Bari it is changing its skin and this fact is something that the locals have been experiencing, with joy, for several years. After filling the city with Japanese-inspired fusion venues, one of the most recent and interesting innovations is the proliferation of real ethnic restaurants. Among these there is U’Kor: the first Korean restaurant in Puglia. Let’s start with the name. In Bari dialect, U’kor it means the heart but it is also a nice way to abbreviate u kor that is, the Korean place or, more generally, Korea. To open it, in via Roberto da Bari 130was the mind of the brilliant bartender Haneul Leeknown in the city as Hannetta. Korean, after having spent seven years in the Apulian capital, he proposed his idea to Diego Biancofioreowner of Biancofiore restaurant andMostofiore wine shop, who decided to invest in this project. The difference with the other ethnic bars in Bari is evident and begins at the entrance: guests are greeted by a long counter, where it is possible to stop to sip one of the proverbial Haneul cocktails while waiting for one of the ten tables get free. And the welcome bite? Focaccia topped with kimchi, Chinese cabbage fermented with chili. More Apulian and Korean than that!
Once you are seated on real wood chairs and stools, you can see that on the white tiled table there are cutlery and chopsticks supported by a small plastic heart. But beware, the chopsticks are not made of wood: in Korea they are not used and, throughout the meal, you notice the difference. Appetizers, first courses, main courses and desserts are all strictly Korean but prepared with local ingredients. The hard core of the card, however, is in the street food Korean, very famous and appreciated. The courses can be combined with one drink list curated by Haneul and inspired by typical Korean sweets and drinks (also available in the original version) or you can dine while drinking one craft beer (local and not) or a wine glasswhose labels wink to natural culture.
To confirm that it is real korean cuisinewe sat at the table with Laura, creator of the Instagram account Imperfect Pasta. During her year in Fiji, she discovered Korean cuisine and, upon examining the menu, she nods with conviction. We are on the right track. After starting with gods Goki Manud5 home made ravioli stuffed with beef and pork, seasonal vegetables, shitake mushrooms, bok-choy (Chinese cabbage) and the delicious sauce u’kor we saw various dishes coming out of the kitchen Tteokbokki: rice dumplings with sweet-spicy chili sauce, fish pie and clams, accompanied by tempura of seasonal vegetables and hard-boiled egg, a very popular course. But we decided to go straight to the point. We ordered a bowl of Nen-myon, cold buckwheat noodles served with marinated tuna, fish broth granita, pineapple and chilli sauce, daikon, cucumber and egg. Fresh, savory, spicy, unsettling and reassuring at the same time. To eat them, be careful not to be Westerners: you have to mix all the ingredients well before starting..
U’Kor is also suitable for vegetarians. Two examples: the Kimbab classica rice roll with omelette, sautéed vegetables, seaweed and daikon, or i Veggie mandu, ravioli stuffed with seasonal vegetables. But the real highlight is the Korean style fried chicken. The world has come to love this seemingly simple recipe thanks to the great variety of sauces it is served with. If you think this is an ethnic version of Kfc’s product you are wrong. From U’Kor everything changes starting from the breading, also made with a slightly spicy sweet and sour sauce. On the plate, the chicken nuggets come with a bowl of extraordinary sweet and sour sauce and glazed and fried rice dumplings. A delicacy. As for the dessert, you can’t miss the Ddok: national version of our tiramisu and lo Yuza: sorbet created with yuzu and biscuits. If, once you leave the restaurant, you want to say how much you enjoyed what you ate, juxtapose your thumb and forefinger perpendicularly and you will get a small heart. This place is simple, cheap and very effective. It’s the Korean way!