Monday, October 12, 2009

Korea's Chinese Food in Ellicott City

Korean restaurants serve some of Howard County's best food, and thanks to the Kevin and Ann Eat Anything blog, I have learned that they're not just limited to serving Korean food.

Kevin has written a really interesting post about Jja Jang Myun -- the Chinese cuisine that has developed in Korea and now been export to the United States. He points out that America created General Tso's chicken and the Taco Bell chalupa. They're now available around the world, but they're a hybrid cuisines -- American inventions, not catholically Chinese or Mexican.

In the same way, Chinese food migrated to Korea, where local ingredients, local tastes and local people changed it into the hybrid Jja Jang Myun. For several years, you have been able to buy Chinese-Indian dishes at Mirchi Wok in Columbia. Now, there are at least two Ellicott City restaurants where you can sample the Chinese-Korean cuisine, and Kevin lays out a primer so that you could give it a try:
  • descriptions of the three main dishes jajangmyeon, jjamppong and bokkeumbap and the side dishes that you should expect.
  • options if you want to order larger dishes meant to share -- along with directions on making a dipping sauce from the condiments on your table.
  • links to Wikipedia and other sources about the Chinese-Korean cuisine.
Check out Kevin's post for the details, but you're looking at variations on steamed noodles, soups, fried rice and other items that will be accessible to anyone who has tried Asian food. The two restaurants, Tian Chinese Cuisine and HanJoonKwan, might look Korean to the uninitiated. But they would be considered Chinese if they were in Seoul, and Kevin says the calssification here probably depends on whether you're Korean and what generation you are.

I had seen Tian down from Shin Chon Garden, but I hadn't tried yet. Now, these are definitely on my list. One day, I'd love to try to write about the variations of Chinese food around -- the Indian-Chinese and Korean-Chinese cuisines juxtaposed with the whole "authentic" versus Americanized discussion sparked by Hunan Legend's "secret" menu. For now, this is my take on Chinese restaurants (and it needs updating).

For more about Tian, check out the Yelp! review by Su K., who gave a funny, detailed review and mentions Da Rae Won in Beltsville. Previously, I linked to Kevin and Ann posts about Sushi King and Touche Touchet. Definitely keep them in mind if you read local food blogs. If you want more, check out my post about Asian food in Howard County.

HanJoongKwan
(Same shopping center as Sal's)
9338 Baltimore National Pike
Ellicott City, MD 21042

Tian Chinese Cuisine
Lotte Shopping Center
8151 Baltimore National Pike
Ellicott City, MD 21043

(Photo taken from Kevin and Ann Eat Anything.)

8 comments:

cdarl said...

This is kind of off topic. Have you ever seen kewpie mayonnaise at any of the ethnic markets you have reviewed? I heard it is the best mayo to use to make the spicy sauce for sushi. Thanks.

Matthew said...

one thing nice about tian, if you order one of the big dishes (ie kkampongi or tangsooyuk), you get one free bowl of either jjajangmyun or jjampong.

HowChow said...

cdarl -- I have not noticed kewpie mayo, although I will keep an eye out next time. I buy mayo infrequently and tend not to look for "American" staples in the Super H.

Mathew -- Tell me more about Tian. What do you like? What should I try? Any tips or observations?

Anonymous said...

@cdarl you can get kewpie mayo at any of the major Asian groceries (Lotte, HMart, etc.)

Anonymous said...

cdarl:
Don't look for the Kewpie mayo where regular mayo is shelved at Lotte. I was just there this morning and it is stocked with the sushi soy sauces.

Matthew said...

@HowChow
For me, growing up with 'korean chinese' cuisine, there really isn't much to say about it. It's a standard jajangmyun joint. has the normal jajangmyun & jjampong (and things like omurice, which is just fried rice in a sheet of egg topped with ketchup). The noodles aren't anything spectacular (not house made. some of the nicer places do that).

I usually avoid the ssamsung variety, because most places, all the 'seafood' version means is adding about 5 small shrimp, i haven't ordered it specifically at tian, so they MAY do something more there.

The tangsooyuk can also be ordered as a chicken tangsooyuk. but yeah, the sauce is very sweet. i'm a big fan of the kkangpongi. one thing though, if you do takeout, the fried crunch really doesn't hold up well.

mmm....
oh, also, you can find the chinese korean food at almost every korean restaurant. it's usually tucked in the last page (but, if everyone in the party gets the chinese korean food, you'll only get the danmuji/onions, and kkacktoogi (the radish version of the kimchee), and not the usual spread of banchan that the restaurant offers.

marykate said...

hmmm I've had Korean Chinese food (though I'm no expert) but I've never thought about Indian style Chinese food. I really want to try it now. I just looked up restaurants around me and found one called Chinese Mirch. People say to try lollipop chicken...

John Thacker said...

and things like omurice, which is just fried rice in a sheet of egg topped with ketchup

omurice, incidentally, is Japanese-invented "western food" (洋食) much like the American-invented "Chinese food."

Also, some of the Indian buffets in the area aimed at Indians have Indian Chinese food.