You Gonna Eat All That?

A fork in one hand, a pen in the other.

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Location: Virginia, United States

(Biscuit Girl)

Friday, March 25, 2005

Adventures in Korean dining

After eating at home all week, we decided to go out for dinner tonight. We couldn't decide where to go until we both got home from work. Biscuit Boy finally decided for us, we would go to A&J's. I mentioned them in my last post. It's the nummy Chinese place where we can feast on the cheap. So we pointed the car westward and off we went.

While we were driving we remembered this little Korean place that was just before A&J's. We've been curious about it for the longest time but never tried it. We talked about trying it several times but always decided to wait til another time. Tonight was that time.

There is no English on the outside of the building except for "24 hours." Ok.....we knew it was a Korean restaurant that was open 24 hours a day, interest was piqued. A little searching on the Internet yielded a little tidbit of information. Tyler Cowen, a local economics professor at George Mason University is a true foodie. He's compiled an extensive list of restaurants in the DC Metro area organized by country. You can check it out here: Tyler Cowen's Ethnic Dining Guide. He's usually spot on and we've discovered several places thanks to the list.

But anyway, back to the restaurant. It's called
Sun-dal Chung. It's very small with only 11 (maybe 12) tables in the place. The limited menu was printed on the paper placemats. far so good. The menu options were written in Korean (of course) with an English translation that didn't quite match the common names we were familiar with. Thankfully we figured out what the items were when the waitress came by for our orders. In fact, I think it earned us a few Korean brownie points when we ordered using the familiar names. I ordered the duk mandoo guk, a beef dumpling and rice cake soup. It comes with strips of egg, green onion and seaweed floating on top of it. Biscuit Boy got the Seolleong-tang (so-long-tonge), a soup made from stewed beef bones served with sliced beef and thin noodles. And as with most Korean restaurants an assortment of panchan arrived at the table as well. There was kimchi, mung bean sprouts seasoned with garlic, shredded fish cake with sesame oil, sliced pickled eggplant and little squares of fried tofu.

Everything was very good. The soups came out blistering hot so we nibbled on the panchan while they cooled a little. The kimchi was fairly spicy but could have been kicked up a notch or two, the bean sprouts were nice and crunchy with a garlicky tang. The fish cake was my favorite. Thin strips tossed with green onion, sesame oil and some other unidentified spices. The fried tofu was nice, little squares with (I think) a touch of soy sauce and green onions. My least favorite was the eggplant. It had a funky taste. I left those for Biscuit Boy.

Our soups were excellent. Mine (the Duk mandoo guk) had a nice light beef bone based broth, about 6 dumplings, rice cakes, shredded egg, green onion and seaweed. It came in an enormous bowl. I did well to get 2/3 of it eaten. The
Seolleong-tang had a rich beef bone broth, lots of slices of beef and a little nest of noodles lying below the surface. After Biscuit Boy seasoned it with salt and pepper he dumped in a little bowl of rice, stirred it up and tucked in. He came up for air after a few minutes and pronounced the soup to be good. We watched as other things came out of the kitchen for nearby tables, made a few mental notes and said we'd have to come back soon. And I'll bring the camera.

Our tab was barely over $17. Good eats done cheap.

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