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O-Bok (Lakewood)

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I found this place on Yelp while approaching Lakewood on I-5, and stopped off for dinner. I had read that O-Bok specialized in soups, including a beef noodle variety called "sullung-tang". I originally planned to order it, but instead opted for bo ssam with oyster kimchee, which turned out to be a poor decision. I had never had bo ssam before, but had imagined that both the cabbage leaves and the steamed pork would be served hot. They weren't. I also found that the flavor and texture of the raw oysters slathered with pepper paste was unappealing, and I can't be sure if its the quality of the tiny specimens they use (or the age?) Perhaps I'm just spoiled by the locally available premium oysters, which are best enjoyed plain and raw, IMO.

That being said, the banchan was of good quality, and it included a sliced frankfurter braise of some sort, which I understand is a vestige of cookery intended for US servicemen stationed in S. Korea. It seemed appropros for O-Bok, a little homestyle cafe on the S. Tacoma Way Korean strip near the Air Force Base. My wife enjoyed the bi bim bap. I'd go back for the soups.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/o-bok-lakewood

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O-Bok
8600 S Tacoma Way, Lakewood, WA 98499

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  1. All the bo ssam I've ever had has been served cold. It's basically a dish that originated from the lefovers of kimchi-making. The first step in kimchi making is to salt the cabbage to extract water and the large outer leaves usually fall off the head of the cabbage. Traditionally, the napa is sliced in half, stuffed and then left in tact until just before serving. So these fallen leaves are basically waste. The marinated oysters is what's used for stuffing the cabbage. And I believe the idea is to use leftover meat which would be cold. Personally, I've never had bad bo ssam, but it might be a matter of what my expectations are.

    2 Replies
    1. re: soypower

      You are probably correct that my bo ssam expectations were inflated and askew. Perhaps I'd been unduly influenced by fantasies of Momofuku's take on the dish, e.g. http://www.roboppy.net/food/2007/02/d... However, in other pictures I have seen, the pork appears to be thinly slicled and moist, and this was more like chunks of, I must say, cold turkey.

      1. re: equinoise

        Oh yes, momofuku...I'd love to try that dish. I wonder how many many people see bo ssam on a menu and end up disappointed because of David Chang. I'll bet there are some angry korean cooks out there! :o)