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Monday, May 10, 2010
korean: i strongly recommend KYUNG JU KOREAN RESTAURANT
KYUNG JU KOREAN RESTAURANT
(or CHING ZHOU GUAN in Chinese)
No. 62, 1st Fl-2, Fuxing N. Rd
MRT: Nanjing East Road
hours: 11 AM – 2 PM； 5 PM – 9:30PM
Kid friendliness: high chairs available
Visit reviewed: 4/20/2010
I'm sure everyone has heard that sometimes when one doors closes, another opens. In this case, when I revisited Happy Korean, I was sad to discover that it no longer had all the dishes that made it a favorite when they changed owners (and I know I'm not alone). I was pretty upset for awhile, but on the hunt for a new Korean restaurant. Thankfully reader Justine shared a restaurant that she had a authentic meal at for me to try out.
Kyung Ju Korean Restaurant (or Ching Zhou Guan in Chinese) offers a wide array of korean bbq, soups, noodles and stir-fried blood red spicy dishes.
The menu is extremely tourist friendly with a photo for every dish and English, Chinese, Korean AND Japanese! We were very excited to see that the cold noodle soup was on the menu, but it wasn't available yet- probably sometime in June.
A good mix of about six panchan comes fairly quickly to the table and is refilled for free- my favorites include the crispy broccoli, the spicy fishcake slices and refreshing bean sprouts and seaweed.
The galbi or bbq ox rib was grilled for us inside and tender with a chewiness and familiar sweet marinade. Dip it in the bean paste sauce and wrap in a lettuce leaf- I remember the first time I did that in Pusan, I thought it was strange, but it's perfect for those avoiding carbs. You can opt to also grill it yourself as there is a area to grill on each table.
You can also add a slice of raw garlic or kimchi, but I just pile on the meat!
The Seafood spring onion pancake (NT$280) is perfectly crispy, not too thick or thin and devoured so quickly by our table that we order another.
Each dish, like the traditional Korean stone pot rice is presented to table and then the server mixes and it for us to divvy up. One bowl could be enough for one person's lunch, or for us, we are sharing a little bit of everything. What's funny is that the server checks with me, asking if I got the picture before he takes it away to stir (and every other dish to follow). He knows that a good picture is worth a
It's a solid dish with lots of veggies and a healthy dose of gojujang, the red pepper sauce that is spicy and sweet, and brown crispy bits of rice.
We had about six hungry people at our table and I think went a little crazy ordering. Dishes that I'd definitely skip next time are the stir fried squid and the spicy broiled rice cake with chilly sauce (their typo, not mine. haha) - the squid was soft instead of chewy and the rice cake was a bit heavy.
Instead get the tofu stew or the kimchi pot stew (NT$200) which has vegetables and vermicelli inside.
Thankfully I was not disappointed by the Bibin cold noodle (NT$220) which was hiding underneath a layer of chopped lettuce, which gave it a nice touch of salad and texture.
The slippery noodles had just the right bite and was more sweet than spicy, despite the threatening red color. I went back for seconds and thirds.
The cold noodle was one of the favorite dishes among the group, while the Soybean paste noodles was left mostly uneaten. Maybe everyone was full as it was one of the last dishes to arrive, but a few people commented the noodles were too soft.
The Korean version of jia jiang mian is quite different from the Chinese version- the sauce is usually thicker, saltier and darker (from the addition of roasted soybeans sauce). It's a cool option for those looking to try something different, but I'm sticking to the naengmyeon.
The owners of Kyung Ju Korean Restaurant have been running their restaurant here in Taiwan for over 30 years, but this is the first time I had heard of it. You can't miss the wall of photos of famous people who've eaten there, including President Ma, near the entrance, but even more evidence to their popularity is that the restaurant was fairly full at weekday lunchtime both times I went. If you're desparate for parking, you can check with them as they have a few spots available in front of their back entrance in the lane behind Fuxing.
The meal ends with a small black dessert for each person wrapped in a bright green plastic leaf, which is a denser, jelly-ish version of the rice cake that I'm used to.
The restaurant has a casual atmosphere and is perfect for large groups, especially with a second floor of seating. I'll definitely be back for the cold noodle soup. If you're reading, thanks Justine!
Any other Korean places I gotta try? Let me know!