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Current Korean in MSP?

Hi all,

'Hounder in town from NYC--am looking for a place to introduce my mom to Korean food this weekend in Minneapolis. I did a search, but couldn't find anything recent that isn't in Fridley or Eagan--any help on what's currently the best?

Very much appreciated.

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  1. Don't fear Fridley. It's friendly.

    Seriously, others have mentioned a place in Columbia Heights (a.k.a. South Fridley) which I have yet to check out, but neither downtown is known for good Korean if that's what you're looking for. If you must stick to Saint Paul or Minneapolis, may I suggest you introduce your mom to Vietnamese instead? You'll have a lot more options.

    1. For starters, where would you like this place to be?

      1. There are a couple of Korean places on Snelling Ave. north of University in the midway area of St. Paul. Five blocks off the freeway. I haven't been to them in years but they used to be good.

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        Snelling Cafe
        638 Snelling Ave N, Saint Paul, MN 55104

        1 Reply
        1. re: ibew292

          I'd stay away from the Korean restaurants on Snelling.

          I'd go to Korea Restaurant over in Stadium Village at the U or Dong Yang in Hilltop (a tiny little town tucked into a notch in Columbia Heights). Dong Yang is a grocery store with a lunch counter in back. Not sure if they serve dinner.

        2. If you are looking for the nicest place - in the sense of decor and atmosphere - you should probably head out to King's in Fridley. It's the "nicest" restaurant that has decent food that I've been to. As far as good quality Korean, I would recommend Dong Yang in Columbia Heights and/or Korea Restaurant in Dinkytown. Both have great Korean food, but little in the way of ambiance. Dong Yang is a lunch room in the back of a grocery store. I can't recommend any of the places on Snelling - I've only been to the place that was Shilla and then Kumgangsan (now Korean and Sushi World Restaurant) and it's only so-so. I've not eaten at Mirror of Korea also on Snelling, but I know that some like it.

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          Kings Restaurant
          1051 Moore Lake Dr E, Minneapolis, MN 55432

          Dong Yang Oriental Food
          735 45th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55421

          Korea Restaurant
          211 Oak St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

          4 Replies
          1. re: bob s

            I'll second bob's recommendation of Dong Yang. Good bibimbap and bulgogi.

            For me, Korea is good, but not worth going out of the way for...plus it's a block from HK Noodle which I have an affinity for I can't explain. There are Korean dishes on the menu at Pagoda, however the one I have had (stone rice) was poorly executed.

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            Hong Kong Noodle
            901 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

            1. re: Foureyes137

              I, too, have a strange affinity for Hong Kong Noodle sometimes. ;-)

              I forgot to say that in all of the Korean restaurants I've been to in the Twin Cities, you will only run into standard Korean fare - all of the banchan could be interchangeable as far as I can tell.

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              Hong Kong Noodle
              901 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

              1. re: Foureyes137

                What does Hong Kong Noodle have and what do you like there?

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                Hong Kong Noodle
                901 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

                1. re: karykat

                  Nothing Korean, so my response will get yanked by the mods.

            2. Thanks, all. I should have been more specific--ambiance/price would be completely unimportant to me-- $1 ho pang or $20 kalbi jim, as long as it's good--I'm just looking to make my mother fall in love with Korean food as I have, and she's a 'hound at heart--the main problem is that I'm sort of limited to as close to Minneapolis proper as possible, as I'm in town with just my mother for a very short time (Sunday night and Monday lunch) after Easter (before which it's not an option for a variety of reasons). That said, not scared of Fridley or Eagan--I'll see if we can make it work--food above all...

              p.s.--emphasis is on Korean because I've got no problem with introducing her to Vietnamese--she's been eating Vietnamese for about thirty years now--it's hard to find something new for her, but Korean's one of the few.

              1 Reply
              1. re: planetjess

                Dong Yang for lunch should do it for you!

                Go North on Central Ave to the strip mall between 45th & 46th streets. Drive all the way to the back end of the property, where the Harbor Freight Tools has a large sign on a separate building.

                The entrance to Dong Yang is just to the right of the doors for Harbor Feight, and the restaurant area is in the back of the store.

                Dong Yang Oriental Foods
                735 45th Avenue Northeast
                Minneapolis, MN 55421-2302
                (763) 571-2009

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                Dong Yang Oriental Food
                735 45th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55421

              2. Made my first trip to Dong Yang. Order and pick up at the counter fast food style. A few women are in the kitchen being much busier than they should since I was the only customer. By the time I left there were 5 tables full, I got there around 5, they serve until 7:30. Will be going back for the grilled shortribs, they looked amazing. I had the a beef stir fry, lots of beef strips, delicious, with a few onions. Meals come with rice and 5 or 6 side dishes: kimchi, pickled bean sprouts, a warm fried tofu strips, maybe (I've never done tofu but this was great, a sauteed greens, etc. All were different flavors and very tastey. Of ten diners there were just 2 gringos, (including me). A Korean friend had recommended this place. Wish I'd tried it sooner.

