Pocha Korean Food
Pocha serves Korean fast food to a K-pop soundtrack in Eixample. It’s popular enough to have a small cluster of people outside before the shutters go up. They all have reservations. Luckily since walk in’s are turned away. I have eaten at a few Korean places in Barcelona, but most feel quite old fashioned and half-hearted. Pochu is dynamic; it’s punchy and young, as are the customers.
It’s a small place. Long and thin. Descending via steps and ramps to an eventual basement space. And since there is no denying it is a basement space, Pocha goes with it. Painting the walls dark, adding corrugated aluminium panels and neon lights. Making it feel like a nighttime bar even with the sun shining outside.
Asian pop tunes are on the speaker. Byulnim is behind the bar, pouring drinks, fielding incoming calls via one white earbud and taking requests via the unencumbered ear. She has on a lemon yellow sweater and quick movements.
Byulnim has put together the visual menu that comes up when I scan the menu barcode.
“What should we order?” I ask.
Unhesitatingly she sets us up quickly. Japchae (9.5), Yangnum Chicken (12), Anchoa (4.9), Kimchi Jeon (8).
Japchae is familiar to me, something I make at home now and then. Slippery mung bean noodles, generous with sesame oil and vegetables. The kimchi pancake, too – a favourite snack. Although I make mine with rice flour and no egg while the one at Pochu is with regular flour. It’s much crispier and better than mine – no surprise there. Byulnim suggests we have it with Makkoli, a Korean rice wine.
“It goes so well with the kimchi pancake. My favourite combination on a rainy day.”
Byulnim brings the small white can over and pours the drink into brass cups with a wide mouth and a handle like a pan. The Makkoli is milky white and effervescent. (Great article on Makgeolli here) The food is salty and a little spicy, the rice wine is mellow and sweet, making it the perfect accompaniment.
The Korean style nigiri with minced anchovy is a new dish for me. The Spanish anchovy is minced with Korean condiments and topped with spring onion. It’s a clever marriage of Korean and local. And probably my favourite dish of the meal.
Though I do enjoy the chestnut mousse that we order for dessert. Mildly sweet with small nuggets of chestnut throughout.
It’s a transportive meal. Not that I have been to Korea, but something along these lines seems possible. And travelling via food is what I crave most these days.
Pochu Korean Food Restaurant
C/ Provença 224