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Kang Chon, (formerly Oh Bok Jung), Springfield - Korean in the old Sahm Oh Jung Space in Brookfield Plaza

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The new management of the Brookfield Plaza's longtime Korean restuarant Sahm Oh Jung (old thread) have renamed it Oh Bok Jung (website). The menu hasn't changed much, though there are fewer Korean-Chinese dishes, which were more-or-less their former specialty. The old sushi bar has been replaced with more seats, but a few Japanese cooked items remain on the menu. Otherwise the dining room got a mild facelift, new floor, no more handwritten signs. The food, overall, is about on a par with Sahm Oh Jung. This is solid Korean food holding its own in the multi-ethnic Brookfield Plaza area, where good food at good prices is the hallmark.

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Goodbye, Oh Bok Jung. Hello, Kang Chon! And so began my somewhat caloric, progressive pigfest meal up and down Spring Garden Drive in Brookfield Plaza on Backlick Road this evening. I began at Kang Chon (described below), ordered carry-out at Karahi Kabob (different topic), and finished with an awesome snack at Thai Ghang Waan (different topic) -- all wonderful and all within a few steps of each other.

Kang Chon appears to be the latest iteration of the Sahm Oh Jung - Oh Bok Jung restaurant evolution. It looks the same on the inside, but the menu appears to be different. One thing I noticed was that every table had a barbecue hole in the middle, but none were being used, and the menu didn't appear to offer the barbecue items. Of the 18-20 people in the place when I was there, about two-thirds were Korean, and all manner of steaming bowls of goodness and crispy whole fish were coming out of the kitchen. One elderly Korean woman at the table next to me was ripping into a bowl of noodles and many other yummy things, and the darn bowl was nearly as big as she was.

My idea was to have an appetizer at Kang Chon and then head over to Thai Ghang Waan for a main course, and then get carry out at Karahi Kabob. I ordered the Seafood Pancake with a Cass beer, and out came the pan chan -- three bowls of tofu skins, pickled cucmbers and pickled julienned daikon. And then came the pancake -- about 14 inches in diameter -- and loaded with scallions, julienned bell peppers, small shrimp, flecks of white fish (maybe cod?) and loads of squid and/or octopus. It was delicious. The outside crunch was tangible, the ingredients were well balanced, the spicy red dipping sauce was a perfect foil for the ever-so-oily pancake, and I devoured the whole darn thing. I'm looking forward to trying some of the other dishes on this menu. I was impressed with the Seafood Pancake, and it compares favorably to the ones I tried at To Sok Jip and Honeypig Izakaya.

Although stuffed, I was undaunted, and continued on with my pigfest meal.

Kang Chon Korean Chinese Resturant

7048 SPring Garden Drive

Springfield, VA 22150

Telephone 703-451-3277

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Kang Chon is growing on me. Whenever I set foot in the place, the tables are occupied by local Koreans, usually in a multi-generational family composition, and the ban chan and bowls of goodness cover the tabletops.

It was a Saturday afternoon, and I was making my rounds to gather up provisions for tonight's meal. The Halal butcher next door is an imperative stop on that run (I'm not a Halal eater, but there's serious carnivorous deliciousness to be had there!), so I placed a simple order of Steamed Dumplings and Combination Fried Rice off the Chinese side of the menu at Kang Chon, and then I went next door to shop.

When I got home, I unwrapped the meal and invited Lady KN to tuck in with me. It was seriously delicious. I never had ban chan with fried rice before, but it goes really well. A bite of kimchee or a bite of pickled daikon between bites of flavorful, soft-textured rice loaded with chunks of meat and whole small shrimp was really good. The dumplings lasted about four minutes after I opened the container. All they needed was the barest sprinkle of soy sauce to lift them a bit. Two solid take-home hits.

Make no mistake about it, this is a Korean restuarant. They serve some Chinese dishes, Korean-style, to feed the masses. Also make no mistake, Kang Jon is not intending to put the Annadale places out of business. Rather, it caters to a local Springfield-ish and friends of friends kind of clientele, with the occasional crazy Gaijin like me who drops in and wants to eat the good stuff.

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