Namu Korean Sushi


TO SAVE face when leaving the Taiwan Chicken Chop Happy Hot Pot tonight I find it best to do so backwards, bowing repeatedly at the bemused staff who for some moments have had to deal with me insisting gently but completely madly that they are in fact Namu Korean Restaurant.

I had become convinced of this because a) I followed Google Maps up and down, round and round and inch by inch right up to their counter b) cunningly restaurants change their names regularly nowadays and staff are often the last to know and c) because I clearly saw the huge Chinese characters on the huge sign outside the Chop Happy and assumed, obviously, that they were Korean characters.

In fact, and as everyone in Glasgow’s west end already knows, the two are not in the least similar. And when I finally emerge onto Dumbarton Road cursing Larry Page and turn around and look across it? I see not only that Namu is right over there – but the name is written in bloody English anyway.

Fast forward at say 16x speed; past the bit where I wait patiently for the Korean people to order their tea to take-out, past the bit where I am staring at the opening hours (completely in Korean) failing to work out which day Namu is closed, past the bit even where the smiley woman behind the counter is explaining to me that there really is no point in ordering two rice dishes for one person, even a fat one, because they will taste pretty much the same – and on to the bit where I squeeze up to a bench table at the window.

Here, as people chatter away around me in various languages and I stare out at the passersby filling the evening pavement, I think, genuinely, what a wonderfully interesting and exciting cosmopolitan country Scotland has become.

By now Namu, which is no larger than a shoe, has filled to elbow-nudging-full with young people eating from the same variety of creaking, snapping polystyrene receptacles that I will very soon be clumsily prising open with a plastic spoon, until I find the chopsticks. I don’t need the chopsticks for the two very large fish cake and rice skewers which I will polish off while remaining completely and blissfully unaware which of the two alternately skewered and lightly fried objects, either brown rectangle or pale wotsit shape, is the fish and which is the rice. They’re in a jammy sweet and spicy sauce, freckled with sesame and are pretty good.

Onwards to the next container where a dozen Korean sushi repose in regimented splendour, each neatly stuffed with tight little bundles of carrot, cucumber, omelette, rice, that barbecue beef, and is that a crab stick? These are light, fresh (I watched them being made) and at about £6 for the lot great value.

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Korean chicken bites are very like Chinese chicken balls but come with more of that jammy, spicy sauce while the Soy Sauce Chicken rice bowl (just the one) contains a couple of breaded, fried fillets cross-chopped, draped on boiled rice, arranged beside broccoli spears and drenched in a salty tangy soy dressing.

I can't help returning to the sushi which I only ordered to taste one or two, but the best and most flavoursome dish of the night, which comes in a completely clear lidded plastic bowl, is the spicy beef noodles. When ordering this I was cautioned about the heat but I don’t find that dominant at all. Again, along with slivers of carrot, cucumber, onion, pepper and mushroom, there is a healthy sufficiency of thinly sliced meat, a Sargasso sea of noodles beneath, a crunchy, crusty spoonful of some type of smokey chilli paste and then – bosh – the whole thing swings together smoothly and sweetly through the sesame oil that pervades it all. I really like this.

I like Namu too. Simple, cheap and as everyone in America already knows: Korean is the next big thing.

Namu Korean Sushi

143A Dumbarton Road


07577 190030

Menu: Kimbaps, bibimaps, rice bowls and Korean Chicken. Korean street food is the next big thing. 4/5

Service: Order at the counter. Smiley, friendly and all language barriers traversed with smiles and gestures. 4/5

Atmosphere: It’s the size of a shoe with a couple of bench tables and stools, but smells good and lots of young cool Korean customers give it a buzz. 4/5

Price: Pretty damn cheap, the most expensive thing on the menu is £7, while their homemade kimchi is £1.50 – a lesson to Scots chefs, a few of whom are knocking it out badly and expensively. 5/5

Food: Light, simple and generally very fresh tasting. The Korean sushi is worth a whirl, I liked the spicy beef noodles. 7/10