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Jun 28, 2011 07:57 AM

MinGa Korean-Japanese Restaurant

Located on Old Durham road, MinGa opened about two weeks ago and claimed as the first Korean restaurant in Chapel Hill. Their menu surely has many options and can be found on their FB page,

116 Old Durham Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27517

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  1. The menu looks very interesting! Can't wait to try it.

      1. re: Remsleep

        It has been a while... about couple month?

      2. So, after looking at the menu on FB, and given that it's 5 minutes from my house, I took the opportunity to go there for the lunch special.

        I was on my own, so there's only one data point, but it's a good one. I ordered the Chanpon/Zambong/janpong. It came with an array of little side dishes: kimchi, oden, an apple/cabbage slaw, curried potato, and seaweed. All were very good. The chanpon was also excellent, although a bit different from versions I've had at Red Lotus and other Chinese places. It seemed a bit more, for want of a word, peasanty. Plenty of cephalopods and a couple of nice bivalves, but no giant shrimp. The ones in the dish were tiny, and, judging from the texture, quite possibly of the dried variety that I understand to be traditional in Korean cooking. The broth had a slightly gritty mouth-feel that was new to me but not unpleasant; I could see how some might not like it. It was mildly spicy by my chili-head standards, but I didn't ask for a particular spice level. Also, the serving was huge and more than defeated me.

        Service was fine, the price was right, and the only thing I wasn't overwhelmed with was the tea, particularly the lack of a hot tea offering. No tea?!? Honestly? The unsweet tea was strong, but they only had Sweet'n'low for sweetner, which I don't really like.

        I'd go back in a heart beat.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Remsleep

          Can anyone who knows Korean food well tell me if the grittiness of the broth mentioned above is typical? It doesn't sound so appealing.

          Almost forgot my trademark question: Are they licensed for beer/wine?

          1. re: LulusMom

            I wouldn't be alarmed by it. I'm guessing that it is the undissolved bit of some sort of spice paste. Thinking about it a little more, I probably encountered similar things when I was eating cheap eats in Japan, but that was a very long time ago, so it didn't come immediately to mind.

            Pretty sure they're serving beer, although the sun wasn't over the yardarm when I was there, so I wasn't looking closely.

            1. re: LulusMom

              I didn't notice the grittiness during my first two experiences of Champon at Min Ga. Yesterday, I ordered again and paid specific attention to the broth. My guess, in agreement with Remsleep, also leads to hot pepper powder. Yet I don't think it's undissolved but simply the nature of Korean hot pepper flakes, especially when there's a lot in the broth.

          2. I’d like to share my experience so far.

            Side dishes- I’ve had about 15 different kinds of side dishes in total, 8-9 kinds each time. They have quit e a nice varieties including kimchi, stewed potato, pickled cucumber/daikon/cabage, bean sprouts, apple/celery/cucumber slaw, fish cake, shredded potato w/ sesame oil, boiled egg, scallion pancake etc. They don’t taste the same every time but always above average, which I found this variation very interesting.

            Entrees- Ask for special of day, sometimes they have hidden treasures not on the menu. Once I had Soon-dae-guk (Korean pork sausage in white broth) and Sam-gye-tang (Slow cooked whole chicken stuffed with Korean Ginseng, date, and sticky rice, served in chicken broth), very traditional and delicious. Another favorite of mine is Naengmyeon, buckwheat noodles in cold beef broth carrying a sour hint and is such a fit in record heat. Also tried topokki (stir fried rice cake) and hot dolsot bibimbap and they are good as well. The items labeled spicy is REALLY spicy, they can make it mild if needed.

            Still happily exploring the rest of the menu…

            1 Reply
            1. re: saragirl

              Excellent news! I can't wait to try this place.

            2. Has anyone else been since the last post in July? WOuld like to hear more updates please.

              2 Replies
              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                I'm thinking of stopping there for lunch today.

                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                  I've been there regularly and not much has changed since the first time I visited. Just one additional notes.
                  The cooking time could be long, be prepared to wait for 30+ minutes for the side dishes/entree. Guess it's due to there's only one chef in the kitchen. Now that I only go on weekday nights so don't experience that situation. Friends of mine who went on weekends still complained about the speed.