Tag Archives: korean food

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 – Budae Jjigae – United States

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

Amazingly, we were able to get two weekends in a row with some time for us to go out together without the kiddos (thanks, Aunt Cindy!). I said ‘hey you wanna try some more ramen?’ Kit was up for it and so we checked this place out. But it turned out that although they did have ramen, this was clearly a Korean restaurant in the middle of Bellevue. I thought ordering a Japanese dish at a Korean restaurant just seemed a little off, so I went in for something I’ve been wanting to try for a long time – only had it in instant varieties thus far, so time to try the real thing. Let’s go!

COCO 2.0 – Budae Jjigae – United States

550 106th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98004 * Website

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

The menu.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

My awesome wife Kit. Before we went here, we went to a car wash and vacuumed out the minivan. Yes, we roll in a minivan – we have two kids. We actually really like it a lot. But after many trips to Canada with the kids and passing back snacks to toddlers in the back seat, something had to be done about the sea of crumbs on the floor. An odd way to start our little romantic outing I’ll admit, but definitely nice to have a clean ride again!

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

I saw this one their online menu and thought to myself ‘finally.’ We’ve been out for Korean food many times, but never seen Budae Jjigae on the menu.

So as far as the ambiance of the place. It was pretty loud, despite not many being there. Blasting some rap (explicit versions) kind of made it a definite no-go for the label ‘family restaurant,’ and I think this place is probably pretty insane on a Friday night.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

Kit ordered some beef and chicken teriyaki, which was the first to arrive at the table. Really good!

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

We were both elated to see the inclusion of cream cheese tteokbokki on the menu. We used to frequent a little restaurant in Lynnwood called Chi Mc ‘n Hot Pot which had Korean bar food – and they had this dish. This one was more of a carbonara styled version whereas the original was with crabmeat.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

Another favorite of our was the seafood pancake – always something worth getting. At this point I noticed something. No banchan. Where’s the banchan?! What’s banchan? Well, when you go out for Korean food usually you are presented with an array of little dishes with little things little kimchi, pickled radish, marinated vegetables, etc. Usually about eight or so of them. Not here.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

Holy moly (click to enlarge). Wow – this looks fascinating. The ramyun noodle was just right – thick and chewy. Broth was strong but had that smack of bitter aftertaste I generally am not a big fan of. Heat level was on point – very strong and spicy. While the menu mentioned cheese, I really didn’t detect any, which was a little disappointing. But the sheer amount of different inclusions in here was just amazing and wonderful. Kimchi was great, soft tofu, salami, SPAM, – it goes on and on. No macaroni or beans however, which I has expected from the instants I’ve had. Long story short, this was quite good and definitely recommended. 3.75 out of 5.0 stars.

Let’s delve into what budae jjigae is.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

Okay (click to enlarge) so budae jjigae translates to ‘troop stew.’ After the Korean War, US Troops left behind lots of the foods that they had brought. Some including pork and beans, SPAM, sausage – basically things that would last a long time. Well, the Koreans incorporated them into this dish.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

A side shot of the bowl (click to enlarge). Did I eat it all? Oh God no – this was a lot of food!

Pounding A Plate Of Paldo Volcano Curry Kokomen

I was sent these by Anders and Ji-Min to try a few weeks back and although I’m not posting the review today, I thought it would be fun to do a video and put it out there.

Here you go – time to pound a plate of noodles!

#1322: Hi-Myon Instant Noodle Udon Hot & Spicy

Here’s one a got quite a while back. It’s a cold day out and I picked up some squid yesterday to try out for the first time. I’ve eaten squid before, but never prepared it myself.

I’ve been wondering for a long time – what is this stuff? It looks like pine cone or some special cut vegetable. after asking around and researching I found out – it’s squid. Basically, you take a strip of squid and cut lines in a checkerboard pattern into the surface. Once boiled, it curls up and looks like this. I decided I must give this a try! I guess we’ll see how it goes! On with the review.

Here’s the distributor’s sticker (click image to enlarge). Contains fish.

