San Dong Banjeom
#14 3803 26th Ave SW
Went out to dinner with some 'spooners after work last Friday (Urbanspooners that is). I was a little nervous about meeting a group of random people at first. For those who actually know me, I'm a little (Read: REALLY) shy. Definitely glad I did though. Everyone was really cool and definitely very knowledgable on different types of cuisines and culinary things. And then there was me. Yay for food!
San Dong Banjeom is not what you'd expect at a Korean restaurant. There's no bbq (sad face), no seafood hot pot (double sad face), bibimbap (more sad face). I later found out that it was Korean inspired Chinese food. Fusion, if you will. In the grand scheme, it was pretty good. Score to come later (Or you can scroll to the bottom if you can't bear the suspense).
So anyway, each person ordered one dish to share. I quickly skimmed through the menu and declared that my pick was number 51. Not sure if this has happened to any of you, but whenever I'm slow to choose a dish to share, all the good ones that I want get picked and I'm stuck with lame choices like steamed vegetables and something. Number 51 was beef with 5 kinds of spices. Check it. There was much debate when it arrived (first) as to what part of the cow it came from. There was some talk of organs but I'm pretty sure it's beef shank. My mom makes this all the time. I should know. Not with 5 spices though. Well... maybe. It's kind of in the sauce. Anyway, the 5 spices consisted of garlic, jalapeno, fish sauce, white scallion and some sort of chilli oil drizzled on top. The meat was propped up with chopped cucumbers underneath. It was a cold plate, not really what I had expected, but pretty decent.
Next to arrive was this fried pork strips(?) dish. Unfortunately I was not able to snap a photo of it in its undisturbed state as the waitress took a giant scope of it to split it onto a second plate. You will have to rely on my vague descriptions. Quarter inch wide slices of pork were fried like chicken strips and served with some stir-fry veggies. It was one of my favourite dishes of the night.
Next up was the japchae which is a stir-fry with various vegetables and cellophane noodles. Taste wise, it was decent but I thought it was a little watery.
Food began piling up as we were not able to keep up. At one point, I was holding on to a plate while I ate, with additional plates on the bench beside me. Next to arrive was a chicken dish. Nothing too spectacular.
The deep fried prawns with mayo sauce arrived next. Decent. Best part: The shell at the tail was removed. Ever had tempura shrimp with the tail not removed? (Of course you have, it's never removed) It's as annoying as hell. Precious batter wasted! Not the case here. Not particularly known for their use of mayo, this may be the least Korean/Chinese dish of the night.
After much anticipation, the chicken with yurin sauce arrived. It was definitely the butt of many jokes of the night. I tried looking up yurin sauce on google and wikipedia and was not able to come up with anything useful. Shout out in the comments below if you know what it is! The chicken was coated with a thin layer of batter and fried. Despite of this, it was still very tender. The dish was finished with chopped scallions and yurin sauce.
The jajangmyeon arrived shortly after. The noodles were really goopy so it was really difficult to pick up. I had to resort to the spaghetti twirl with the chop sticks. If only I had a spoon and fork, then I'd be able to impress everyone with my sweet tong skills. And for some strange reason, we got two plates worth of it... lots left over. Literally two boxes of it.
The noodle soup thing was the last to arrive. This proved to be even more difficult to pick up. Soup was splashing everywhere, it was a disaster. After struggling for 5 minutes, we opted to have the waitress distribute to 8 bowls. I was a little skeptical of the soup at first as it looked really spicy but it was actually not that spicy at all. Or I may have lost all feeling in my mouth from all the other dishes. Either way, it was pretty good.
I was definitely disappointed there was no bbq but it was pretty decent overall. 6 stars out of 10.