Offers to teach others about Korean food were made on Midtown Lunch so of course I jumped at the opportunity. More specifically, Korean-Chinese food, which includes jjajjungmyun, a dish with which I’m fairly familiar, having eaten it since high school. But my favorite place had long ago closed, and it would be nice to find a new place… Hyo Dong Gak was chosen and we rolled 15 strong into this place.
Pickled daikon radish and raw onion slices for your munching pleasure.
Kimchi and sweet bean sauce.
Esther and MM told me that the way they usually ate at these places was to order a bunch of dishes, family style, everyone eats, and then finishes off with jjajungmyun (a black bean paste noodle dish) or jjampong. So our first dish was a sort of sweet/spicy fried shrimp dish. I don’t normally eat shrimp that much (after spending 4 summers working at a seafood bar, I have eaten three lifetimes worth of shrimp), but I tried it, and was pleasantly surprised to find how crisp the fried shrimp was underneath the slightly sweet, slightly spicy (VERY slightly) sauce. My Korean dining guides complained that it wasn’t spicy enough, but honestly, it was perfect for me 🙂
My first plate; half of a white-flour-bread thing (in Chinese cuisine, it’s called a mantou and generally is made with just flour and water; it’s what the peasants ate in old China, and usually was eaten with a very bare bit of meat or veggies and sauce of some sort), a crispy shrimp, and meat jhapchae (glass noodles with lots of veggies).
Similar to the shrimp, though this was slightly more spicy – chicken in the same goopy sauce. It was pretty good… but I liked the shrimp dish more. (This is not the entire platter – the entire platter was sized more like the shrimp one, this is just what was left after the plate had made the rounds and we reserved some for a friend who was running late.)
A big bowlful of meatier jjajjungmyun sauce!
You can order two styles of jjajjungmyun; this is the meatier version which arrives with the sauce separate from the noodles, then you mix them yourself.
I opted to split the regular jjajjungmyun with TT since we were both getting full from all the previous dishes we’d eaten.
After I was done mixing and had taken half into a smaller bowl, Nommables buddy had mentioned wanting to mix his with fried rice, so I took some of the communal fried rice and did so myself. Which was extremely difficult to eat without getting all over myself – the rice would pick up the sauce and then fly everywhere (because I have intense issues eating with chopsticks). And it didn’t add too much to the dish to do so, anyway.
As for the jjajjungmyun, it was good, but not amazing. Chewy strands of noodles coated in a pretty good sauce, I was satiated, but not blown away. Solidly good.
Yvo says: Because I’ve now been there and I don’t usually walk into random places to order jjajjungmyun, I can see Hyo Dong Gak becoming my go-to place for jjajjungmyun. I also really liked the shrimp dish, and I’ve already mentioned to a few people that I want to go back with them to try more dishes, or at least introduce them to the things I’ve already tried…