-mec – is a combination of soju and beer. The server will come by and do it for you, but basically s/he will pour beer into a beer glass, followed by soju into a shot glass, put the shot glass into the beer glass, and tap it down with chopsticks. Gunbae!!
- Banana makgulli – banana flavored rice wine. People might be turned off by this but trust me, it’s delicious. It comes in what looks like a metal teapot, and is served in bowls. Don’t worry, the metal isn’t heavy at all.
- Flavored soju – tastes like candy. Grapefruit and citrus are my favorites.
Why I love it
Everything that NongBu does sets up an environment that makes it easy and fun to hang out with your friends. I’m an experiential person, so vibes matter a lot. NongBu likes to spin chill, Korean hip-hop, which is already a step up because no where else I can think of in the city plays Primary, Gaeko or DEAN around the clock. Their servers are super friendly and happy to recommend their faves. Finally, I love so much of their menu that it’s become comfort food.
I’m totally in love with NongBu, and I would bring any of my friends here, any day of the week. It’s just that good.
And no, I am not paid by NongBu to endorse them. All views are my own.