The Seafood Pajeon at the Ali Rang Korean Restaurant in Ottawa contained only a small amount of shrimp and was rather mediocre in quality.
For those unfamiliar, Pajeon is a sort of Korean pancake made with Scallions. The ‘Jeon’ is the pancake (typically made with eggs, wheat flour, and rice flour), while the ‘Pa’ refers to the scallion.
A ‘Haemul Pajeon’, to get a bit more specific, is basically a Pajeon with seafood added to the pancake batter. This is a very popular item in most Korean restaurants and the additions can include Shrimp, Squid, Oysters, and Clams.
At Alirang, the appetizer you see pictured above appeared on the menu simply as ‘Pajeon’, but it also was more particularly identified, in English, as a ‘Seafood Pancake’. It did, in fact, have some Shrimp in it, albeit not a lot, so, in theory at least, the Pajeon at the Ali Rang was a Haemul Pajeon.
The one thing that was immediately striking about the Ali Rang Pajeon was the size of it. In truth, it wasn’t a good deal larger than servings at other Korean restaurants, but I was dining alone on this occasion and it was a bit daunting. Indeed, I had already had a couple of dishes before this, including a very good complimentary Gamja Jorim Banchan, and I wasn’t able to manage the whole pancake by myself.
Anyway, in addition to the requisite Scallion, the additions here were the aforementioned Shrimp, Red Bell Pepper, and some Chili flakes. It wasn’t a bad combination, by any means, but the tiny amount of Shrimp, and the lack of any other seafood was disappointing. At the very least, a little Squid would have made this particular effort a bit more interesting.
Generally speaking, the Pajeon at the Ali Rang wasn’t too bad, though. The batter was fine, and it was certainly properly cooked, but the overall effect was mediocre. The Ali Rang is an excellent little restaurant, and I have enjoyed every visit I have made there, but this one dish left me thinking that I preferred my own home-made version instead.