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Chong's Korean Carryout

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Tucked away in a rundown part of Aberdeen, sharing a plaza with Goodwill and Ollie's Outlet is Chong's Korean Carryout. For a town like Aberdeen, the only reasonable expectation that this place survives is that it might benefit from soldiers from the local army base who might have been stationed in Korea. On a whim today, I suggested to my parents that we go for lunch. I'd had their kimchee chigae and bibimbap a few years ago with a coworker and it was pretty good. It's a small place with seating, and what looks like refrigerator cases from possibly an old florist's shop.

We ordered the kimchee chigae, yuk gae jung, and a spicy squid dish whose Korean name I can't recall. When the dishes came out my parents looked disappointed. All three dishes looked very much the same. But trying all three, all the flavors were very distinct and tasty. The kimchee chigae had a bright sourness and meatiness that came from the pork bones, while the yuk gae jung was spicy with a lot of rich beef flavor and great sweet potato noodles. The squid was sweet and spicy - littered with sliced hot peppers, gochujang and more sweet potato noodles. The squid could have been slightly more tender, but was still tasty.

Panchan could use a little help. I can't wonder if it's a one-off. The kimchee was undersalted (a change from when the owner was running a Korean market that sold freshly-made kimchee), and the spicy and non-spicy pickled radishes were slightly underwhelming. They all could have used a few more days of pickling.

Nonetheless, we all walked away feeling warmed and happy from our food. My parents are definitely going to return, and I can very much see myself doing the same. It really is a small, undiscovered, if slightly shabby, treasure in Harford County.

17 Aberdeen Plaza

Aberdeen, MD 21001


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