There are enough Korean restaurant in Vancouver. Although the ratio of Japanese restaurant to Korean restaurant is surprisingly high (it’s like 5:1). (Don’t we have tones of Korean people in Vancouver?)
Anyhow, stil I don’t think there are that many good Korean restaurants. They are all ok I guess as far as food goes. As far as service goes, many of them can definitely improve. Yeah you feel my lack of enthusiasm towards Korean restaurants in Vancouver.
Still there is one place that is very consistent in taste AND service, ChoSun BBQ.
I first encountered this restaurant in my search of the best cold noodles (in soup (물냉면) not mixed with hot sauce (비빔냉면)) in Vancouver. This is one of my favourite dishes, if not the one.
I remember the day… I went in and ordered the cold noodles in soup (Mool Naeng Myun – 물냉면). When the stainless steel bowl arrived on my table, I grabbed with my two hands and had a sip of the soup (beef broth) and said, “yup, I found my favourite cold noodle place in Vancouver.” It only took like 5 years and 10+ restaurants.
Anyways, I digress (again).
I guess others agree with my taste buds: this place seems to be pretty busy during normal peak hours. Since I hate waiting, I usually go at odd hours but sometimes, it doesn’t work out.
Last visit (maybe two weeks ago) was kind like that. We went in and there were about 3-4 parties waiting in front of us. Not bad.. because once we sat down (after 15-20 min) the front area was flooded with people.
We ordered a cold noodle in soup, fried dumplings and chicken bbq. Of course the last two items were for Dam, my partner (fried dumplings and chicken bbq are not really Korean dishes in my opinion).
One of the reasons I like Chosun BBQ is even they are super busy, their service is not too bad. For some reason, it is hard to find good services in Korean restaurant in Vancouver but Chosun BBQ does ok.
When you order BBQ dish, you get more side dishes: this day, we had six side dishes.
(from top left – clockwise) Kimchi, sauteed potatoes, pickled radish, potatoes in sweet sauce, broccoli with hot sauce and salad.
Their side dishes are not too bad but I had better kimchis elsewhere for sure (I like JangMoJib kimchi).
I don’t know what it is but I just LOVE cold noodles. And somehow, not all restaurants can do this dish very well. It seems so simple yet hard to master? I guess it’s just one of those dishes. I also find this dish is hard one for me to convince my non-Korean friends to try. I have never been too successful getting any of them agree how wonderful this dish is but then convincing them to try it has been difficult enough.
Well I guess chewy noodles in cold beef broth does not really appeal to people. I am ok with that. More cold noodles for me. 🙂
But if you are not Korean but ever get brave enough to try this, I urge you to add some vinegar and Korean spicy mustard. Addition of these items will enhance the flavour of the noodles.
Ok enough about the noodles.
Other items that we got were pretty good as well.
The fried dumplings are ok: actually they got better than previous times. But still there are many other places where you can get better Korean style dumplings (like Myung Dong Khal Kook Soo and Jang Mo Jib… etc).
Chicken bbq was ok as well. Dam seems to enjoy it. But I have certain reservation about Korean style chicken bbq. We just don’t do much of grilling chicken. I don’t know why but we just don’t. I think most Korean restaurants in town serve chicken bbqs because chicken is a popular meat.
Once I finished my noodles, I was one happy customer.
The total bill was around $35. It’s ok I guess.
Notably, they have great lunch combos. I think the value of them is pretty good for $10. You can get noodles or hotpot dishes with a bit of bbq (although not the bbq meat you can get) for $10. Not bad.
One thing that I wish the management would improve is how cold it gets in there. I know it’s winter and all but common, I can’t be eating my cold noodles if it is that cold inside the restaurant. And that many people waiting in the small front area means many people are opening the doors.
I guess my humble suggestion would be either install a double door, or improve heating system?
Anyways… still this is one of my favourite places to eat in Vancouver. But I still ponder, why there is NO Korean restaurant that serve really good food and have exceptional services in Vancouver. If anyone can nominate one, please let me know.
- Taste: 4/5 (for the cold noodles 4.5/5)
- Value:3/5 (could be cheaper I guess though aligned with other Korean restaurants)
- Convenience: 4/5
- Atmosphere: 3.5/5
- Staff: Could be more attentive but still much better than other Korean restaurants
- Overall: 4/5 if you are Korean and haven’t had a good 물냉면 definitely go. Otherwise, still go because they have good bbq and better services.