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San Francisco Bay Area Korean Chowdown

Korean Chowdown Report --- long

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Korean Chowdown Report --- long

tom in sf | May 14, 2004 02:47 AM

Derek, Ed, Alejandro, Alex, Melanie and I met at Shin Toe Bul Yi (Chick-n-Deli) on Taraval and 30th for some pretty good Korean.

We ordered a range of dishes:

1. Pork Bul Go Gi -- broiled, lean pork $10.99
2. Kal Bi -- beef short ribs on hot plate $14.99
3. Baby Octopus Bok Um -- sauteed octopus and vegies in a spicy sauce with thick noodles $10.99
4. Spicey, deep fried chicken $8.99
5. Korean Sausage $10.99

Derek and I arrived earlier than everyone else and polished off most of the complimentary Korean Green Onion (scallion) Pancake - plate-sized, rice flour pancake, cut in squares and a hot red-chili-laced, vinegary dipping sauce. Yummy.

The table was loaded down with the usual...uh...(help me here, Alex)...panchow. Small bowls of varied condiments. Tiny dried fish, kim chee, salty/spicey bean paste, seaweed, pickled cabbage, daikon, pressed tofu with chili, marinated bean sprouts...about ten or twelve different tastes and textures. Vote was that they were traditional, but not that extraordinary. Still, it was nice to have such a wide choice of different flavors. Made each mouthful unique.

Faves were the fried chicken - a good sized plate of deep fried chicken pieces. The batter was laced with spices and red flecks of chili. Good, clean flavors inside and a crispy crunch outside. And the complimentary soft-tofu soup. Hearty soup of custardy tofu in a flavorful, chili broth.

The Pork Bul Go Gi is still a favorite of mine. Folks liked it ok. Big pile of spicey, thin sliced pork 'shavings' came with leaves of red leaf lettuce for wrapping up with the condiments.

I liked the beefy Kal Bi (short ribs). Big chunks of tender beef, some with bone in. Nicely charred and served atop a not-so-sizzling hot plate. Great wrapped in the lettuce. I especially liked the beef with the salty-spicey bean paste.

Lots of comments about the noodle and octopus dish. It had some heat for sure. Big, fat, chewy noodles. Large pieces of octopus, sliced zucchini and carrot. All dressed in a thick red sauce. (there was much conversation about not being able to find really good Southern Italy-style red sauce in SF - so getting a big plate of what looked like thick pasta in red sauce....well...)

Derek is a Pork Shank freak. There are pork shanks on the menu at Shin Toe Bul Yi. Large and small. We ordered a small. Sounded good. Well, we were half way through the meal commenting on the 'pork shank' before I looked a little closer at the menu and discovered that what we were eating was the in fact the Korean Sausage.

Jeez.

It was good, anyway, in a cold-cut sort of way. Came sliced and room temp. Very large order (Melanie took most of it home). A little went a long way. Funny how we kept looking at the sausage and tried to figure our how they got a pork shank to look like that.

We'll just have to return to try the pork shanks.

All in all, the company was great, the food was pretty good actually, and the service was polite, if not a bit harried.

Not bad for all that food and only $12 including tip.

If you like Korean, this place is definitely worth checking out.

We all ventured a few blocks up Taraval to Marco Polo and indulged in another wide variety of tastes. This time it was Gelato - durian, soursop, sesame, taro, mango, coconut, lychee and others.

I'll let the other folks write their comments now.

I'm full.

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