                1. I don't think your mom can fall in love with Korean food in the Twin Cities. I think she will definitely enjoy it, especially table top BBQ and banchan (side dish). But unfortunately, it's not as good as the Vietnamese that is here. I love eating and cooking Korean food. I am Korean and have gone to Dong Yang for their jjajjangmien (noodles with black bean sauce) and it was good not great. Mirror of Korea is too expensive with small portions, the place across the street is real low-scale but the owner is nice. The Sushi all you can eat place is did not impress me. I'm going to try Kings! and I really am curious about Hoban and their kareoke. Any one try that?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: stepawayfromthetable

                    SAFTT:

                    I have not been there, but I'm itching to try the jjajangmien (which I assume is the same as Cha Jiang Mien) at Lucky China in West St. Paul. I posted a link to a great story in Heavy Table here - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/669476 - but never heard anything else about the place. I'm not over in that part of the Cities more than once or twice a year, so if you try it, let us know.

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                    Lucky China
                    1375 Robert St S, Saint Paul, MN 55118

                    1. re: bob s

                      Lucky China is nice. The jjajangmien is good as are the other Chinese-Korean offerings. The Chinese food there appears to be standard mall Chinese. You need to ask for the Korean menu. No banchan other than a plate of kimchi. Dong Yang is great. I haven't been to Korea and have only eaten at a few places in California to compare, but I really love their stuff. If I lived closer, I'd go all the time.

                      From people who are familiar with Korean food there, I'd love to hear what you've had that was good. I've had and enjoyed the mackerel is spicy sauce, rice cake, sundubu (not on the menu seafood stew), kimchi jigae, seafood pancake and a squid dish I can't remember. I always see things on other tables and want them immediately.

                      I haven't been to King's but keep meaning to go.

                      Stymie, the tofu you had was probably not tofu but a pressed fishcake that is very popular. It looks a lot like thin strips of tofu though. You can get it in the freezer case.

                      I agree that the restaurants on Snelling are sadly disappointing. I've tried over the years but they just don't use good ingredients, take shortcuts and have marginal banchan. The banchan at Dong Yang's are always excellent.

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                      Lucky China
                      1375 Robert St S, Saint Paul, MN 55118

                      Snelling Cafe
                      638 Snelling Ave N, Saint Paul, MN 55104

                  2. As others already stated .. Dong Yang, Korea Restaurant and King's are great. I have also tried at Mirror of Korea (761 Snelling Avenue, St Paul, MN) a few years back, and I think the food was good too. Another awesome place would be Hoban (1989 Silver Bell Road, Eagan, MN). According to my friend, Hoban has been around for more than 10 years, and Ive dined there quite a few times.

                    I actually took my mom to Dong Yang and Hoban when she came to visit me, and she loved both places. :)

                    `

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                    Mirror of Korea
                    761 Snelling Ave N, Saint Paul, MN 55104

                    Snelling Cafe
                    638 Snelling Ave N, Saint Paul, MN 55104

                     
                     
                    1. I'm the son of a Korean mother, she shops at Dong Yang and whenever we want Korean food and she isn't cooking, that is the place we go.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: diearzte2

                        For those who are geeky like me, I have a photo of the menu at Dong Yang. I usually take photos of things with my phone so I can study them later and find hidden gems.

                         
                        1. re: misterpatrick

                          of all these korean restaurants, which ones have tabletop bbq?

                          1. re: misterpatrick

                            Nice photo...I'm surprised there aren't any X'd out entrees. Usually there are quite a few when I go...granted it's on the weekends. as long as they have seafood pancakes and Kalbi I am happy.

                            1. re: kriminalrat

                              I found the pancake a bit oily...as can happen in those.

                        2. I had my first taste of Korean food when Korean House was still opened (now Chai's Thai Restaurant). I loved their bulgoi and bibimbap and was disappointed when they closed down. They also served pho (same recipe as Pho Ca Dao's since it was the same exact menu and taste was about the same). I have tried King's and the new sushi/Korean on Snelling. The new one on Snelling gave me the creeps just eating there. It was dark and cold in there. The bulgogi was so and so. The bibimbap was awful and so was the tempura I tried. Kind of sad when the owners/cooks can't even make their own ethnic food good.

                          Fortunately, I ran into a great recipe I found on foodnetwork.com. I made it a few times already and I must say it is really good! Almost comparable to the restaurant quality (the good ones anyway). It's a lot of preparation, but well worth it.

                          I'll have to try Dong's. Can't wait. Hopefully, I won't be disappointed.

                          Anyway, here's the link to my blog and picture of what I made:

                          http://hmongcancook.blogspot.com/2009...

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                          Pho Ca Dao Restaurant
                          439 University Ave W, St Paul, MN 55103

                          Chai's Thai Restaurant
                          414 1/2 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55454

                           
                          1. We have split off a recipe for kimchi to our Home Cooking board. Please keep in mind that recipe discussion belongs over there. You can find that thread here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/703527