I have been meaning to post about the incredible Dorsot BiBim Bop at Kang Nam on Kedzie. Kang Nam has the best, yes best, even better than San Cho Dolsot on Lawrence, Dorsot BiBim Bop I have ever had the pleasure of burning my tongue on. It was a full 25-minutes before I could eat the damn thing, but the rice on the bottom of the stone pot was incredibly crisp and delicious, almost sweet with caramelization and the meat and vegetables were tender and moist. They also served an egg on top that, somehow, did not turn to rubber, it was still a bit runny after my lengthy wait to eat the dolt.
Kang Nam is actually known for their Korean BBQ, it is Zim's current favorite, but I have not had BBQ there since they switched from a buffet format to individual ordering. Kang Nam also serves Zim's Mother's favorite panchan, potato, which seemingly can be difficult to fine.
On one of my visits I vaguely remembered Zim inquiring in a past Chowhound thread as to the exact Korean name of the potato panchan so as I was paying the bill I asked the waitress to please write down the name.
After she consulted with the owner, he came up to me and, slowly, said ooooootaaaaato. I asked him to repeat this, so, even slower, he intoned, ppppppppooooooootttttttaaaato. I could not really understand him so I asked him to write it down. In clear precise block lettering he wrote, POTATO. I really thought this was funny, but did not want to laugh for fear of offending him and the very nice waitress. I then asked him to write the Korean name in English, which he did, Kam Ja.
I actually have another funny Kang Nam story that stems from when they had the meat buffet. (You selected from a wide assortment of meat to grill at your table) I inquired as to what thin roundish slices of meat were, the owner, at least I think it was the owner, immediately said, no good, you will not like that, not for you, which, to me, is the same as waving a red cape in a bulls face, a challenge.
I took a few slices on my plate, and then asked again what exactly it was, he pointed to his genitals and snorted like a pig, giving me a pretty clear idea of what I was about to eat. Funniest thing was as soon as this thin circular slice of meat hit the heat of the grill, it sprang up into a round ball like shape, we all started laughing, the owner included. Taste wise, the pig testicle was bland and very chewy, nothing I am ever going to search out again.
As I said, I have not had kalbi there since they dropped the buffet, though I have every confidence it is excellent. Well, actually, that is not 100% true. I had the pleasure of having lunch with Mike G a month or so ago at Kang Nam and we split a Dorsot BiBim Bop and a Kalbi. For just one order of kalbi they prepare it in the kitchen on a griddle and it was just ok, though the side dishes were excellent as was the Dorsot BiBim Bop. I am most certain the made in the kitchen version pales in comparison to the live coals version at the table kalbi.
One other thing I should point out, while Kang Nam has excellent Dolsot, they only have one type. San Chae Dolsot has a wide variety of Dolsots available, including a few types of very delicious fish dolsots. San Chae Dolsot is a very good Dolsot restaurant, but I can be a bit like The Mayor of Chicago Chowhound and dim sum, I tend to like the one I had last, best.
Kang Nam Galbi
4849 N. Kedzie
San Chae Dolsot
3737 W Lawrence Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625