Food + Soju + Good Times
I remember passing by this chain restaurant in different areas of the city and never gave it much thought. 짬뽕 (jjam-pong), the spicy seafood noodle soup that is a mainstay of Korean Chinese cuisine, how can you devote entire restaurant to it? And why not offer 자장면 (jajang-myeon)??
The interior is not going to win any awards but it is more modern and more spacious than the average Korean Chinese restaurant.
I assumed they would have different variations of jjampong, like beef jjampong, chicken jjampong, etc, but there’s none of that. They got jjampong, stir-fried jjampong, fried dumplings, and sweet & sour pork. Its simple and to the point, it’s all the items that most people order at a Korean Chinese restaurant, minus the jajangmyeon.
Jjampong with rice (짬뽕밥) KRW 4,500. I can’t believe they only charge 4 bucks! The first thing I noticed was all the ingredients; mussels, squid, pork, cabbage, onions, carrots, etc. Jjampong at most Korean Chinese restaurants has ALOT of onions, couple dinky mussels, and some pieces of nasty wilted cabbage, so all you’re really eating is the soup and noodles. But at Hong Kong Banjum, it’s a meal! It’s like Campbell’s Chunky soup vs Campbell’s regular soup. This was the best jjampong I have ever had!
Stir-fried jjampong (볶음짬뽕) KRW 5,500. Again, look at all the ingredients. It’s basically seafood lo mein, for those that have had American Chinese food. I saw them cooking it in a wok but they didn’t fire/flame it during the cooking, so it lacked that smokiness. I also wish it would have been spicier. Overall it wasn’t bad but I don’t think I would order it next time.
Sweet & sour pork (탕수육) KRW 9,000. It was freaking amazing!!! This is one of the best things I have eaten this year. It was fried perfectly, crispy on the outside and not oily on the inside. It was made with hearty chunks of pork, compared to most other places where it’s like 70% batter, I hate that. And they didn’t drench the fried pork in the sauce, so it didn’t become a soggy mess. I’d go back just to eat this!
Next time you walk by this chain, don’t underestimate it like I did. The prices can not be beat, they make their food with care and it tastes great.
Rating: 9 out of 10.
Hong Kong Banjum: 02-540-1028 by Sinsa Station exit #4 but they have locations all throughout Korea, check out their website below.