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Sonamu – My favorite Korean restaurant in Dubai

by Sanne
Sonamu, Korean restaurant in Dubai

Last week Poul and I were invited to come by for dinner at Sonamu, which is the Korean restaurant inside Asiana hotel in Deira. Sonamu is an old favorite of mine, and if you have read my blog for a while, you know that this is the place I always go for Korean bbq with my fellow real and fake (other adoptees) Koreans:)

Previously, Sonamu only did bbq nights on Tuesdays and Saturdays, but they have changed that, so now you can get their popular all-you-can-eat bbq set menu every night. Finally! I know a lot of people including me have been waiting for this, as it makes it a lot easier to arrange a K-bbq night out.

We tried the new starters, fried tofu salad and vegetable tuigim (Korean tempura), that comes with the bbq set menu. They were both tasty, though I must admit I miss the fresh onion salad they used to serve. Will ask if I can get that recipe. We also tried the selection of delicious sashimi, and a beautiful starter with prawns, scallops and asparagus (not part of the set menu), before it was time to fire up the grill. While other Korean restaurants serve different kinds of Korean bbq dishes, Sonamu is the only Korean restaurant in Dubai (as far as I am concerned), that lets you grill the meat yourself at the table. After watching the meat sizzle on the grill, you then wrap it in lettuce, add some of the sauces (they have added a delicious chimichurri to the sauce variants, which are served with the bbq), and eat. It’s delicious!

For dessert we got the signature Sonamu chocolate volcano. Not sure if they would call it their signature cake, but they have served that cake for dessert with the bbq set menu ever since I started coming there. Together with ice cream it is impossible to say no to, even if you are on the verge of food coma after the bbq.

We also tried the mango bingsu made with Sonamu’s new bingsu machine, and it was super delicious. And what is bingsu? It is a Korean dessert that some would say is similar to shaved ice, but that would be a shame. Good bingsu is like finely powdered snow that feels incredibly soft and fluffy in your mouth for that split second before it melts on your tongue. Bingsu is traditionally eaten with red bean paste, but today’s variants include all you could possibly think of, such as matcha, cereals and different kinds of fresh fruit and berries. I have had bingsu many times before, and I love it, but it was the first time for Poul to try it. Verdict? He liked it so much, he wold go back, just for the bingsu.

Sonamu’s executive chef and Korean national, James Kang, came to our table for a talk, and he told us so many interesting things that I almost burned the meat on the grill, as I was too busy listening to him. Chef Kang has been with Sonamu ever since they opened, and he told us that before he moved to Dubai to work for Sonamu, he used to work for the restaurant at Grand Hyatt Incheon and the airport in Seoul. Turned out that Poul and I had actually been to that restaurants, and had a really nice dinner, while Chef Kang was working there:)

Chef Kang also told us that Sonamu was originally called Gayeon (means fun, good spirit in Korean), but it was a difficult name to remember and to pronounce for non-Koreans. One day when they were working on the Korean pine wood decor for the restaurant, Chef Kang asked “why not call the restaurant Sonamu instead?” (sonamu means pine tree in Korean). The management agreed, and that is how the restaurant got its name:)


Sonamu, Asiana Hotel, Salahuddin Road, Deira, Dubai

Unlimited Korean BBQ every day from 6pm-11pm. 189AED (food only), 349AED incl. soft drinks + house beverages (July 2021)

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