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Restaurants & Bars 14

OC - Tustin Korean, Happy Snacks, cheap and filling

jschyun | Mar 14, 200611:10 PM

New cheap Korean snack joint opened up in Tustin recently. It's in that little building right in front of Wasabi Sushi on the corner of Walnut and Newport in Tustin. The outside sign in Korean said "Happy Snacks" while the English sign says "Happy Teriyaki" for some reason.

I stopped in and tried it out just now. I tried the "ra-bokki" which is ramen and dukbokki. My ra-bokki ($6.50) was ctually good, not dumbed down, plenty of gochujang in there, the person behind the stove is pretty competent. Here, it was more homemade than streetstall style sauce, but it was still pretty good. The few banchan were v. good too. Portion was on the larger side. I eat a lot of food so it's rare that I have to take some food to go, but I had to do it here.

Prices start at $4 for the large portion of kimbab which are basically rice rolls with seaweed around them, filled with stuff like spinach, finely julienned carrots (cooked), egg threads and a choice of beef, more veggies, and I think they had some other more unorthodox choices like cheese. They had dumpling soup, spicy pork over rice, udon and ramen, and various kinds of fried rice. The highest price for anything is $6.50. They have a little cooler for drinks next to the tables and an ice water dispenser right next to the tables.

Also, the palates I trust most for Korean food (next to the Korean ones) are Mexican palates and sure enough there were already a couple of Mexican businessmen checking out the place. Damn they're fast! They had the fried rice and omethiung else (couldn't see because one guy was blocking my view) but when they finished they decided to try the jajangmyun next time. The owner kept asking them what they thought of the food then they chitchatted about how korea beat the pants off of the U.S, 7-3. They said the food was very good and she beamed and then said "I told you".

This is the former location of several ill-fated restaurants, including another Korean restaurant, a Vietnamese restaurant, Chinese restaurant, and I forget what else. I think this place will endure a little longer than the others because it seems to have already hit a chord among the local male population. Guys kept streaming into the place for takeout orders. I couldn't believe it. I guess I understand why: the food is plentiful and cheap and so far I think it was pretty good. Also, the place is now very bright, clean and not sad looking as in its previous incarnations. If you try this place, I'd be curious to know what you think of it. The only problem is that they didn't have beer (they have gatorade and sodas and there is a cold water dispenser) and they close at 9pm.

I'm curious about the jjampong kalguksu (listed in english as "spicy seafood noodle" Kalguksu means they use fresh noodles, literally "knife-cut" but most places use a machine.

Happy Snacks
11am-9pm Mon-Sat
14430 Newport Ave.
Tustin, CA 92780

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