Eating out for under RM30: Nak Won


Dakgalbi, a favourite dish with customers, and the accompanying side dishes and lettuce. - MAJORIE CHIEW

Eating Out For Under RM30 features mid-range restaurants where one can eat well within this budget. It’s usually a meal for one – but when we’re lucky, we find places where two or three can eat for that price.


Dakgalbi is one of my favourite Korean dishes. It is stir-fried marinated chicken with sliced cabbage, sweet potatoes or carrot slices in gochujang (sweet and spicy Korean chilli paste).

You can add tteok (chewy plain Korean rice cakes) or ramyun (Korean noodles) to the dish for variety and texture. And at the end of your meal, you can also request for rice to be fried with the leftover dakgalbi.

At some Korean restaurants, the serving staff will cook the dish in front of you if you like. At other times, a hot plate of ready-cooked dakgalbi will be brought to your table. This is done on busy days or if your table is overcrowded with food. Some diners prefer it this way as they do not want to smell like their food.

I was introduced to Nak Won by “the mayor of Nak Won” (bestowed by Swarm, a mobile app that allows users to share their locations within their social network), who is a regular diner at this restaurant. Unfortunately, the unofficial title doesn't come with any special privileges, just bragging rights!

The dakgalbi at Nak Won (RM28) is a good-sized portion and enough for two. The dish was cooked and brought to our table. It was not super spicy as in some other restaurants. The chicken pieces were tasty and well coated with gochujang. It is terrific to eat wrapped in a lettuce leaf. Rice is a perfect foil too!

The generous array of side dishes served at Restaurant Nak Won Taman Desa.
The generous array of side dishes served at Restaurant Nak Won Taman Desa.

The best thing about dining at a Korean restaurant is that every order comes with eight to 10 side dishes, which are refillable, at no extra charge. And if you don't want any of the dishes, you can return them. There was stir-fried brinjal, spinach and large beansprouts, pickled radish, picked cucumber-carrot or kimchi, sweet potato fritters, apple chunks in mayonnaise and steamed egg. On another visit, I had tried the pickled mustard greens (ham choy in Cantonese) – nicely pickled – and fried anchovies. Both were too salty for my liking. There was also boiled mini clams in spicy sauce.

Marinated Pork Rib Barbecue should be enjoyed piping hot. It is also a favourite dish at dinner time and goes well with soju (Korea’s most popular alchoholic beverage. - MAJORIE CHIEW
Marinated Pork Rib Barbecue should be enjoyed piping hot. It is also a favourite dish at dinner time and goes well with soju.

My dining kakis had Marinated Pork Rib Barbecue (RM26), which is another dish that we enjoy regularly. The well marinated meat is excellent when dipped in a sesame sauce and savoured piping hot. Once cold, the dried out meat can be slightly chewy. You can savour in a lettuce wrap, pretty much like dakgalbi.

Bean Paste and Seafood Soup is such a flavourful soup with hard beancurd squares and zucchini and seafood. You can also request for a vegetarian version.
Bean Paste and Seafood Soup is such a flavourful soup with hard beancurd squares and zucchini and seafood. You can also request for a vegetarian version.

A friend had Bean Paste and Seafood Soup Served with Rice (RM15). This soup has hard beancurd, zucchini, clams and a chunk of crab. But as he is a vegetarian, he ordered a vegetarian version. Another time, I ordered Tofu Soup (RM15) which comes with rice, but found the mashed up soft tofu too mushy though I like the spiciness.

I always look forward to the complimentary bowl of cold barley water after a hearty meal!

Restaurant manager Joe said: “Dakgalbi (the most common dish ordered by customers) and soups are common takeaways. Marinated Pork Rib Barbecue is a favourite at dinner time and goes well with soju (Korea’s most popular alchoholic beverage).”

This Taman Desa outlet has a Korean chef to prepare authentic Korean food. Nak Won's other outlet is in Business Avenue Ampang Jaya.

At this restaurant, one can eat well even on a tight budget. The meals are satisfactory and you'll exit as a happy customer at this food nakwon (paradise in Korean)!

Restaurant Nak Won in Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur, serves affordably priced Korean dishes for lunch and dinner.
Restaurant Nak Won in Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur, serves affordably priced Korean dishes for lunch and dinner.

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Restaurant Nak Won

7-1-1 Jalan 3/109F

Taman Danau Desa

Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-7987 3004

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