|"Lollipop" chicken wings at Da Rae Won|
This is Korea's Chinese food. No more authentically Chinese than General Tso's chicken, but just as tasty.
You can get black bean noodles, sweet-and-sour pork and other Korean-Chinese dishes at Tian Chinese Cuisine or Hanjoongkwan in Ellicott City. But the noodles -- called jajangmyeun -- may be a touch more delicious at Da Rae Won. Just a little most-complex flavor in the black bean sauce and an even-more-toothsome noodle. Some Korean friends have definitely said Beltsville has the best.
From Howard County, the real beauty of Da Rae Won is that it is on the way to and from Ikea in College Park. Look for directions, and you'll see you get to Da Rae Won from Rte 212, then shoot down U.S. 1 to the Swedish home store. We ate lunch on the way home earlier this month, and I promise that it's better than anything you'll get in Ikea's meatball shop.
Personally, I suggest jajangmyeun and an order of the chicken wings -- sliced into lollipops and then fried with a slightly-spicy sauce. They're different from the crunchy crisp of Bon Chon's chicken, but they might be just as delicious. We have also had the sweet-and-sour pork, which a friend has compared to the deep-fried morsels of fried clams. It's traditional and good, but heavy enough that I prefer the chicken unless I'm with a crowd and can order a bunch of dishes.
On our next trip, I want to try the spicy seafood soup. They use the same noodles in the soup, and people have recommended it as delicious and terrific for winter.
Da Rae Won is really casual. It's the corner store in a shopping center just off U.S. 1. Parking can be tight, but the place opens into a good-sized restaurant. You can hear the bang-bang-bang of the noodles being made in the kitchen. That's the gold standard for jajangmyeun. If you're into Korean food, this is worth driving to check out. And if you're going to Ikea, this can turn your chore into some fun.
Da Rae Won
5013 Garrett Ave
Beltsville, MD 20705
NEAR: This is just off U.S. 1 in Beltsville. Garrett Avenue intersects with U.S. 1, and Da Rae Won is in the back corner of a shopping center that also has another Korean restaurant. On-line maps often send me from Howard County to Ikea through a back way using Rte 212 (Powder Mill Road) and Odell Road. That actually takes you with a few blocks of Da Rae Won. So you can just go for the great food, then head from Da Rae Won to Ikea by just turning south on U.S. 1 and watching for the store on your right.