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San Dong Banjeo: Korean-style Chinese in Calgary

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San Dong Banjeo: Korean-style Chinese in Calgary

John Manzo | Apr 10, 2007 04:13 PM

Coming home from a Canadian Tyre run (the one at Richmond Square) I tried to stop for lunch at both Sushi House Richmond and then Moriyama (or whatever the new place by Glamorgan Bakery is called), but both were closed today, so winding my way home I came upon what used to be Cherry Bento at 26th Ave and 37 St SW. It's now what I presumed to be a Korean place called San Dong Banjeo, and I decided to give it a try.

It's a small place and I was the only (as far as I could tell) non-Korean present- good so far- so I grab a table and am given a menu. Hmmmm.... the menu is divided between noodle dishes and "entrees." No bulgogi, no dakgogi, no mandukguk, no bibimbap- but the menu is clearly "Asian," what gives? Turns out that this is Korean-style Chinese. Very interesting. I take the waiter's suggestion and try "rice with potato starch noodles," which at $7.50 will not, methinks, be enough for lunch (I'm hungry eh?) so I get an order of fried dumplings. Dumplings come quick, clearly handmade, stuffed with what appears to be spinach and pork, deep fried, nice enough texture. This being "Chinese" I don't get the namul and kimchi and such, but do get a small bowl of that yellow pickled daikon (ick, I don't like this sweet-sour stuff) and a tiny bowl of what tastes sorta like miso soup. All good so far. Pretty big portion of smallish dumplings by the way, better for two. Then my main comes- oh my, what a huge portion! A pile of clear noodles with cabbage (GOD I love what Koreans do with sauteed cabbage, magic!), onions, carrot, wood ear 'shrooms and a tiny handful of shrimp. Other side is rice- yes it's a lot of starch but the rice and the well-seasoned noodle lump go really well together. This is messy- the noodles are all stuck together and hard to eat elegantly, but I manage.

A big table of Korean gentleman are tucking into what looks like the spicy fried chicken and man do I want to try it.

All in all, interesting spin on "Korean." I love to taste other culture's take on Chinese food- like when I went to a "Chinee" place in my partner's homeland of Trinidad and Tobago- talk about a cuisine that's been locally adapted. Hey, I have a great idea for a food-travel book...

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