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Da Rae Won, Beltsville - Korean-Chinese with Hand-Pulled Noodles on Garrett Avenue


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Kay and I were in the mood for something and a beer for dinner. Driving home from Dino, our first choice was Mongolian BBQ in Bethesda, a favorite guilty pleasure. It was closed. Strike 2 was sergios palce in Wheaton as it just didn't seem appealing as it was dead empty. As we drove past SP I thought about Myong Dong in Beltsville. It was closed as well! I remembered that there was another Korean restaurant up Rt.1 and we went in search. We arrived to the strip mall and saw Gahn Ram (I am not sure if that is the name) but we also saw another Korean restaurant. The lot in front of the latter place was jammed so we decided to go in and see what was up.

The place was jammed and folk looked like they were chowing down on some huge plates of really good looking food. We saw several platters of chicken wings in what looked like black bean sauce and some huge platters piled high with fried man doo. It all looked good. We got the menu and saw some noodle and some cooked dishes. On the last page, under the heading of "crab chae" was a dish listed as hot and cold dishes with spicy mustard sauce (there were no dish names in English!). We ordered that along with a plate of tofu in spicy sauce. While waiting for the food to arrive, drinking a Kite beer and nibbling on excellent kim chee, yellow daikon pickle, raw onions with some black pasty dipping sauce and incredible daikon raddish in red pepper (I thinks its called something like Kaktugi but I am positive I am butchering it... Grover or someone else help me out!), we heard some loud pounding noise from the kitchen. Kay wondered who was getting beaten up! But I could see thru a frosted window that the chef was hand pulling noodles so we ordered a bowl of noodles in black bean sauce.

The crab chae dish (Number 40) was a huge platter of ingredients finely chopped into shreds: omelet, scallions, carrots, cukes, covered with thin rice noodle. There were good small shrimp too. This was all around a stir fry of onion, bean sprouts and other good stuff. Underneath were bits of celery, sea cucumber (I think) and more. We stirred it and the waitress showed us how to drizzle a little of the mustard sauce on it. It was heavenly. The mustard is hellishly hot and sinus clearing. There were a few points where I had to stop for air.

The Tofu was a good stir fry of tofu with baby corn, peppers, carrots in a slightly sweetish sauce that was not really spicy.

After a bit we got our noodles. Firm, chewy, tick noodles in a gloppy black sauce filled with a few bits of potatoes, stewed onion and a few pieces of meat. It was insane!!!

We ate till we were stuffed, and then ate some more. We finally saw the wisdom of restraint and stopped, but then said what the hell, lets eat some more. We stopped before involuntary burps and other gaseous emissions would begin! We got the bill and with our 4 beers, and half the food boxed up to go, it was $58.00.

The waitress explained that it was a Korean style Chinese restaurant.

The first dish is described on the bill as
Yanghangpi

The tofu was MaPa tofu but unlike any Mapo tofu I have ever had (but really good indeed!).

The noodles were Darae Jajang. We will be back. I suspect that 8 folk could have 3 noodles dishes, the Yanghangpi, the wings, another cooked dish or two and be stuffed for under $100 before beer!

Da Rae Won
301-931-7878
5013 Garrett Avenue
Beltsville MD

about a mile north of Rt212 on Rt 1. About 3 blocks north of Behnke's Nursery.

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But I could see thru a frosted window that the chef was hand pulling noodles so we ordered a bowl of noodles in black bean sauce...

After a bit we got our noodles. Firm, chewy, tick noodles in a gloppy black sauce filled with a few bits of potatoes, stewed onion and a few pieces of meat. It was insane!!!

Did it look anything like this?

If so, it's called ja jang myun and can be found at Choong Hwa Won restaurant in Annandale (the only other place I know of that's serving this - incidentally, this would be a great choice for a Twenty-Dollar Tuesday). The dish looks sickeningly rich, but is surprisingly mild, and quite good. The key is not to splatter any on your shirt while you're slurping the noodles - a challenge because the sauce is so viscous, and the unpredictably shaped noodles can sometimes go into a whipping motion as they're being sucked upward. Above all, do not wear a tie to this meal unless you long for a perma-stain.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Dean, You are correct. It is called Kaktugi but it is Korean radish not daikon radish. Daikon radish is too soft for kaktugi. I am glad that you enjoyed the experience. Jajang Myun is one of my soul food. The hand-made Jajang Myun noodle is very rare to taste because not many chef has the skills. Not in VA but 1 or 2 places in MD. Chung-Hwa Won has very good Jajang Myun as Don said but they don't use hand-made noodle. China Express in DC has also hand-made noodle but it is not beaten so the texture is different. I went to the place Antonio mentioned because I heard that they served the hand-made noodle but the chef moved to another place, I don't know where. A&J serve Jajang Myun, too but the sauce tasted slightly different and it is too greasy to me. Yang-Jang-Pee is known as expensive and high class food in Korea because it uses all the best ingredients. I haven't had a chance to enjoy it. For 8 people or family gathering, I suggest ordering 2 pan-fried dumplings as an appetizer, 4 Jajang Myun (4 bowls of Jajang Myun and 4 empty bowls for sharing) and sweet and sour pork(make sure no ketchup in the sauce) / Kung pao shrimp as Entree. It will make them full.

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We arrived to the strip mall and saw Gahn Ram (I am not sure if that is the name) but we also saw another Korean restaurant. The lot in front of the latter place was jammed so we decided to go in and see what was up.

That was Gar-Rham at 5027 Garrett Avenue in Beltsville. 301-595-4122. I must have missed Da Rae Won!

