When Dr Yoo's Korean restaurant announced they were offering Chinese take-out I wasn't very inspired to try it. Just being honest. When restaurants decide the are going to offer something completely different than what they do in order to meet market demand, it's usually a complete train wreck I don't want to get involved in. Plus, Chinese food in Korea is often the worst. However, after a while, the word on the street was solid enough I decided to go give it a try. Peer pressure totally works on me.
My first thought when I arrived was, "I sure wish I didn't have to try to Chinese food. Their Korean food looks way more delicious. Like, super good. Why are they even bothering to offer Chinese?" Shaking off these thoughts I asked to order-in (since I am opposed to take-out in my own life). After much consideration I decided on the orange chicken and fried eggplant.
While I waited I checked out the Korean menu and realized the friend eggplant is also part of their regular menu, it's one of their specialties. I also watched delicious seafood noodle soup arrive at the tables around me and I continued to wish I was going to be eating Korean food rather than dubious Chinese.
Eventually they brought out a heaping plate of fried food and I thought, "How am I going to survive all this grease?" Then my waitress whispered in Korean, "Do you want some kimchi?" and I gratefully said yes. Which is where everything started to turn around.
When I dug into the chicken I realized it's a variation of boneless orange chicken found in Korean friend chicken restaurants, not the same but very similar. A type of fried chicken I often wish came with rice and kimchi so that it was easier to eat. Just last week I was wanting this exact meal. I mean, it's hella delicious but it needs kimchi and rice for me to survive the grease. So now I'm pretty stoked to have this secret wish realized. There will be times when I crave this.
After reviewing the "Chinese" menu in my head I realized that they did an amazing job re-envisioning things they already do well as "Chinese American" and packaging them in a way that resonates better with their foreign guests. So, they aren't doing something completely different than what they are already doing, the are doing more of the same with a twist and they are doing it well. From a marketing angle, it was a brilliant move that will work out for them. From a foodie angle, this is an excellent hearty meal that's quick and affordable.
But back to the kimchi. I love theirs. It's very subtle but added the tang and spice I needed to make the meal work. It's also a great starter kimchi for folks who aren't ready to level up. Truth be told, last night I would have been happy with just the kimchi and rice and, in the future, I'll bring my hubby here so that he can indulge in greasy delights while I eat all the noodles and kimchi.
Which is what I like most about this: it's somewhere I can go and eat Korean food with folks who might not like Korean food. They get what they want and I get what I want.
*** This listing and all other restaurants reviewed by South of Seoul can be found in the South of Seoul app which can be downloaded from Google Play and the Apple App Store. ***
Address: 98-2, Paengseongdaegyo-gil, Paengseong-eup, Pyeongtaek-si