Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mini Dish: Koreana Kitchen II

Feasting on Kim Chi for Lunch
3288 Pierce St., Richmond
Inside the Pacific East Mall
PH: 510.528.8864
Open for lunch and dinner
No reservations, credit cards accepted

Whenever I can get my hands on a car, I undoubtedly make the trek up I-80 to Ranch 99 Market to pick up some Asian groceries. On one of these rare shopping trips, I was lured by the bento lunch specials at Koreana Kitchen II.

Koreana Kitchen looks like a contemporary Asian spot, with colorful photography on the walls and bamboo d├ęcor. It’s primarily Korean food but like other Asian restaurants at the Pacific East Mall, there are blending of the lines to grab as many customers as they can. Thus the bento lunches, which is really a Japanese thing.

The bentos actually didn’t sound too enticing: just your choice of meat, kim chi, rice and salad. But my eyes did catch the combo special, which includes your choice of meat and a bowl of soon, the Korean soft tofu soup. So that’s what I order, the seafood soon with BBQ chicken.

Of course, before my food arrived I got a nice selection of panchan, the free nibbles laid out before you. Even for lunch and for a solo diner, Koreana Kitchen laid out an impressive six plates of spicy potatoes, kim chi, soy beans, yuba, clear noodles, and seaweed. All of the panchan choices were fresh and tasty.

When my lunch arrived, my bowl of soon was bubbling hot in the cast-iron bowl. My server gave me another bowl with an un-cracked egg in it and told me that I could add in the egg to my soup if I desired. I actually didn’t know Koreans ate an egg with their soon, so I tried it.

Unfortunately, in my mind I thought the egg was hard-boiled, but it was raw. And when I plopped it in my soup, it went straight to the bottom. What I realized I should have done was crack it in the bowl and stir it up a bit to drizzle it into my soup like the Chinese egg flower soup. That way I wouldn't have a big raw egg hidden in my soup.

The rest of the soup was great, filled with a variety of ingredients from meat slices to baby prawns to tofu. It was a combination soon that was nice and filling.

I probably could have just eaten the soon by itself, but my combo came with the BBQ chicken, which looked like a very large plate for the price. But the chicken wasn’t the greatest. It really tasted like fast-food, processed chicken that lacked freshness or quality. Despite the large serving, I don’t know if it was worth the price for that quality of chicken.

Still, Koreana Kitchen is a nice, clean spot that’s family friendly. I wouldn’t say it’s the best Korean in Richmond, but it’s definitely convenient. Avoid the chicken but go for the soon and panchan.

Related posts:
Pyung Chang Soft Tofu House: “Its Soon, Delightful”
Mua: “New Club Vibe on Auto Row”
In a Pickle with Korean Chili


foodhoe said...

lol I can picture you and that egg... so what did you do? cook it and peel it later, or just leave it?

Single Guy Ben said...

Foodhoe, I just stirred the soup bottom breaking up the egg yolk and mixing everything together. I was just hopping the bubbling broth would cook some of the egg if I broke it down. But now I know what to do!

A said...

i've always had raw egg w/ Korean soft tofu soup. That's funny what you did. Did they have spicy pork? That's my favorite side meat dish w/ my soft tofu soup & the noodle side dish is my fav!

Cookie said...

I love Korean food but whenever they add the raw egg to any dish, it kinda freaks me out since I was always taught not to eat raw eggs. Oh well, every culture is different right? LOVE all the little dishes they come out with though! YUM!