Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Shin Chon On Bizarre Foods America

Kimchi and other panchan at Shin Chon
Shin Chon Garden did make Bizarre Foods America on Monday, and Andrew Zimmern even mentioned Howard County by name.

Local writer and restauranteur Henry Hong took Zimmern through the original Lotte in Ellicott City -- for snacks out of the refrigerator case and then a meal, including blood sausage, in the food court.  Then they went down the shopping center to Shin Chon.

We actually clapped when we saw the familiar wood paneling and metal vents on television.  Hong and Zimmern barbecued short ribs.  Then they had pork belly -- and pleased Mrs. HowChow by recommending to cook the meat to crispy.  Then they ate spicy baby octopus.

"Look at how cute and cuddly it looks.  It is adorable," Zimmern said as he held up an octopus.  Then he ate it.

Hot barley tea
I recommend you look for reruns on the Travel Channel and heartily recommend a meal at Shin Chon.  It's one of my top 10 restaurants in Howard County, and it's a terrific place to discover Korean food or to return for real variety.

This is a truly friendly restaurant.  Owner Jum Suh (shot for a moment on television and featured in a photo on Richard Gorelick's review) greets people and moves everyone to their table.

For any new folks, I wrote a Korean 101 post with step-by-step instructions.  I'd encourage anyone who likes meat, fresh vegetables and maybe a little pickled vegetables or heat.  You control your meal.  You make your plate from the barbecue and the panchan, so you can do whatever you want.

But Shin Chon lends itself to exploring.  I have eaten there more often than anywhere else in Howard County, and Gorelick ordered three dishes that I had never tried -- a spicy octopus, a sweet and sour deep-fried pork, and a noodle and octopus casserole.

You can barbecue beef, pork or seafood.  Your table will fill with the small side dishes called panchan.  You can even get vegetarian versions of bi bim bop and chapchae.  Ask for the complimentary hot barley tea instead of ice water.  Ask for Korean liquor like the unfiltered rice wine.

And it's really not expensive.  The barley tea and the panchan are complimentary.  You can feast for $20 a person, and Shin Chon will keep serving up new dishes along the way.

Hats off to the Bizarre Foods America crew.  We had to fast forward through the repeated scenes of skinning muskrats, but they told some nice stories in the show.  They also had a brilliant pivot as they went from watermen to a Korean-run soul food counter at Lexington Market to Korean food at the Lotte.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My wife and I saw the episode on Monday and it was interesting. I wonder if they couldn't truly find any real "bizarre" type of foods because they ended up going to a korean bbq restaurant. Shin Chon is by far the best korean bbq restaurant in Howard County. Honey Pig was promising, but the quality there has truly gone out the window.