Won Jo BBQ and Noodle Restaurant
105-508 Clark Road
The chill is definitely in the air in the Lower Mainland now after our fantastic summer. Perfect time to switch my focus onto hot stews, soups and hearty, filling meals. Thankfully, Korean cuisine has many choices when it comes to dishes like this…
Won Jo can be found in a strip mall along Clarke Road, just a few blocks south of Burquitlam shopping plaza. Parking in front is limited but there are more spaces towards the back, as well as a separate entrance from that side as well (pictured above).
Tastefully decorated with some eye catching, older era replica pieces of artwork and decorations, seating stretches from back to front, with banquette booths and tables with chairs.
The feature page of the menu booklet had a listing of four different kalguksu (hand-cut noodles in broth with other ingredients) offerings. Highlighted as their specialty, this was what we were after. Reasonably priced at $8.99 per person for any of them, quite the bang-for-the-buck proposition.
Once we decided on our order of the original seafood variant, called haemul kalguksu, we were quickly given a freebie sampler to get our appetite revved up, not that it was needed as we were both quite hungry. A small plate containing some steamed rice topped with some “matchsticks” of daikon kimchi and Korean gim (roasted, salted laver) was brought to our table. A nice way to get our minds thinking about our late lunch.
Then came an earthen bowl containing what turned out to be some of the best cabbage kimchi I’ve ever had in Vancouver. The flavours of this was simply amazing, very deep and packed full of punch. Not overly spicy so for those less familiar with this, easily manageable. As you can see, it also looked fantastic!
Next, the main event. Our server them came out with this huge stainless steel cooking vessel, filled with broth and clams. Put over the burner built into the table, it quickly came to boil, at which point the main ingredients were placed inside.
A mound of the homemade wheat noodles, shrimp, mushrooms, green onions, carrots, etc. was a generous serving for two.
This was quickly covered up with the lid and we were told to wait some time to allow the noodles to cook inside. The wait time was excruciating, as the scent of the broth soon escaped from the pot and engulfed our table. I couldn’t help but peak inside a few times by lifting the lid.
Soon enough, the noodles floated to the top signaling it was time to eat. Smaller serving bowls were provided to eat, while the main pot was brought down to a very low simmer. The broth had fully encapsulated the essence of the seafood ingredients, creating a flavourful but still light liquid. The noodles held up quite well in terms of their texture and didn’t become too soft and limp.
In the end, we struggled to finish it all, I was surprised with how filling the noodles were. I’ll definitely go back and try some of their other kalguksu dishes.