Seoul Garden

Special thanks to Seoul Garden for extending this food review invitation.

Seoul Garden at Auto-City has recently received a complete makeover under a new management team. This restaurant is one of the 5 Seoul Garden outlets in Penang. The others are located in shopping malls, namely Gurney Plaza, Queensbay Mall, 1st Avenue Mall and Sunway Carnival Mall. Nationwide, Seoul Garden has over 30 outlets in total.
As a halal-certified restaurant, Seoul Garden appeals to the public due to its all-you-can-eat-style steamboat. Customers are seated at tables of 4 or 5 persons. At the center of each table is a built-in stove which provides boiling and grilling capabilities. In addition, this outlet also provides several private dining rooms.
The steamboat pot is divided into two compartments. Customers are allowed to choose any 2 types of soup: Chicken Soup, Thai Tom Yam, Korean Ginseng Chicken, Korean Kimchi Jjigae, Korean Tom Yam Jjigae. Extra spicy versions are also available.
In addition, the griddle surrounding the circumference of the pot allows customers to grill their food should they prefer so. The griddle has been lubricated with cooking oil beforehand.

The buffet counter provides over a hundred items for customers to choose from. At one section, there are raw chicken and beef that are marinated with various seasonings. Examples are Satay Chicken, Teriyaki Chicken and Marinated Spicy Bulgogi Beef. My personal favorite is Coffee Chicken due to its sweet-savory appeal.
There are also processed food such as meatballs, crab sticks and sausages. Honestly, I usually skip these items as I prefer to go for fresh meat instead.
Meanwhile, another section of the buffet counter is filled with a variety of vegetables and mushrooms. These items help to make the soup sweeter over time.
There are nearly a dozen dipping sauces for customers to enjoy. Korean Chili Sauce is a popular one.
Another section of the buffet counter has a number of pickles including pickled mango and pickled nutmeg.
Seoul Garden gives each outlet a certain degree of liberty in its menu and pricing. The Auto-City outlet intends to offer more premium food choices at marginally higher prices. For instance, there is a section dedicated for fresh seafood such as salmon, mussels, shrimps, scallops, clams, razor clams and squid.
Crayfish is also available. While there is not much meat underneath the shell, crayfish helps to improve savoriness of the soup.
The presence of mantis shrimps is a welcoming sight. Not many restaurants are willing to include mantis shrimps in their buffet menu due to higher cost involved.
Blue crabs, also known as flower crabs, are also available here. There is not much meat within the carapace nor the claws. Like crayfish, I think crabs are better suited in enhancing steamboat soup than anything else.
While waiting for the soup to boil, customers can help themselves to a handful of cooked dishes like fried noodle and fried rice. These dishes make liberal use of shrimps. I do not see such premium ingredients in other Seoul Garden outlets so far.
To provide even greater value for money, the Auto-City outlet also includes stir-fried crabs. The crabs are cooked with soy sauce, sweet sauce and chili peppers. The aroma is delightful when the crabs are hot from the wok.
Unlike outlets in shopping malls, the Auto-City restaurant has an outdoor section where live action cooking is possible. Interestingly, grilled meat such as lamb chops and chicken satay are available. There are also deep-fried items like fried durians and mushroom tempura.
Moving on to desserts, a refrigerator provides several types of mousse and sponge cakes. I particularly like the Tiramisu and Chocolate Mousse.
Chocolate fountains are usually reserved for upscale restaurants due to their high operating cost. Therefore, it is a pleasant surprise to find one at Auto-City's Seoul Garden.
The adult price for buffet at this outlet is RM40.60 for lunch and RM47.60 for dinner. Child price is roughly half of that. Soup is separately charged at RM4.60 per table and includes unlimited refills. Drinks are not included in the buffet price too, and is priced at RM4.60 per person (for free flow).
Frequent customers should seriously consider applying for membership. Annual membership costs RM25.00, but with two RM20.00 vouchers to start with, you recoup the membership cost almost immediately. Members enjoy discounted prices every day except on public holidays and the eves. There is also birthday discount that is exclusive to members only.

Name: Seoul Garden
Address: 1831-G1, Jalan Perusahaan, Auto-City, 13600 Juru, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-501-9339
Business hours: 11:30am-10:30pm
Coordinates: 5.33709 N, 100.42896 E
Directions: From the North-South Expressway, take the Bukit Mertajam exit and head west. Turn right at the end of the road, and then take the next left turn to arrive at Auto-City. Seoul Garden is located between Soho Country House and 23 Takehana. There are plenty of parking spaces throughout Auto-City.

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