Lunch at Korea House in Concord

by foodhoe on January 10, 2010

1835 Willow Pass Road, Concord, CA 94520 (925) 691-8888

It’s high time for me to begin chronicling my lunchtime foraging in Concord, so I’ll begin with a favorite called Korea House.  I’ve posted about this before, but I keep getting recommendations for this place, and everyone mentions the lady with the hair who comes around to your table to feed you.  I furtively took a picture so that you can see her elaborately coiffed splendor… it’s multihued, teased and defies gravity.  Secretly, I call her mama-san.  She comes around to the table, wielding  a pair of freshly opened chopsticks and generally targets a man at the table.  She picks up a bit of this and that and proceeds to feed a delicious taste to the lucky object of her attention.  She made an effort to figure out what kind of Asian we were and from then on, she spoke Japanese to us and now she always thanks us in Japanese when she brings the bill.

Anyways, onto the food.  One thing I’ve noticed is that they no longer give you a great variety of banchan, but the plates you get are large and they bring refills when you finish up one of the plates.  I think that they have narrowed down the dishes to suit the tastes of their customers, and we are generally content with this selection.

This is one of my favorites, it’s called acorn jelly and has a buttery, silky texture that becomes fantastic when combined with soy, green onions, chili flakes, sesame oil and seeds.

The thin strips of fried fish cakes are slightly sweet and very good combined with the other savory and salty items.

You can always count on getting a pile of pungent, spicy kimchee.

We also love the tiny dried anchovies that are sticky sweet and savory and mixed in with spicy red chili flakes – excellent on white rice.

Once we got this nice plate of crunchy greens that was almost like a kimchee salad.  Very crisp and refreshing.

The stack of crisp toasted nori has a delicious coating of sesame oil and is sprinkled with salt which is addictive to snack on

but even better used to roll up a little bit of rice, kimchee and stuff.

So, while the selection is a bit skimpy, it suffices.  We feasted like kings before the main dishes ever arrived.  The lunchtime bento special is quite a deal because you get the bento which includes jap chae noodles, tempura, marinated bean sprouts, salad and a big scoop of rice, and that’s not all.  All this comes with a plate of grilled meat or fish for under $10.

Grilled chicken, which I always think is coated with a little bit too much teriyaki like sauce.  It comes on a sizzling hot plate and is served over sliced onions.

Thick meaty slices of beef short ribs, Kalbi.

Grilled Mackerel is seasoned simply with salt and then grilled.  I thought it was magnificent.  The outside is slightly crispy and the flesh was juicy and tender and very good with a squeeze of lemon and drizzled with soy sauce.

Fried Fish came with a sweet and sour dipping sauce.

I like to order the Spicy Rice Cake with Beef, Dukbokki, which is the korean equivalent of macaroni and cheese.  The rice sticks are cooked until they are soft and squishy and absorb the garlicky spicy sauce.

I love the mushroom tofu soup, Soondubu, especially in the winter when it’s cold out.  It is a bubbling cauldron of spicy hot, soul-satisfying elixir that feels like it will burn out any possible chill in the air.  The server will crack open an egg into the soup, which adds a rich luxurious silky feel to the spicy stew.

I always waddle out of here, there’s more food than a person can realistically consume in one meal, and a bargain too for about $10.  The mama-san always yells out, “Thank you, see you tomorrow!!” when you walk out the door.

Korea House on Urbanspoon

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa January 10, 2010 at 11:09 pm

Wow, that’s cheap! What gorgeous food. No wonder you waddle out of the place ;-P…


.-= Rosa´s last blog ..WEEKEND CAT BLOGGING #240 =-.


grace January 11, 2010 at 7:40 am

that’s what i call a serving of ribs!! gadzooks! and this acorn jelly concoction intrigues me very much–great post!
.-= grace´s last blog ..the rest is just gravy =-.


hungry dog January 11, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Looks awesome. I love the photo of the tofu soup! And the ribs. And the acorn jelly…what the heck? I want to try this place but since it’s in Walnut Creek it’s unlikely. I’ll have to live through you, Foodhoe!
.-= hungry dog´s last blog ..Kentucky buckeyes =-.


Juliana January 11, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Did I read it right? $10? That is amazing…in our area is about $17 and I thought that was cheap…all the food look absolutely yummie…love the rice cake 🙂


Gastronomer January 11, 2010 at 4:54 pm

What a magnificent place to be a regular! So cheap, so tasty. I am obsessed with Dukbokki! I hope to learn how to make soon.


Kirk January 11, 2010 at 11:38 pm

Hi FH – Man, those prices can’t be beat!


rowena January 12, 2010 at 2:22 am

So, so glad to see you back on a roll. I’ve marked this in my reader just in case I’m in the area, if ever. 10 bucks! Hot dang, what a delicious deal!


Single Guy Ben January 12, 2010 at 10:58 am

That mama san’s hair is crazy. I’m kind of afraid to go there as a man just because I think I’m too old to be fed by someone else! Otherwise, the food does look yummy. Funny,that fish photo initially I thought was a close up of a chicken wing! :p
.-= Single Guy Ben´s last blog ..Spam, The Sequel: Fried Rice Recipe =-.


Cookie January 12, 2010 at 4:23 pm

What a feast! I love going to Korean restaurants just for the side dishes! Kimchee has always been my favorite, but recently I’ve discovered that I like the jelly and tofu strips too. I also LOVE the radishes!
.-= Cookie´s last blog ..Panini #2 =-.


Carolyn Jung January 12, 2010 at 7:30 pm

The Korean equivalent of mac ‘n’ cheese — I LOVE that! It’s so true, too. Spicy, soft and a little sweet, I can’t get enough of that noodle dish, either.
.-= Carolyn Jung´s last blog ..The Tale of a Bowl of Noodles =-.


Su-Lin January 13, 2010 at 12:15 pm

You’ve just reminded me that I haven’t had Korean food in ages! I wanted to lick my screen when I saw that photo of the seaweed, rice, kimchee, anchovy wrap. And the soondubu!
.-= Su-Lin´s last blog ..Feasting for New Year’s =-.


foodhoe January 13, 2010 at 11:41 pm

rosa, yes I always waddle out of there…
thanks grace, you should try it one day!
hungry dog, you have so many options over there in the city
juliana, it really is a deal – I love it too, it’s my new favorite
gastronomer, I’m looking to you to find the best recipe
kirk, but not as good as your 2 soondubu for $9!
rowena, hot dang is right!
cookie, I love the flavors too
single guy ben, she would zero in on you
carolyn, those squishy noodles are unforgettable.
su-lin, me too!


Kingston January 17, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Wow… makes me want to go back. This is a few blocks away from Q-zar. Mmm… Laser tag and delicious Korean Food. Nice post!
.-= Kingston´s last blog ..Kobe Japanese Cuisine and Bar – Foster City =-.


aoife mc January 18, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Holy moly, that all looks amazing, especially that acorn jelly stuff. And obviously, “mama-san” looks like a total hero. Amazing!
.-= aoife mc´s last blog ..Fish for breakfast? Geddoudaheere! =-.


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