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TAIWAN FUN MAGAZINE, October, 2005.

Mu Kung Hwa Korea Viand Restaurant

(02) 2768-5338
139, ZhongXiao East Rd., sec. 5
Moved to: 20,lane 75, NanJing E. Rd, Sec. 4, SongShan Dist.
Hours: 11 am- 3 pm, 5-10 pm
Credit cards accepted, add 10% service charge.
NT$350/person minimum dinner bill

By Shanzi Chen
Translated by Druetzler David

While Korean cuisine has been common in Taiwan for several decades, most Korean establishments have remained small eateries or "copper-grill" restaurants, with high-end Korean restaurants rare in Taipei. However, one exception to this rule, Mu Kung Hwa Korea Viand Restaurant, started up up recently next to the Taipei City Hall MRT station's exit 4. Mu Kung refers to Korea's national flower, the Hibiscus Syriacus, but has never been used as a restaurant name in Taiwan or Korea. This causes a bit of surprise among Koreans visiting Taiwan's capital city.

Traditional Korean masks decorate the outside-facing window lattices and attract the attention of many curious pedestrians. Those who enter will see the restaurant's exquisite interior design and a large wall embedded with many small rocks. Mu Kung still uses traditional old-school methods to decorate and a large mirror on an opposite wall helps provide the restaurant with a spacious feeling. There is also a basement that can be partitioned into three private rooms, or be totally opened up into a large banquet room for about 25 people.

Mu Kung serves Western-style individual dishes to each customer, who can choose from an imperial-style menu with 10 appetizers, three salads, soup, hot foods, four main courses, desserts, fruit, and eight kinds of drinks. The menu includes such items as Korean Salad, Korean New-Year Cake Soup, Ginseng Chicken Porridge, Korean Seafood Pancake, Seafood with Vegetable Mixed Rice, and Korean Mixed Sauce with Noodles. Many of the items on the menu are still made according to ancient Korean imperial palace traditions.

Korean barbecued meat is served as a main course, with only the highest-grade meat being used. There are sirloin, filet and boneless steaks and the pork is also of top-grade quality. Mu Kung uses a smokeless grill and brushes animal grease over the grilling rack to give the meat with a tasty fragrance while preventing it from sticking to the grill. Authentic pine seed tea is served to bring the meal to a perfect end. Lunch is NT$480 and dinner is NT$580, except on holidays. From Monday through Friday, the Business Lunch is also a great bargain at NT$220. With such great deals and exceptional Korean fare, Mu Kung is certainly a good option for both Korean cuisine gourmets and first-timers.

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