The back of the package (click image to enlarge). To prepare, boil 350ml water. Add contents of liquid sachet. Add noodles and cook for 1 minute. Add contents of vegetables sachet. Enjoy!

The noodle block.

The liquid base sachet.

Dark and thick.

The vegetable sachet.

Lots of neat looking bits and pieces in there.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Hey look – the squid came out nicely! Added sweet onion, squid, Busan fish cake, kamaboko, shrimp and Fresno chilli pepper. The noodles are your standard South Korean fresh udon variety – nice gauge and good texture. They’re chewy and hearty. The broth is sweet and has a little heat to it. The added bits were very good – lots of flavor and textures throughout and the quantity was very nice. 4.0 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 8801068074550.

One of my absolute favorite things in the world is banchan. Banchan is an intergral part of the Korean traditional meal. This short documentary is perfect, except for one thing – you can’t put your hand into the screen with a pair of chopsticks and try it! I recommend finding a local Korean restaurant and giving it a try.

Spicy Noodle Soup From Dumpling House

Yesterday my wife and I were out and about. I needed to find some fresh squid for an upcoming review and we went to KS Mart, a large Korean market in Lynnwood, Washington. We were hungry, and decided to check out the little restaurants inside (it’s common for Korean grocery stores to have small restaurants inside). We decided to give Dumpling House a try.

This line on the menu caught my eye. Jjampong!

Here’s what I was served (click image to enlarge). This was like a religious experience in a bowl! Lots of seafood and great broth and noodles. A lot of food to be sure. The spiciness was reasonable and the chilli peppers in there were lethal – I ate one and decided to just let them be after that!

So if you’re in the Lynnwood/Everett/Edmonds area, you should really check this place out for a bowl of spicy noodles. Like I said above, they’re inside KS Mart, which is also a great place to find a myriad of South Korean instant noodles, snacks and everything you could imagine.

#1290: Nongshim Sain Sain Garlic Teriyaki Fresh Cooked Udon Pasta

In March of 2012, I tried this new Garlic Teriyaki Udon by Nongshim – review #683. It was really great stuff – my wife Kit absolutely loved it (she doesn’t usually go crazy like I do for noodles, but this one was her fave). Well, a little while later, it was discontinued. Well, now it’s back and a little different. The first one had a whopping 3040mg of sodium per pack, but this new one has only 720mg for the whole thing. Let’s see how this one stacks up against the old version.

The back of the package (click image to enlarge). Contains tuna. To prepare, put the contents of the noodle pouch into the supplied bowl. Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Add contents of flake and paste sachets and combine. Enjoy!

The fresh udon noodle pouch.

Soup paste sachet.

Less of a paste, more of a sauce.

The dry ingredient sachet.

Interesting stuff!

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added thin sliced beef, pineapple, garlic and shredded colby jack cheese. The noodles were great – excellent chewiness and nice wide udon gauge. The flavor was quite good – sweet and coated everything. It is hard to not compare this to the older version; the older version was a little better in my opinion. The cheese powder was so good with it, however it added so much sodium that it left me very sleepy. What I like about this version is that you can add whatever kind of cheese you like or none at all. 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 031146016341.

While the noodles in this review are made in South Korea, many of the varieties we get here in the USA are made in the USA. Nongshim USA is in Rancho Cucamonga, California! Here’s a tour of their plant – a tour I was very fortunate to take in 2012.

#1283: Nongshim Oolongmen Kimchi Cup Noodle Soup Mix

Seems like it’s been a while since I’ve reviewed something from Nongshim. Well, let’s check out this one – and it’s kimchi flavor!

The side panels (click image to enlarge). Contains beef.

Detail of the lid (click image to enlarge). To prepare, open lid halfway, add contents of sachet, add boiling water to line and re-cover for 3 minutes. Stir and enjoy!

The noodle block.

Soup base sachet.

Soup base powder.

Vegetables and pieces of kamaboko.


