Name: Koreana Restaurant
City: Philadelphia, PA
Place: 3801 Chestnut St. Philadelphia, PA 19104
***** – “Oh mamaaaaa!”
$$ – Cheap enough to double up on dessert!
As fall is quickly approaching, it’s starting to get a bit nippy out, especially at night. During chilly nights, sometimes, you don’t want to cook and you just want a quick, hot, yummy meal. In West Philly, that go-to, quick, warm-you-up restaurant is Koreana Restaurant.
I always get the Pork Jeyook Dol Sot. This sizzling hot pot has rice on the bottom and pork, vegetables, and a fried egg on top with the yolk still liquidy. That first bite and you yelp, “OH MAMAAAAA!” not sure if you’re saying it because of the heat or of the deliciousness, maybe because of both! The burning bowl of heat causes the rice to crisp up at the bottom which is great to scrape off and taste that crunchy, delectable, but not burnt rice. Remember to poke the yolk of the fried egg right when you get it, so that the yolk adds some more flavor to the rice. Otherwise, the yolk will cook itself in the heat and lose its liquidness. The vegetables mixed in are green onions, carrots, and kimchee. They give you cold kimchee on the side, but I like that it’s already included in the hot bowl as it gets blazing hot from the high temperature of the bowl. The dish is not only blistering in temperature, but the vegetables are smothered in a spicy red sauce that adds the extra kick to the dish to keep you warm from your first bite until the end. Hot + spicy = great meal on a chilly day/night. This dish will warm you up no matter how cold you are; I guarantee it! A simple broth similar to miso soup accompanies the dish on the side, so you can wash it all down smoothly.
Koreana also sells bubble tea as well and they have my favorite flavor: passion fruit. It’s a lot of flavoring and most likely not made from real passion fruit, but still, it’s quite refreshing. They have the exploding bubbles that have juice that squirts out when you bite into them for an extra cool delight. Thus, you can counteract all the heat from your meal if you need it or have that balance between warmth and refreshing invigoration.
I do have to point out two complaints that bring the experience down a bit sometimes. My first complaint is the space. We’ve had to leave a couple of times, because there just wasn’t enough room for us. It’s heartbreaking to look forward to a yummy meal that will warm you up, only to be turned away by the huge lines and no chairs to sit. The second complaint is that they run out of water occasionally, and sometimes, your mouth needs a cool-down and you have to wait. Despite some of its faults, on cold nights, this place really hits the spot. That’s why it still earns the ***** – “Oh mamaaaaa!” rating. It earns a $$ – Cheap enough to double up on dessert! rating on price as the Pork Jeyook Dol Sot is reasonably priced at $8.25 and the bubble teas cost $3.50 for a large which isn’t bad. It’s not the best Korean food I’ve ever had, but it’s the best warm-you-up restaurant around. If you ain’t filled with glee, your meal is on me!
Thank you to the whole crew for accompanying me on countless memorable meals here!