Jillian R.
There is a new Korean restaurant in town!

This one merely a five-minute walk from our apartment; well two minutes if we walk faster.

The restaurant sign was put up a couple of months ago and I've been anticipating its opening ever since. It's been about two years since we left Korea, and I've been craving some Korean dishes. Despite being able to make some of our favorite Korean dishes at home; thanks to the tubs of gochujang which are available at the Chinese Supermarket, it is not really the same without the variety of side dishes that are always served with a Korean meal.

Anyway, the restaurant opened a week ago, and it is apparent that not too many people know about it just yet; as we were the only ones there when we arrived. The decor is very Korean; complete with floor seating and barbeque grills on the table. The only thing missing is a water cooler in the corner and a cup sanitizer.

One look at the menu and I whispered to Eric "Guess we're not in Kansas anymore". Although they have quite a selection; everything from everyday Korean dishes like Kimbab, Kimchi chigae and Bulgogi to Korean-Chinese dishes like Jjampong, Jjajangmyeon, to the less common Godongah; which is a Mackerel-Kimchi Stew, the prices are about three to four times more than what we used to pay in a nice restaurant in Korea.

We ordered the beef barbeque (would've loved to have Samgapsal which is pork barbeque, but of course, being in a Muslim country, this is not available).

I was quite disappointed seeing the few bits of meat as the "set" costs 85 AED (US$23). We have a choice of having them cook the meat in the kitchen and bring it out or cook it ourselves on the table. We chose the latter, but as it turned out, cooking it ourselves meant having the waitress do it for us...

The beef was tender, nicely seasoned and came with refillable side dishes.

Besides the raw garlic (which we couldn't cook on the grill because the grills were too far apart), green peppers, ssamjang, tofu, and Kimchi, none of the other side dishes are typically served in Korea. They were nice however. I realled liked the zucchini rounds seasoned with some kind of soy sauce.

After gobbling up the meat and had the side dishes refilled once, we decided that we had to order another dish to fill our bellehs. We ordered the Godongah; which I never had a chance to try whilst living in Korea. It was delicious and quickly went from the plate into our tummies before I could take a picture.

The restaurant is great really, the owner is a Korean woman who has been living in the UAE for over 20 years. The food is authentic, even though it comes with a steep price tag. I just don't think I would ever get used to seeing a 50 AED (US$13) roll of Kimbab after having only paid 3,000 won (US$3) for them at the little eateries located every street corner in Korea.

All in all, Manna Land is a must-visit for those who love Korean food and cannot make it at home. We would definitely be going back, if only to use their flat, metal Korean chopsticks and to watch the waitress barbeque our meat for us.
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