Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sick of Jajangmyon? Get some real Chinese food in Seoul.

Are you sick of of the typical jajangmyon and tangsuyuk that Koreans call Chinese food? It's time you checked out This dongbei (northeast) style Chinese restaurant called 동북화과왕-Dongbuk-hwagwa-wang (written in Chinese characters) in the Dongdaemun station area. This rather popular hole in the wall has some great selections. We usually just pick randomly off the menu (though there's a few we always get) and we've never been disappointed. We went with a big group on Saturday night after Korean class to celebrate the end of the semester and picked a fairly wide selection of plates to try, some tried and true favorites and some new things.

Panchan (side dishes) are a mix of Korean style and Chinese. Koreans wouldn't be happy if their meal didn't come with kimchi. 

This dish is one of my personal favorites. Di san xian, an eggplant and veggies fried in a delicious sauce.

Perhaps this is what tangsuyuk was trying to imitate. Guo Bao Rou, seems to be some sort of sweet and sour pork. 12,000 won. In any country, it's not my favorite. 

This is the boyfriend's personal favorite. Jing jiang rou si,  pork with green onions and cilantro for a do-it-yourself wrap in tofu. 12,000 won. Here's how it works:

Choose what you want to eat and put it onto the tofu wrapper.

Wrap tightly and enjoy!  (you probably could have figured that out without my help...)

Here's a tasty dish. It's fried bok choy, I believe (feel free to correct me, my Chinese food experts out there) with a garlic (?) sauce.

Si quan sha (this pinyin is wrong but I can't find the right one) is fried shrimp in a slightly spicy/tangy sauce. Quite delicious. 20,000 won

Also, not pictured here is our fried rice, which was nothing special, just your typical fried rice and our spicy tofu that we got "service-uh" (aka, for free).

And what authentic Chinese meal would be complete without some authentic Chinese hard liquor? It seems as though the Chinese go for something not so tame as soju (and I say tame because of its 20% alcohol content verses the 40% this one has). While I'll never be a fan of straight hard liquor, I must say, this has much more flavor than soju... though it also burns a lot more than soju going down too.

For anyone craving real Chinese food in Seoul, this is the place to go. It's rather austere setting and decor is another draw for me. I feel this place cares more about the food than the ambiance which means they're not overcharging you for some fancy-shmancy place. We ate all this food and liquor and got out for 10,000 won per person, which I think is quite a feat.

To get here, go out Dongdaemun Station (not Dongdaemun Culture and History Park Station) exit 6. Take your first left and then the next left onto an alley with lots of restaurants. It will be on your right before the Family Mart. It's less than 2 mins from the exit. There is no English or Korean on the sign, only Chinese characters, so you'll have to just keep your eyes open for the sign that says 24시 2F and a big red sign in Chinese (see photo at the top). The menu has lots of photos to help you decide what to eat if you don't know your Chinese food. Here is their website, but they have two locations so their directions are a little confusing.


  1. Wow! 10,000 per head including a drink--gotta find this place! You're right about the bok choi, except I think it's sauteed rather than fried ....

    Chinese food so is various and almost always so delicious, I know I'll make at least one more trip there before I leave Asia. Mainly for the food!

  2. Ha, that's awesome... looks delicious!

    yeah we think Soju basically tastes like baijiu light (白酒 is literally RICE WINE, whereas 烧酒,soju, is distilled spirits from maize, I believe )

    I know it's bad form to drink Soju and Chinese food, but some of that Baijiu is way too strong for casual eating... The last time I had some in a very nice dinner in Beijing, one of the staff members was going on about how expensive the Baijiu was. In other words, there is actually expensive baijiu that tastes pretty good :P 원샷!