When the weather started turning a bit a couple of weeks ago, the Missus was quite happy....it's getting to be that time of the year again, ramen, stews, and hot pots galore. Her favorite time of the years for eating. One evening She was in the mood for Heukyumso Jungol, Korean Black Goat Stew. The last couple of times we've had that dish, it had been at Grandma's Tofu and BBQ, this time I thought we should check out Chon Ju Jip since it had been a while since we last visited.
The place is looking a tad worse for wear and looking over the menu we noticed that many of the dishes don't have English translations, just Korean and Romanized Korean names. In this case the dish was Romanized as Huk Yum So Jun Gol - $29.99, the same price as Grandma's. The women working here are pretty much all business and the place seems even more "old school" then I remember, with our server picking and cleaning bean sprouts between serving customers.
The panchan where is served in the Korean style, along with your food. They ranged from ok to below average....I'm not sure if my tastes have changed a whole lot, but some of this was really salty.
We were given some "sauce" on the side...the typical sesame oil based sauce and kochujung was accompanied with a smear of wasabi. This was a new one for us.
This was a hearty, very rustic version of Heukyumso Jungol. It was stick-to-your-ribs thick and full of vegetables and quite a bit of goat. The goat was very gamey and some of it on the tough side.....but no one would ever call this bland. This was a bit saltier than the version at Grandma's, where we've gotten into the (appropriate) habit of adding sea salt to our dishes.
As with Grandma's, there was enough left over to form another meal the next day. This was so thick that it formed a pretty solid block. I added more water, kochujung, sesame oil, salt, and all the other stuff (tofu, greens, enoki mushrooms, kurobuta sausage, etc...) to build another meal for us.
Chon Ju Jip is kind of hidden away on Convoy....so we always forget about the place. I'm sure we'll check them out again soon.
Chon Ju Jip
4373 Convoy Street
San Diego, CA 92111
A couple of nights later, we decided to check out the Heokyumso Jeongol at Grandma's....for comparison sake......
First off; we thought the panchan here was much better....nothing amazing, but just better overall. As for the Heokyumso Jeongol. Well, this version has less meat, but it much more tender, there's more "skin" which I just love.
While not being more thick and hearty, this has a bit more heat, but lacks a bit of the complexity in terms of savory and acidity that the version at Chon Ju Jip has....we always end up dumping the baechu kimchi into the broth to add a more savory tone. Of course adding your own salt is a must as well. The version at Grandma's is lighter, and there's more "soup".....which also ends up being a second meal for us.
Strangely, the base flavors are the same, but when you get down to it, the two versions are quite different. Ironically, what Chon Ju Jip serves seems more like something Grandma would make, while Grandma's is much more refined, but also more subtle and refined.
Grandma's Tofu & BBQ
4425 Convoy St.
San Diego, CA 92111
As for which we prefer....well....I think I'll need to research this a few more times!