"Hi! This is Vicky posting about her latest meal. She is extremely honored to be invited by Kirk to blog on mmm-Yoso!"
H and I stopped in Chon Ju Jip on Convoy last night to finally try out this restaurant. It's owned by a lady named Yong Rivers, and we first met her when we ate at Golden Crown in Mira Mesa. She's this funny happy Korean lady that would always call H a camel because of all the water he'd drink while eating spicy Korean food and would proceed to give him a pitcher of water so he could pour his own water. A couple weeks ago, we finally saw Yong at Golden Crown again and told her we missed her when we found out that she had left Golden Crown and was now venturing out and opening her own restaurant on Convoy. We promised her we'd visit and try it out and after some hugs, we went out seperate ways. While Golden Crown (for a later post) is a wonderful Korean restaurant for Korean food with a Chinese influence, Chon Ju Jip was strictly Korean food by itself. It was as Korean as it could get.
It's located in the same strip mall as Convoy Tofu House and Thai House. When we got there, there was a slight wait since all the tables were taken. I took that opportunity to survey everyone's dishes and the panchan. It looked pretty promising. We got seated and opened up the menu... Unfortunately half of the menu was in Korean with no translation so we had Yong briefly go over it. I ended up ordering the "Oh Jing Uh Bok Kum" and H ordered the "Kimchi Chige." Service was prompt and polite, cups of iced barley tea was brought out along with the assortment of panchan.
They had a large assortment in these pretty little dishes. The napa kimchi was perfectly tangy - just sour enough to make my mouth water. My favorite was mushroom stirfry panchan (in the far left corner... or the one of two dishes that wasn't bright red!) The mushroom medley of oysters and shiitakes were well cooked and flavorful; full of woodsy earth tones. The rest of the panchan was very well done, I didn't care as much for the plain daikon half circles floating in the middle. Eater beware though, they are colored red for a reason. Like H said, this place isn't for the faint of hearts. The spicy panchan here really awakes the tastebuds.
After grazing through our first round of panchan, my dish arrived. It's a dish of squid/calamari stirfryed with some veggies and a few rice cakes in this spicy red sauce. Unfortunately, the picture didn't turn out as I just found out right now... Bummer! My hands shook as I took it and it's just a big red blob. The dish was flavored with ginger overtones along with the heat from the chili peppers. The calamari was tender and perfectly al dente - I've had many calamari dishes where the chefs cooked it too long and it was like eating a piece of rubber. The calamari here was perfect! The service here was excellent, the servers brough refills of panchan without even having to be asked. After a refill of mushrooms and the little sardine fish panchan, H's's Kimchi Chige arrived. It is a basic stable of pork and kimchi all stewed together with some vegetables.
It came while still boiling in this red hot bubbling broth flavorful goodness! The soup was tangy from the kimchi and the pork added some texture. It was topped with a bunch of enoki mushrooms that slowly cooked in. It was warm and satisfying, perfect for a cold night. The only downside is that the heat from the dishes was on the extreme side. H and I usually eat pretty spicy dishes, I'll much my way through a couple jalepenos while I eat my dumplings and the dishes tonight were a pretty close second in terms of spicyness. True to form, Yong gave H his personal pitcher of barley tea. After he finished off the restaurant pitcher sized, she brought him a mini pitcher. So cute!
From the looks how how packed the place was, I think Yong's doing well. The food was excellent, the service was great. We were the only non-Korean in there that night, so I'm guessing the restaurant caters to mostly the Korean crowd. I have pictures of the menu that I took so I could get my friend A to tell me the English translations. I'll post that up as soon as I get them so in the future, those who aren't proficient wouldn't do what I had to do; "can I have whatever she's having over there? where's that on the menu?"
Chun Ju Jip
4373 Convoy Street
San Diego, CA 92111