I’ve always felt that authentic barbecue should always be done over charcoal rather than on electric, gas or a hybrid of either three options. And one place that purely barbecues their meat using charcoal is Sae Ma Eul BBQ @ Jaya One, Petaling Jaya! It’s a Korean BBQ chain that has a few outlets around KL / Selangor.
Parking is fairly easy to find, given that it’s located in a mall. Jaya One Mall has become somewhat emptier, and Cold Storage has surprisingly closed down (it closed down on 31 December 2019, but I didn’t know till recently)!
The restaurant used to be on the first floor, but has since moved to Block D nearby the main mall due to renovations. It’s an open air and street-style concept with no air conditioning (unlike the likes of Daeroe). It can get pretty stuffy on hot days (since you’d also need to bear the heat coming from the charcoal in front of you).
I have always loved how barbecued meat under charcoal gives the meat a distinct smoky and charbroiled flavour as well as its caramelised exterior. However, the downside of barbecuing under charcoal is that the burning charcoal itself produces a lot of smoke – and the smoke produced contains dangerous carcinogens that are often linked to cancer. You also can’t control the heat – this means that you need to flip and move the meat frequently on the grill. Otherwise, you’d end up with burnt meat.
The service here is mediocre, unless you are lucky enough to be served by the boss himself. It’s easy to spot which is the boss – he’s the one walking around showing the proper way to barbecue the meat.
Their side dishes are on-point. Key highlights are their kimchi and pickled cucumber.
I had their beef ribs marinated in special soy sauce (RM59) and pork ribs marinated in special soy sauce (RM31), and also added on cheese (RM13) to go with the meat. I also tried their spicy rice cake (RM25). Being asian, I also ordered white rice (RM5).
Their marinated meat was perfectly marinated, and brought up the taste of the meat after barbecuing under charcoal. The meat was also juicy and tender. It is recommended to grill the meat as a whole to ensure it keeps its tenderness and juiciness. Only cut it when it’s ready to serve.
I was pleasantly surprised by how nice their beef tasted. Usually, when going to such places, I’d make a ssam, though I’d leave out the ssamjang (not a big fan of this paste).
Ssam (쌈), or ssäm means wrapped, refers to a dish in Korean cuisine in which, usually leafy vegetables are used to wrap a piece of meat such as pork or other fillings. It is often accompnaied by a condiment, ssamjang (a thick, spicy paste) and can also be topped with raw or cooked garlic, green pepper, or a banchan (small side dish) such as kimchi. Ssam is usually bite-sized to avoid spilling out the fillings. – Wikipedia
Other things that you might be interested to try here – octopus and spicy rice ball (contains rice, seaweed and spicy paste). I’ve tried both dishes previously, and it’s pretty good. Their spicy rice ball is rather unique, it’s a do-it-yourself dish. You are given gloves to toss the rice and ingredients together and roll them into balls. Since you are the one doing it, it allows you to determine the size of the balls. You can either consume it as it is or choose to toss them into the grill. I prefer the latter.
Portions here are generous for the price. Will definitely be back for more!
80%: Price (value of money)
80%: Overall rating
6 PM – 10 PM (Fri to Weds)
(Closed on Thursdays)
Sae Ma Eul BBQ Jaya One
D-69-G, Block D, Jaya One
46200 Petaling Jaya