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Tong Soon Garden Restaurant, Santa Clara

Melanie Wong | Dec 25, 200212:15 AM

On the way home for Christmas, my brother and I stopped in Santa Clara’s Koreatown to try one of the many places recommended by ‘hounds (link below). The window signage at Tong Soon says “Szechwan and Mandarin Chinese Food”. However, we knew we were in a Korean-style Chinese place (and the kimchee was a tip-off (g) ).

The intricate wainscoting and cool gray interior lent a subdued mood. We started to look at the menu, but then just told our waitress that we wanted three things: ja jjiang myun (black bean sauce noodles ordered dry style, $6.50), kkanpungki (dry sauteed chicken with garlic sauce, $8.50), and jjam pong (spicy seafood noodle soup, $6.50).

The fried chicken wings and drummettes were ultra-delicious with a slightly sweet sticky sauce with lots of braised chopped garlic, dried chilis, onion, and weirdly, frozen peas. The thin bone of each wing piece had been removed leaving just the thicker bone as a handle to make them easier to eat.

The noodles here aren’t handmade, but still have an attractive chewiness. The black bean sauce noodles had chopped onion, bits of cucumber and zucchini, and few pieces of prawn, sea cucumber and what seemed like chunks of pork. We split on this one – my brother preferred it to Beijing style, whereas I like the classical prep with less onion and minced pork better.

The spicy soup was also very good. We ordered it “mild” for our first time here, and that gave a gentle warmth that didn’t start any fires. The gingery broth was lovely, a bit cloudy and seemed like housemade. Fresh spinach, napa cabbage and slices of fresh champignon added a light lift among the curlicues of giant squid, a couple slices of lean pork, sea cumber sections and prawns.

Our mom got to sample our leftover chicken and the noodle soup. These were new tastes for her and she pronounced them very tasty. I noticed her standing over the kitchen sink later examining and biting into the various seasonings in the garlic sauce and I imagine she’ll be experimenting with making her own soon.

Tong Soon Garden Restaurant
3240 El Camino Real
Santa Clara
Sun-Thu, 11am-9:30pm
Fri-Sat, 11am-10pm


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