Finished (click image to enlarge). Added cheese, kimchi, sauteed thin sliced beef, green onion and egg. The noodles are good – thicker gauge than most cup varieties and a very comfort food feel. The broth is tasty and not extremely spicy. Does have a kimchi flavor to it. The veggies hydrate well and the kamaboko when hydrated was actually some of the nest I’ve had in an instant. 4.0 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 031146271238.

A great recipe for making your own kimchi at home!

#1272: Samyang Foods Baked Noodle Spicy Grilled Beef Ramyun

Happy New Year to everyone! Thought after I did my 2.3 mile walk I’d come home and try some South Korean ramyun! This is one of Samyang Foods’ new baked noodle line. 2013 was the 50th anniversary of ramyun coming to South Korea. Let’s see what this new one is like!

The back of the package (click image to enlarge). To prepare, add noodles to 500ml boiling water for 4 minutes. Add sachet contents.

The noodle block.

Soup base powder sachet.

A good amount of it and it’s spicy as well.

A large sachet – but what’s inside?

Wow – a very nice assortment of vegetables!


What did we do for New Year’s Eve? Well, we did dig the dog’s clothes out of the closet.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added beef, egg yolk, green onion, cheese and kimchi. The noodles have a very nice bounciness when chewed – they’re great! A little different from the ramyun I’m used to but in no way negatively. The broth is good as well – strong, rich and spicy. The vegetables were pretty good too. 3.5 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 8801073112964.

Here’s a video about South Korean street foods – part of the ‘Kimchi Chronicles’ series that was on PBS last year.

Recipe: Stir Budalk Bokkumyeon

I saw a recipe that sounded interesting a few weeks ago, and decided I wanted to try it. The issue: I only had one bowl of Samyang Foods’ Budalk Bokkumyeon, a fiery and spicy fest whose close relative the package version made the Top Ten Spiciest Instant Noodles Of All Time 2013 list. I emailed Samyang Foods about it and they kindly sent some as well as some other new varieties.

Stir Budalk Bokkummyeon


  • 1 bowl Samyang Foods Budalk Bokkumyeon
  • 1 Traiangle kimbap
  • 1 slice Cheddar cheese

Here’s everything I’ll be using.

It’s hot and spicy, but the additions to it will cool it down a bit.

If you haven’t seen these, inside the wraps are triangle shaped rice with tunafish in the middle. You can find them at most South Korean grocery stores along with kimbap that comes in a roll which looks a lot like sushi.

I was told that most cheddar cheese in South Korea tends to be white in color, so thought I’d go with a white cheddar.


1. Prepare the noodle bowl by removing the two sachets and adding boiling water. Poke holes in the top to drain off the water after a few minutes (except for about two tablespoonfuls). The red sachet is the spicy sauce that is stirred in with the noodles which the other contains sesame seeds and short pieces of seaweed.

2. Once the noodles are drained, add the sauce and stir – a lot! Get everything combined well.

3. Drop the triangle kimbap on top and them combine it with the noodles – it breaks up pretty easily. Add some cheese on top and the contents of the sesame seed and seaweed sachet.

Finished (click image to enlarge). The kimbap and cheese chill out the extreme heat of the Budalk Bokkumyeon. You can also add yellow radish to cool it down even more. Thanks to the folks at Samyang Foods for sending me what I needed to try this out! I’ll be doing a review of the bowl itself very soon!

#1160: Samyang Foods Chacharoni

Gotta love the name. This is a South Korean combination of Jjajang (a black bean dish) and noodles. They usually end up nice and hearty with just a sauce and no broth. Let’s check it out!

Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge).

The noodle block.

The sauce packet.

Has a rich black bean scent.

The solid ingredient packet.

Some bits of veg and textured vegetable protein.


Finished (click image to enlarge). Added sauteed Walla Walla sweet onion, peas, corn and beef. The noodles are very wide and chewy.- very hearty. The chajang sauce coats everything nicely and is almost meaty although it’s not full of meat. With summer pretty much over, this is a good one for the colder months. 3.75 out of 5.0 stars.UPC bar code 8801073101524.