Had Yuk Gae Jang, very spicy beef broth with shredded beef, 10.95. Available as an appetizer for 4.95. Is this Gar-Rham a pricier place? The barbecue dishes ranged from 18.95 for pork belly to 21.95 for 12 other barbecue entrees. I would like to try it again.

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Having needed to trek out to Behnke's to get some plants, the family decided to get lunch at Da Rae Won. We got an order of yakimandu and the inevitable bowls of jajang myun. The mandu were excellent and put me right back to my childhood when my mother would spend a day making her mandu from scratch (yes, they were that good). Also, I don't know that I've enjoyed an order of jajang myun as much as I did this time and I've eaten at Da Rae Won before. The sauce seemed more flavorful this time around (perhaps more porky?) and the noodles never fail to impress with their texture (the benefit of handmade noodles on-site).

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Our recent meal here was spectacular. Noodle soup, man du and fried chicken wings. The only thing we needed in addition was a tow truck to carry us out to the car. Actually, they only serve one really watery Korean Beet, I think Hite {or cass}. Need a better beer!

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Fantastic noodles with fresh black bean sauce--the onions and the little chunks of (pork belly?) were succulent and delicious. We devoured this dish.

The fried chicken wings were also great, served with something like a corn/peas/beans compote and a sweet korean BBQ sauce. The leftover wings were great right out of the fridge the next day.

At the beginning of the meal, my partner said, "this can be our go-to place when we venture out here to go to Ikea." After the meal, she said, "Ikea can be our go-to place when we come here."

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A post just to "bump" this place back into the collective consciousness.

The jjajangmyeon here ("noodles with fresh black bean sauce" on the menu) is ridiculous.  I've found myself shunning all my other Beltsville/Laurel favorites lately and heading straight in for another bowl of delicious noodles that I can hear being beaten to a pulp in the kitchen right after I order.  I am always self-conscious when I struggle to get all the bits of pork belly and raw onion into my maw with the chopsticks at the end of the bowl, but I still go for it wholeheartedly every time.

I've explored the menu a bit beyond, and the only other thing I come back to (when dining alone) is the spicy seafood soup.  I once went with the "extra" spicy version and almost died, so caveat comesor.  I long for lunch companions so I can go back to the amazing mandu and try out the fried chicken.

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Ate here last night based upon the reviews on this page.  Intended to do some shopping at Ikea afterwards, but we enjoyed our food so much and didn't rush so we sort of ran out of time (gives us another excuse to hit up Ikea).  From the outside I didn't expect much at this place, however when we walked inside it was much larger than expected.  There isn't much decor, but it seemed very clean.  There was a long line of people ahead of us, but the line moved quickly and we were seated in about 10 minutes.  My wife ordered the vegetarian version of the noodles with black bean paste.  I ordered the seafood soup extra spicy.  We also ordered the fried tofu with vegetables in case the 5 year old didn't like the noodles.  The 5 year old loved the yellow pickled radish.  I really liked the kimchee (young napa).  While we were waiting we could hear the banging in the kitchen and greatly anticipated the noodles to follow.

My wife loved her noodles, and so did the 5 year old.  The vegetable/tofu dish was huge, however, it had hot red pepper in it, which is a no no for my wife.  I tasted the dish and to my tongue it was not spicy.  to my wife it was.  When she finished her noodles, she mixed some with the remaining black bean paste and she really enjoyed it.  The tofu was very crisp and it had a really good assortment of veggies.  Nothing terribly exotic, but good home cooking.  The 5 year old ate the noodles plain, at the end we coaxed her to try the sauce and she really enjoyed it (maybe next time we will get her to try it on the noodles).  She also enjoyed the tofu.  I think she cut her meal short because she saw that they brought her favorite little yogurt bottles when people were done eating and she was going to make sure she had room!

My dish lived up to its "extra spicy" description.  It was spicier than I would have expected but it wasn't overpowering.  It had the fluorescent red broth that I love.  The noodles really were the star of the dish as they should have been.  There was a nice assortment of squid, clams, mussels, shrimp, scallop, and perhaps some octopus inside, along with a few pieces of veg.  It was a great dish that really got me sweating and cleared the nasal passages.

The next time I want to "go to Ikea" we will stop here first again.

Warning--a sign on the door says they are closed on Sunday.

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Being localish, I eat at Da Rae Won whenever I can convince anyone else to go along with me (so we can get the chicken wings). The garlic fried chicken wings are fantastic, but are in such a huge quantity that you need at least 2-3 people to order it. I usually get either the jja jang myun noodles or one of the spicy soups as well.

The "sizzling rice combination seafood" dish consists of big squares of rice with a texture similar to rice krispies treats, over which is poured a mix of seafood and veggies in a mild sauce. This dish is expensive on the menu but absolutely gigantic, enough to be the main entree for 3-4 people. I've also had a few of the dishes in the "vegetables" section, which I didn't find that exciting, at least not compared to the noodles and garlic chicken.

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New bright signage confused me today at lunch (we wondered if it had gone out of business and been replaced), as it now says something along the lines of "Korean lollipop chicken" and has Korean characters too.  There is a small Dae Rae Won sign next to the door, and the menu is the same, and branded Dae Rae Won.  At any rate that got us to try the chicken, which was sublime.  I think the black bean and noodle dish is just not my thing, though I have no doubts it's still prepared the way it's supposed to be.  The spicy seafood noodle soup was great though, better than the versions offered at other nearby Korean spots.

The chicken is vastly superior with Bon Chon, which has never done much for me.

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