Guam Diner Bytes: Mi-Dahm Restaurant
A new Korean restaurant opened late 2014 amid little fanfare in a location that had once housed Aji Ichi Japanese Restaurant. Mi-Dahm Restaurant (the sign outside has transposed the “a” & “h” in Dahm ). “Mi-Dahm” is a Korean phrase that means to talk about food, which is something you will undoubtedly be doing once you start eating here!
Zee and I were honored to be the guests of our friend Nelson Xu who had wanted me to try out this restaurant owned by a Chef Seung Chol Jung, who had previously cooked at the Calvi House in Tumon. We were delighted to be able to join Nelson, his wife Heejung Won, and daughters Justine and Jamie, both of whom are quite talented musical performers in their own right, just as their mom is an established pianist.
Since Heejung is Korean, she was able to help navigate u s through the variety of courses and dining rituals involved in our magical Korean culinary fest.
Our party was rounded by two other friends of Nelson and Heejung, Curtis and Jeanette Van De Veld, both of whom are bon vivants (like the Xus) and contributed greatly to the casual, family-style dining experience this meal had become.
Mi-Dahm Restaurant is clean, spacious with a comfortable, reassuring ambiance. There are partitions between the tables affording some aspect of privacy though our table was large due to our size. We were up against one of the large bay windows that has an astonishing view of Tumon.
Although the majority of Korean restaurants on Guam are small, family-owned businesses, very few are owned and operated by a chef. This is probably one of the key distinctions that elevates Mi-Dahm above some of the smaller mom & pop restaurants that may have some very good food. When you view the menu at Mi-Dahm and observe how their food is presented, you can see the professionalism and expertise involved.
Mi-Dahm Restaurant has advanced new barbecue grills built in to their tables which have special heat deflectors that can cook the meat without flare ups and heavy smoke. We ordered family-style as well as a variety meats including beef ribs, marinated grilled beef, and beef brisket. We had the Mi-Dahm salad ($10), which was a light assortment of green leaf and iceberg lettuce with a light dressing. The Pan Chan was fresh and had the thin-sliced radish circles excellent for wrapping meat.
One of the notable, first-time tastings for me was the Chopped Noodles with Little Neck Clam Soup ($13.00). This was a large bowl filled with delicious broth, egg, sliced onion, clams, and thick noodles. I should have come back to have this for New Year’s dinner! A small dish of sliced marinated green chilis can be used as a condiment.
The beauty of this entire meal was how we were able to eat a very large selection of menu items, especially what was being grilled. We were able to wrap meats Korean style in romaine lettuce leaves.
Another first for me was Mi-Dahm’s Boiled Pork Wraps ($35.00 medium). This had meaty pork belly slices piled on a plate with kimchee, which is used to wrap and eat the meat! This was delicious, too.
I should mention we were able to enjoy our meal drinking Jinro “shochu” spirits mixed in our beer. I can’t emphasize the importance of toasting and tasting while eating Korean barbecue with a close circle of friends. It is their custom and culture, and we must pay tribute!
Chef Seung Chol Jang will occasionally walk through the dining room greeting customers. His wife, Eun Sun Park, oversees the front of the house. Mi-Dahm is open seven days a week and serves lunch and dinner, staying open until 10 p.m.
The menu includes a variety of Beef and pork cuts (belly, ribs, and pork neck), as well as salads (tofu salad), noodle dishes (including cold buckwheat noodles and spicy buckwheat mixed noodles), hot soups, bibimbap, and hot pots. I am so looking forward to returning to Mi-Dahm Restaurant and to sharing it with some friends! I am also looking forward to enjoying fun dining adventures with Nelson and his family and friends.
Ken “The Guam Food Guy” Stewart
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