A Chacharoni advertisement from the 80’s.

#1113: Samyang Foods 三養라면 (Samyang Ramyun) (SK Version)

Today, it’s a South Korean classic cup. These guys were the very first to introduce ramyun in South Korea back in 1963! I did a Meet The Manufacturer with Samyang Foods- here’s what they have to say about cups:

3) Cup (Bowl) Ramyun
In March 1972, Samyang Foods launched Cup Ramyun. (In Korea, people actually do not differentiate between Bowl Ramyun and Cup Ramyun. They just call everything big cup ramyun or small cup ramyun.)
Nissin  was the first company which developed cup ramyun in the world in 1971 and Samyang Foods introduced it in 1972.

You can read the rest of my interview with Samyang Foods here. Let’s check out this cup ramyun!

Here are the side panels (click image to enlarge). May contain beef.

The noodle block.

The seasoning powder packet.

The red-orange powder that is synonymous with South Korean ramyun. Spicy and rich.

Here is some of the bits from the bottom of the cup. Veggies and some bits of either beef or (most likely) TVP (textured vegetable protein).


Finished (click image to enlarge). Added beef, Vidalia sweet onions and kimchi I sauteed and some green onions. The noodles are a little thinner than the pack version, but have a nice chew and texture. The broth has a nice bit of spiciness and rich flavor. The bits of TVP hydrated well as did the small amount of vegetable. 3.5 out of 5.0 stars.UPC bar code 8801073102743.

Starting at the 3m20s point, here’s a nice story about South Korean’s ramyun’s 50th anniversary – they even mentioned me in it wow!

#1105: Nongshim Doong Ji Authentic Korean Cold Noodles With Chili Sauce

Here’s one that I’ve waiting to review for a while. This is a variety specifically marketed for the summer months – cold South Korean noodles! Thought I’d consult Wikipedia to give some more information on South Korean cold noodle dishes:

Bibim guksu, a cold dish made with very thin wheat flour noodles called somyeon with added flavorings, is one of the most popular traditional noodle dishes in Korean cuisine. It is also called guksu bibim or goldong myeon, all of which literally mean “stirred noodles” or “mixed noodles”. [1] The dish is especially popular during summer.

There are many kinds of cold noodle dishes in Korea, including one made with cold beef broth; however, spicy cold noodles have historically been appreciated by spice-loving people in Korea and recognized internationally. What makes this dish so distinct from other cold noodle dishes from different cultures is the strong spicy flavor produced from the combination of red pepper powder, gochujang, and minced garlic, along with a sweet-and-sour flavor created by vinegar and sugar. Most spicy cold noodles are prepared with haszing duu and a slight touch of sesame oil to enhance the richness of its flavor.

Typically the dish would be prepared by stir frying diced beef, julienned pickled cucumbers, and mushrooms in sesame oil, which is all mixed together with the cooked noodles, soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds and sugar. Garnishes placed on top and around the spicy noodles include hard-boiled eggs, pickled mu, dried gim strips, sliced cucumbers, and sometimes sliced Korean pear or tomato.[1][2]

Sounds like something that’d be great today – supposed to be pretty warm! Let’s give it a try.

Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). Contains wheat, soybean and pollock.

Buckwheat gives these noodles their dark brown color. Usually when you order naengmyeon, another cold noodle dish, it is served at a restaurant with a pair of scissors to cut the noodles into manageable lengths – works well here as well.

The veggies and solid ingredients.

The larger bits are the Korean pear.

The chili sauce packet.

Nice color and a spicy scent.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added green onion, hard boiled egg, roast beef and a little sliced kimchi on the side. The noodles are nice – they have a chewiness you can only get from buckwheat and chillling them makes their texture tighten up – only words I can think to describe. The flavoring is great – spicy and slightly sweet – and there more than enough of the sauce to coat all the noodles. The pear is great too – chewy and flavorful. All in all quite nice! 5.0 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 031146158164.