If you ask me what my favorite style of cooking is, it’ll change by the week. But one style that I’d list rather regularly would be Korean food. I didn’t have easy access to Korean food growing up. It wasn’t popular in Massachusetts for reasons I’ll never understand, unlike it’s Americanized Chinese food counterpart. When we moved to Southern California a lot more styles of cuisine became available. But also like most things in Santa Barbara, you pay a lot for very little. The one exception was a tiny restaurant in Isla Vista (where everything had to be inexpensive because UCSB is located there) had Chinese, Japanese, and Korean food. The Chinese and Japanese food were passable, but the Korean food was exceptional because the owners were Korean and knew what it should taste like. I ate there often and was really sad when they closed.
Moving up to Portland, I now have access to all sorts of cuisines, so I set about trying to find another Korean restaurant. Once again the Oregonian came through with the article Korean food recommendation.
A small place called Duh Ku Bee stood out. Korean food, check. Tiny, check. Inexpensive, check. Okay sounds good. All I needed was an excuse. Diana thinking she’s coming down with a cold, and her husband Adam who had rough day of job searching. It was the only excuse we needed.
We had to wait, which was understandable since the place is located in downtown Beaverton and has at most twelve tables. It’s a literal hole in the wall with nothing but a flimsy curtain separating you from the kitchen. It was totally packed but they went out of their way to make room for us by sticking a folding chair next to a two-top table. Our plan for a simple plate of dumplings and some rice went right out the window when we read through the menu. We ended up ordering dumplings, chicken gizzards with onions, the house specialty hand made noodles with bulgogi (“fire meat” in Korean), and kim chi fried rice, washed down with some Korean beer.
The Dumplings and chicken gizzards came out quickly and all three of us were starved since we had planned to go here all day. The dumplings were hand-made as well, so kind of fragile, and loaded with natural juices. Totally delicious. I’m glad Adam and Diana are more adventurous eaters because I wouldn’t have ordered the chicken gizzards. They had a deep meaty flavor that was perfectly complimented by the onions and sweet, salty sauce. We thought we’d fill up with this course but everything tasted so good we just wanted more.
The hand pulled noodles with bulgogi were what I was looking forward to most and I wasn’t disappointed. Hand made noodles have a unique taste and texture. Moreover these weren’t drowned in gooey sauce that hid their appeal. The bulgogi, while also nice, was almost unnecessary.
The kimchi fried rice was some of the best I’ve ever had: rich, spicy and with really full flavor. All in all it was hard to believe this whole meal cost us only $60 with a significant quantity of beer for three people. This may actually finally give Lardo a run for our go-to food-based comfort zone.