Man Chun Hong: Doraville, GA, USA
This place is one of those “Chirean” restaurants, in that it serves Chinese food and well what Chinese people would consider Korean food but Koreans would consider Chinese food like spicy seafood noodle soup (Jjam bong) and black sauce pork noodles (ja jjang myun/ja jiang mian). However, they do serve some pretty good dishes that are worthy of note. I decided to call out some friends to celebrate the Asian New Year about two weeks ago and we ordered quite a number of dishes. Ready, get set….go!
Fried String beans: it seems like every chinese restaurant has this staple dish. It’s cheap (to buy as a produce) and it’s tasty (for us consumers). You honestly can’t go wrong with this dish. We initially wanted to get snow pea tips, but they didn’t have them that night unfortunately. I think this dish would be comparable to those that I order from other restaurants. The one thing that I never really enjoyed about this dish is the amount of oil that it comes in. Yes, true, a huge amount of oil is required to actually fry the beans so that they are super wrinkly and soft, but I think the extra points from me would come from draining that oil prior to throwing in the sauce for the dish. Overall though, it was still well done.
Mapo Tofu: okay, I honestly would not have ordered this dish. I used to eat it quite a bit as a child because my sister loved to order it, but there’s something that’s just “meh” about this dish. It wasn’t a bad dish and it’s not that I wouldn’t eat it at all, but there’s nothing super fantastically tasting about this dish. Man Chun Hong does it with a lot less oil than other places though so for that it gets an extra half-star.
Salt & Pepper Squid (S&P Squid): This was done quite well, but the pieces of squid were small. Honestly, the best place that I have had this dish was at Canton Cooks, the original one. They had the largest pieces of squid outside of the perimeter. Not to mention, their breading was extra crispy. I have to admit though, this stuff tastes like it is chockfull of MSG haha. I suppose the way it tastes more than makes up for it.
Panfried Noodle: You can’t go wrong with this dish, except if you were Canton Cooks II (post to come). It is the best balance of crispiness from the panfried egg noodles and then softness from the gravy sopping into the center with large pieces of seafood and bokchoi. The only way you can ruin this is by putting way too much MSG or salt in the sauce because then no matter how much pan fried noodle you have, all you end up doing is chugging vast amounts of water. However, Man Chun Hong did a great job. I want to say that this dish was considered a personal request (cue Ratatouille “special order! special order!!”) as they did not have it on the menu. Luckily, the power of speaking Chinese allowed us some persuasion in the matter and we were able to partake in this loverly noodle dish.
Spicy Szechuan Braised Shrimp: originally this dish is a chicken dish, but we wanted a bit more seafood so Dy San changed it to seafood. (Dy San is a foodie on crack – she knows her stuff and she can also throw down consuming her stuff as well. Be prepared to eat with her.) I have to admit, that change was money in the bank. For one, the shrimp was really large and it was fresh. Frozen shrimp can sometimes have that mushy texture that kind of dictates it might be going bad. The breading was similar to that of the S&P Squid so it was fairly crispy even with the spicy braised sauce on top. Definitely worth ordering again.
Sweet & Sour Beef: again, this dish was originally a pork dish (탕소엌) but we converted it to beef. Honestly, most of the time I don’t really care if it is pork or beef, unless it is orange peel – I’d prefer orange peel beef over chicken any day. Oddly enough, this was one of those things that I had been craving from this restaurant. I’m not sure if I really enjoyed the beef as I had initially been craving the pork version. I wouldn’t say that it slammed into into the ground with amazingness but it wasn’t a bad dish either. I’d probably still stick with the pork version if I ever came though.
Spicy Fried Eggplant: HAHAHAHA. I laugh first because I actually have a video of my friend eating a spoonful of spice from this dish. The funny thing is that the spice is not really spicy. It is numbing. Literally, after consuming the spice (and/or eggplant with it), your mouth feels like you had swished with liquid Lidocaine, or if you had squirted a whole tube of Ora-gel and left it in there for a few minutes. Not to mention, the taste of things afterward are a bit off. For one, water began to taste sour. I believe that these are the last tastebuds affected by the spice (dentist habit coming out). The effect lasts for a few minutes too, not just a couple of seconds. Even if you eat other things, they just don’t taste the same. While some people will argue that this dish is great, I personally would like to enjoy the rest of my meal so this gets a star deducted for ruining part of my dinner.
WHEW! Told ya we ate a lot!
All in all, a summary:
- fried string beans: *** (3 stars)
- mapo tofu: *** (3.5 stars)
- salt & pepper squid: ***.75 (3.75 stars)
- panfried noodle: ***.5 (3.5 stars) for size
- spicy braised shrimp: **** (4 stars)
- sweet & sour beef: ***.5 (3.5 stars)
- fried eggplant: **.5 (2.5 stars) good quantity
MMmmm…food always begs for good company and we definitely had both. If I can muster up the space, I will add the video of my friend eating a spoonful of that crazy spice. (With his permission of course). At least he got $7 out of it. LOL.
If you wanted to taste Man Chun Hong for yourself, you can find them here:5953 Buford Hwy NE Suite 105 Doraville, GA (770) 454-5640 May your food adventures be plenty and your bellies be full…