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eating han bat, albany park - no tears were wept

zim | Oct 1, 200212:39 PM

Well, maybe only Gary wept, but only because we weren’t allowed to bring soju in

Spurred on by posts from the possibly mythical RST and a very old one by alphahound Jim Leff a group of chowhounds gathered to eat the sol lung tang at Han Bat. I’ve long been curious about this place ever since they refused me an English menu.

Well it turns out there’s a very good reason for no take-out menus – the menu consists of 2 items (one of which was unavailable) and variations of that one item.

The item in question was Korean beef bone soup, milky white, very subtle flavors, served with bowls of scallions, salt, and Korean chili paste to doctor up the flavors, rice and a couple kimchees on the side.

Like pho, we had our choice of meats: brisket; tongue; tendon; tripe, intestine & spleen, or a combination (which does not include tongue or tendon). Gary was able to persuade the friendly proprietors to make a couple of us a special tongue & tendon combo. Those whose orders included tendon also received a side plate of “special tendon sauce” aka wasabi and soy for dipping the chewy stuff (I thought the tongue tasted pretty nice in there as well)

Given various heads up on the general board, I tried mine first unadulterated and then tasted as I added each condiment. I needed the added salt (which seems to be traditional), scallions, bean paste and even some of the “juice” from the kimchee.

All the hounds I spoke to about the meal later had about the same reaction- good, but not something they’d really go out of their way for except possibly as a breakfast on a cold blustery morning. No doors of perception were opened.

One very good thing about Han Bat is its location – next door to the penguin. Seth, greeted like an old friend by the proprietor was assured that the tubs were “tutto fresco”, prepared Saturday and my choices definitely tasted like it. I had the coconut which was remarkably fresh tasting as well as the almond cream – VI and I both opined that they should just sell the great candied almonds that studded the stuff. Gary lamented the fact that he had not brought a cooler along.

Afterwards, most of us decided to take advantage of the great weather and the changing of the month to try some of the newly tapped octoberfest beers in Resi’s beer garden.

Some of the highlights for me were:

Rene G filling us in on his fuzhou discovery (not written up yet because he needs to go back a third time – why doesn’t the trib cheap eats staff just link directly to his posts)

Seth describing an article on the microanalysis of facial movements while at the same time trying to convince Karensa (who doesn’t eat beef) that tendon is just not that “beefy”

Discussing afrobeat compilations with Jim Peterson

Sharing a smoke with Dave Hammond and learning that his daughter is doing fine in China and discovering that yak meat is ubiquitous in Beijing

Ron Rosenbaum telling us northerners that he was gonna teach us a thing or two about fried shrimp

Gary, landjager sausage in one hand and beer in the other telling us how much he hated the rauchbier referred to by the bartender as the “bacon beer”


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