>> Sunday, May 6, 2012
Price: $10 for gam ja tang, $12-18 for entrees
Location: 13925 Yale Ave, Ste 140, Irvine, CA 92620
The Quick Bit
+ authentic homestyle korean food
+ great flavor on kalbi
+ gam ja tang is a great deal
Δ limited ban chan selection
Δ spice level highly varied
With the popularization of Internet reviews, it seems hard to find that neighborhood hole in the wall restaurant that only the locals know about. Luckily, I found that restaurant in Kyo Bahn.
Nestled in a small quiet strip mall containing a church, convenience store, and veterinarian, one would not expect to find some korean gam ja tang that really satisfies the soul in comfort and taste. One would also next expect to find what seems to be the best kalbi in Irvine.
|ban chan selection|
As with any Korean meal, one starts with the ban chan; while the selection here was extremely limited, the dishes were still satisfying. However, with restaurants like BCD including a complimentary fried fish with the banchan, it is hard for other smaller restaurants to compete.
|brown rice and ssam dipping sauce|
Another interesting aspect of Kyo Bahn is that upon ordering, you are given the choice of white or brown rice. It turns out that the brown rice was really more "purple" in color. I'm not exactly sure what was different about the rice, but I was a big fan of the preparation.
|gam ja tang|
|kalbi ssam combination|
For the entree, we shared the kabli ssam combination. The soup came out boiling hot and had a nice soy flavor to it, but I felt it was a bit salty. Luckily the kalbi quickly made me forget the soup. The marinade on the kalbi was just perfectly sweet and maintained a large amount of savory flavor. They were also cooked perfectly so that they were not overcooked, yet retained a nice charred crust to really have a nice flavor.
Kyo Bahn is a great neighborhood Korean restaurant for those looking for authentic Korean food. The gam ja tang is a really home cooked korean dish, and the kalbi was marinated and cooked to be very enjoyable. While I do recommend visiting this restaurant, a warning to those going that this really is home style food and that the food should not expected to be restaurant quality. If you can get past the meager ban chan and the home cooked quality of the meal, your experience at Kyo Bahn is sure to be enjoyable.