Outside of the amazing delectable local Vietnamese cuisine, there’s also something more for foodies. In this post, I’d like to introduce a Korean food restaurant chain in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh cities. Dookki buffet is originally from Korea and the brand has come and penetrated the market widely in the two biggest cities of Vietnam.
My first time at Dookki was in Korea and I was happy to find out that it’s also available here! I think it’ll be a fun and interesting buffet experience for Korean food for anyone. So check out what’s it about and how you can enjoy it!
Korean Food - Topokki
Topokki or tteokbokki is a famous national snack food in Korea. Tteok is made of rice flour and in English, it’s called rice cake. Tteokbokki is a stir-fried or stewed dish with tteok, fish cake and veggies. Typically, it’s the one favourite dish every student loves to have after class. So it’s very common and almost with no exception, there’s a tteokbokki food stall or shop in front of all schools in Korea. As a Korean, everyone grows up with tteokbokki and I consider this dish my childhood dish.
But the popularity of tteokbokki goes beyond school kids and it’s a national dish loved by grown ups too. In the past, it was more a street food sold in individual shops and stalls. However, it has become a huge industry with many brands specialising in tteokbokki with different flavours and variations. If I think about how many tteokbokki brands exist nowadays, it’s pretty mind-blowing.
Dookki Buffet is one of the restaurant brands quite famous in Korea. I can recall its first debut was quite sensational because it was the first one to offer a buffet concept for this dish. With a large selection of tteok, side ingredients and a variety of sauces all for the diners to mix and match to their liking. Dookki Buffet is a fun dining experience for many to try Korean food in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh.
As Vietnamese people, especially young Vietnamese are quite fond of Korean culture and cuisine, Dookki has come to Vietnam. So I have been to this restaurant several times in Hanoi for my Korean food from time to time!
Dookki Buffet Concept
The basic concept of Dookki Buffet is that you can enjoy the all-you-can-eat buffet for 90 minutes. Since it’s an unlimited buffet during the time limit, one extra rule is that you might be charged with a fee if you have too much leftovers. I believe this is just to ask their customers not to be too excessive. I cannot tell what ‘standard’ they use to judge whether or not to charge someone for that. But I think it helps me to be cautious and conscious not to waste.
Each table is set up with an induction and bowls for you to go and pick your own ingredients. The basic broth is provided for you to cook your tteokbokki. Don’t worry too much about the details of the concept, because the staff will instruct you how it works. Then you’ll be good to go and explore the buffet!
Buffets of Ingredients
I remember being surprised with the large buffet of ingredients at Dookki Buffet during my first visit. There are at least 5 – 6 different types of tteok. From tteok with cheese to plain ones in various shapes like long sticks and even heart shapes. Also, there are lots of fresh greens and fish cake, which are both main ingredients for a proper tteokbokki.
But I also noticed that there are some vegetables such as pokchoi and clams, that aren’t commonly used for tteokbokki in Korea. So it’s also fun to have this Korean food as a fusion with Vietnamese ingredients.
Also the main highlight of Dookki Buffet is the variety of sauces. It goes beyond the typical and traditional tteokbokki sauce and offers different options such as cream sauce and curry sauce. I find it super useful to read the guideline by the sauce station with popular sauce ratios. So of course, you can be free to choose and mix the sauces to your liking. But you can follow the given formulas to try the ‘proven’ ratios.
Other side dishes and perks
What I also like about Dookki is that they have quite a good selection of side dishes. From fried chicken to salads, the side buffet alone is quite worth the price. And in the buffet, soft drinks are also included. So you can take the cup from your table and go serve your self with whatever drink you like.
What’s more is the instant noodle station! I was purely stunned when I first saw this in Vietnam. There is a a good range of Korean instant noodles and a cooking station for you to cook the noodles. How awesome! My personal suggestion would be to try the black noodle because it’s just yummmm!
DIY Cooking Tteokbokki
After going around the buffet and having filled your bowl with whatever ingredients you like, you can now sit down and begin to cook. In fact, there’s no ‘real’ cooking to do. The basic broth is provided and poured into the pot and all you have to do is add your ingredients and wait for them to be cooked.
I really think it’s a fantastic Korean food experience for anyone, including me! I have taken my foreign friends to Dookki Buffet and they all loved it as much as I did.
Perhaps, you’re not familiar with Korean food or tteokbokki, but if you’re in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh, Dookki Buffet is quite a cool place for you to try it for the first time!