13 October 2012

Minneapolis: Korea Restaurant

Open Gangnam Style!

Nah, not really Gangnam style.  Gangnam is way 80s glam.  (I mean they have a LUSH.  Not that that's indicative of 80s glam.  But I did get to mention LUSH again, so.  That's always good.)  Korea Restaurant is more Kwang Jang style.  Total hole in the wall.  Don't be scared!  Holes in the wall can have the BEST food.  I promise you won't even be afraid for your life.

Although, now that I think about it, if you were to make up a song and dance for this place, it's so crowded and cramped that the Gangnam Style choreography would be pretty much the only routine you could safely perform inside without knocking peoples' faces into their food.

Well if I don't think about these things, who WILL?!

Korea Restaurant
211 Oak/Beacon St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 746-0559

It had been too long since I'd bibimbap!  That's the real reason I dragged Matt here on date night.  Good thing he was up for it.  There's a reason we call him Captain Adventure.

The place smelled fantastic and was jam-packed with couples and friends conversing in rapid Korean as they shoveled food into their mouths.  The place does counter service.  You order off the huge numbered menu on the wall, pay, wait for your number, then collect your food.  Easy peasy.  I was all, "Gamsa hamnida!" (thank you) and let me tell you, I was WAY more pleased with myself than the guy behind the register was.

Downside: only one vegetarian menu item.  Goon Mandu, fried vegetable dumplings for $7.49.  Do not despair, vegans!  This dish happens to be vegan, AND I had no trouble adding the simple words "no beef" to my Bibimbap (they spell it Bibim Bab) order, which wound up being $9.49.  You could make the same change to your choice of several other dishes and achieve your own vegan Korean nirvana.

So this Goon Mandu?  Um.  My vegan horizons were blown away.  The un-gross fried texture, the salty awesomesauce, and the extraordinary filling were incredible.  I scarfed one and a half of them before really rolling the texture around in my mouth.  Those little dried radishes in there were so unique!  They tasted like vegan stuffing, almost.  Gawl, those dumplings are good.  Eat them.

My Bibimbap rocked too, although it wasn't quite as tasty as the stuff AJ and Shelley fed me in Korea.  Check out all the fixings that came with it!  Soft, yummy eggplant, sweet potato, spicy kimchi, white rice, and a fun smoky-tasting salad that reminded me of BonDish.  There were other little dishes of things that were probably also vegan, but... I didn't want to take any chances.  I threw the above five sides into my bowl of mushrooms, greens, tofu, and other veggies, with some of the sweet-spicy chili sauce from the red bottle on the table, mixed it all up, and reveled in the delicious crunchy freshness.  There were like a grillion flavors in there, and every combination my chopsticks snagged on comprised another new taste explosion.*

Oh, um - don't forget to remove the fried egg from your Bibimbap.  That's like a thing.  If you're lucky like me, you can feed it to your spouse.  I just love Matt!  He takes beautiful pictures, goes to weird places with me, and even eats eggs!  What CAN'T he do?

Fly.  I have an inkling he might buy a jet-pack one day.  Just hope it's not the one from Arrested Development.

* First person to comment and tell me where the phrase taste explosion comes from (without having to look it up, srsly, who even are you) gets a hug.


  1. Wow! That looks pretty damn close to the real thang! I remember sitting at the Co-op one day, slurping my lentils, and looking up to discover a whole "Koreans Living in Minneapolis" newspaper. It was chock full of places to learn Korean and outreach networks and adoption agencies and restaurants and grocery stores. The must be a thriving population of Koreans in Minneapolis that no one knows about! Except for adventurers like you! And I think I've told you all this before!

    1. It must be the real thing, right? The people who run the restaurant are, I believe, Korean immigrants. But then why did the bibimbap taste better in Korea?

      BECAUSE OF YOU. Srsly.

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