Hyeongje Korean joins growing list of Pan-Asian fare to be found in Grand Valley
Grand Junction can now put another push-pin on the map of Pan-Asian cuisines it offers.
Hyeongje (pronounced hyun-jay) Restaurant opened two months ago on North Avenue, the only joint in the area to serve Korean cuisine.
We have Chinese, Thai, Japanese traditional and sushi, Vietnamese, Taiwanese (Mongolian barbecue) and now Korean. I don’t know if the area is ready for Filipino, yet. They serve some odd delicacies.
Hyeongje is located in a strip mall. The clean, Spartan appearance of the restaurant includes a few decorative items reminiscent of the home country, Korean dolls and framed children’s traditional clothing.
I couldn’t begin to pronounce most of the names on the menu, but each has a pretty good description.
Every table is served four sides of cold vegetables in small dishes that include pickled vegetables, mung bean sprouts, sautéed spinach, radish and kimchi, a fermented cabbage dish ingrained in the culture. Most of the sides are spiced with a hot pepper paste. Hot but not too hot. Rice, of course, is served liberally.
Hyeongje started out serving seaweed, but our server told us most reluctant diners pushed it away, so they replaced it with spinach.
We visited twice and tried the short ribs, dumplings, a noodle dish and another Korean stir-fry called tteokpokki.
The egg-drop soup was recommended by a friend who said it was more flavorful than the Chinese variety, so we added that to the order. He was right. The soup had a very oniony undertone and more substance.
The short ribs are not what you’d normally encounter because they are cross-cut with two or three bites apiece. They are slightly fatty by American standards — not necessarily bad in my book — and have a well-blended taste of sweet, sour, spicy and salty.
Mondu, the deep-fried dumplings, were stuffed with a mash of beef and vegetables with a subtle fish flavor and served with a vinegary-soy and sesame sauce.
Our least favorite was the stir-fry made of rice cakes, o dang fish cake and vegetables. I should have stuck to something more familiar.
And lastly, we enjoyed a dish my co-worker described as “approachable.” The chopchae, which I call No. 5, is a colorful mainly vegetarian dish comprised of cellophane noodles, mixed veggies, shiitake mushrooms and smattering of beef.
Hyeongje is a playground for the inquisitive diner, and we had fun exploring the tastes. It doesn’t hurt that we left without feeling rolly-polly, knowing that we had our USDA recommended servings of vegetables for several days ahead. My mother and Michelle Obama would have been proud.
EXCESSIVE CONSUMPTION: The average U.S. adult consumes 22.2 teaspoons — or 355 calories — of sugar every day, according to United Press International. Nutritionists say women should consume no more than 6.25 teaspoons daily; men, no more than 9.4 teaspoons.
TO TIP OR NOT TO TIP: As the eternal debate over tipping plays out in The Daily Sentinel’s “You Said It” feature, one Brooklyn man who delivers food on his bicycle has taken his vitriol to a new level.
Larry Fox created a blog called 15 percent, on which he publicly names and shames his cheap customers. Examples:
“(Name redacted) at (address redacted) tipped me one dollar to bring him a sandwich during a hail/rain/thunderstorm. Thanks (redacted)!
“Couldn’t find address. Dropped your food a few times, whoops.”
QUOTE: “It’s people. Soylent green is made out of people. They’re making our food out of people!” — Detective Thorn in “Soylent Green”
# # #
Send tips and ideas to Tess.Furey@ gjsentinel.com.