Chan Chan: A Restaurant Review

Staff Writer

Chan Chan, a newly opened restaurant on Culver Dr., Irvine, attempted and achieved a taste of authentic Korean food. And what better way could it achieve that than by serving street-style Korean food. I went with my family at 3:30 p.m., off-peak hours. The process of ordering was quite unique. Unlike traditionally ordering food once seated, we ordered our food at the front, grabbed our seats and then awaited its arrival.

The first dish to come to our table was the Chan Chan kimbap, a twist on traditional Korean “sushi.” The shape of the rolls were elongated and more colorful than traditional kimbap that are thinly sliced. The roll consisted of a vibrant pink pickled radish, imitation crab, cucumber, and rice wrapped in a nori sheet. The dish came with two dipping sauces and a few side dishes, such as radish kimchi and pickled radish. I liked the twist the dish had on an otherwise traditional common Korean dish, with the sauces and colorful ingredients. The dish came in generous portions with ten rolls. The next item to arrive at our table was the Chan Chan (spicy sweet soy) fried wings. This dish came with cubed pickled radish and shredded cabbage along with sauce that could be served on the wings or left on the side. The wings came with a lot of fried batter, which made them crunchier and filling. The sauce was a bit too sweet, however the fresh radish balanced its taste.

Lastly, we ordered the Soondae, a traditional Korean blood sausage, or pork intestine stuffed with barley noodles and pork blood. I have never really liked this dish, and that was confirmed upon my first bite.  Although it came with a plethora of spices including salt, sugar and chile, none were able to add flavor to the bland sausages, and eventually, all I could taste was salt. Unfortunately, the Soondae was not appealing to me, and I do not think I will try it ever again. The next time I come to Chan Chan I plan to order different dishes (unlike the Soondae) so that I get a better understanding of Korean street food.