Wow, I cannot remember when I was last so disappointed in a dining experience.
I was excited to try Pojang Macha because I liked what I had heard about their "street food" concept. We enjoy Korean food, and we had fond memories of the tarp-covered street kitchens from a previous trip to Korea. We also had a visitor in from out of town, and thought this would be a fun and different outing.
Our first hint should have been that there was not a single soul in the place when we arrived.
Our second hint should have been that the bubbling vats of goodness that had been described by others online were nowhere to be seen.
Our third hint should have been that, when we tried to order food, the solitary staff member simply informed us that this was a place "for drinking". After a pause while we absorbed this, we eventually managed to ask "do you mean that we can't order food?" The staff member finally indicated that it was possible, but in a tone of "well, you can if you want to but I'm not sure why you would want to do that."
Our fourth hint kicked in when the set meal that was ordered (bulgogi, rice, soup, pop) came to the table alone. When we asked the staff member about the soup and pop, he seemed perplexed and/or put out. When pressed, he eventually acquiesced the pop, but completely evaded any notion of the soup.
Our fifth hint was much like the fourth hint. The combo that we ordered arrived. The combos are listed as including unlimited banchans, but the staff member chose to pretend he had no idea that this was the case. Throughout the meal, not a single banchan was produced. Not even anything as simple as kim chi. Now, I had heard other reviewers mentioning that they were disappointed with the quality of the banchans at Pojang Macha, but I had not heard anyone mention that they never received any.
Not surprisingly, by the time all these hints had sunk in, the meal had taken on a tone of "wow, this is so bad that it is a bonding experience".
The overall feeling was that it felt as though the staff member had wandered in off the street, or never been let out of the kitchen before. He seemed to have very little idea how to interact with customers, no awareness of what was available on the menu, and no interest in providing any of it if asked directly.
After all that, how was the food we did receive? In a word, mediocre. The bulgogi looked lifeless, but was pronounced "kind of okay". The grilled pork belly with green onion salad was "okay". The pork was a bit chewy and not especially browned. The dish was a $19.95 dish, and for that either the quality or the quantity needs to step up. The haemul pajeon was edible, but too starchy, probably the worst one I have had in Vancouver. The kimchi jeon was actually reasonably tasty.
In all, I was extremely embarrassed to have brought an out of town visitor to this complete fiasco, when there are so many Korean restaurants in town with good food and good service.