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Aug 31, 2009 10:12 AM

Non-BBQ Korean in SF proper?

This deserves its own topic.

My Tofu House; awesome and amazingly cheap soon dobu. Be sure to stop by First Korean Market while you're there, great takeout and the best kimchi in the area (worth a trip fom the East Bay).

Toyose: primarily a soju bang, specialty is fried chicken wings.

Zazang: zazang myun and zam pong.

Hanuri: relatively upscale, has an extensive menu, maybe the closest thing to Ohgane in SF.

Han Il Kwan is known for barbecue but also does various stews and soups. They make great fish cake and seafood pancakes (usually thrown in free with the panchan if you order a lot).

Zazang Korean Noodle
2340 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94115

4217 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118

My Tofu House
4627 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118

Han IL Kwan Korean Restaurant
1802 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

3814 Noriega St, San Francisco, CA 94122

First Korean Market
4625 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA

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  1. There appear to be more non BBQ K-joints. From searching further and checking out recommendations from friends elsewhere:

    Spot Lounge
    2325 Taraval St
    (between 33rd Ave & 34th Ave)
    San Francisco, CA 94116

    401 Balboa St
    (between 5th Ave & 6th Ave)
    San Francisco, CA 94118

    Um Ma Son
    5850 Geary Boulevard
    (between 22nd Ave & 23rd Ave)
    San Francisco, CA 94121

    Wang Daegum
    308 5th Ave
    San Francisco, CA 94115

    Namu (fusion
    )439 Balboa St
    San Francisco, CA 94118

    5 Replies
    1. re: K K

      Namu's Korean dishes didn't send me. By far the best thing I ate there was the burger.

      Have you tried any of those other places? The Spot Lounge is primarily a bar, sort of a hipster version of a soju bang, I wouldn't expect much of the food.

      1. re: K K

        I've tried Muguboka, which I thought was pretty good. I wandered in looking for a late lunch and ended up ordering the soon tofu, even though it wasn't a specialty. Very spicy, with a lot of lovely soft tofu. (I find some of the tofu places in SF are annoyingly stingy with the tofu.) No crispy rice in a stonepot, but I didn't expect any. The panchan are a little smaller but there was a wide variety--about 14 dishes rather than the more typical 7-8.
        The place was clean and white, kind of had the feel of eating in your grandma's kitchen, possibly because there were 3-4 korean seniors/staff watching a soap opera while I was there.

        The menu was much more unusual than I was expecting for a SF restaurant. There was definitely goat stew and ssam. I've got the menu lying around my house somewhere. I'll post the more unusual stuff and prices when I find it.

        1. re: sfbing

          Some of the more unusual menu items from Muguboka:
          10. joki maeun tang, croaker fish casserole with hot paste 14.95
          11. gon-e al tang, fish egg casserole with vegetables 14.95
          22. agu jim, steamed monk fish with special sauce 20.95
          23. gul bosam, oyster seasoned cottages (?) & spicy veg on the side 22.95
          24& 25. sundae& modum sundae, korean style sausage (two diff types?)
          26. golbangl muchim, sauteed top shell & veg in spicy sauce 18.95
          30. yukhwe, season raw beef 17.95
          32. kkan poongki, marinated fried chicken 11.95
          37-39 rice cake ssam, pork/beef served with rice cake and veg $36-70
          46. herk yumso jungol, specially broiled black goat with noodle and veg 19.95/ 39.95
          47. daeji galbee gamja, spicy pork rib, potato, rice cake, veg in special house sauce

          1. re: sfbing

            I had a good late lunch there too. Dolsot bi bimbop, which hit the spot on a cold summer afternoon. Friendly service too. Good panchan.

      2. Second the recommendation for First Korean Market. It's my go to for kimchi, and the prepared foods they have near the cashier are always tasty.

        1. Doobu isn't too bad for soondubu either, it's in Japantown.

          I like Arang for Korean comfort food (spam casseroles, soondae, etc), and they make ddukbokki with cchol myun, which is rare.

          Cocobang is good for late night eats, open till 3am.

          1506 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115

          550 Taylor St, San Francisco, CA 94102

          1 Reply
          1. re: DezzerSF

            i grabbed a quick lunch at arang yesterday. i know this thread is non-bbq specific, but i ordered the kalbi lunch special. came in a bento box with two fried mandu, a bit of japchae, salad, miso soup, and rice. i normally would've ordered a soup or stew, but was craving beef. the kalbi was pretty good, but rice was super mushy and overcooked, and i had to ask for kimchi. i wasn't expecting panchan for a bento lunch special, but one should never have to ask for kimchi in a korean restaurant!

            i can't get over that mushy rice, though. i know that my aversion to rice scooped onto a plate with an ice-cream scooper, or to rice molded into a bowl and then turned out onto the plate is an irrational quirk (like how piet mondrian paintings make me angry), but if it has to be scooped or molded, don't overcook it!

          2. We like

            Shin Toe Bul Yi
            2001 Taraval St, San Francisco, CA 94116

            5 Replies
            1. re: intomeat

              Second Shin Toe Bul Yi - good soon dubu jigae, not too expensive. They gave a free piece of fried fish the one time I went there.

              1. re: Mr_Happy

                It's surprisingly common to get the fried fish in SF, Doobu and My Tofu House both give it as part of the panchan too.

                1. re: DezzerSF

                  It's particularly surprising at My Tofu House, since the whole meal is $8.76.

                2. re: Mr_Happy

                  But the reason to stand in line is the fried chicken!

                3. re: intomeat

                  I like the dokbokki there. It's been my choice for SF Korean, except when Sahn Maru had its brief stint near Union Square.

                4. And I still like To much of a hole in the wall as it is, there's just something inviting about the place that I enjoy.

                  To Hyang
                  3815 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118