Eat This Now: Yeolmu Boribap (Barley Rice) at Wang Chok Park
Have you eaten in the food court at the H-Mart on Garden Grove Boulevard yet? You should, because there are some serious gems in there, serving food you won't find in that all-you-are-foolish-enough-to-eat Korean barbecue restaurant.
We've covered Myung In Dumplings before, but as you walk from the main store into the food court, on the right you'll see Wang Chok Park, a long booth run by a gracious Korean woman who serves the Korean equivalent of guisados--stews and soups, and hot pots with fatty pork that turns tender in the hot broth.
Hotpot is not what you should get, though. You should order yeolmu boribap: barley and rice with a vinegary, slightly astringent stew of squash, tofu and chiles. You mix the soup with the rice in a large bowl and add the mustard greens that come in one of the side bowls, then add spicy bean paste and vinegar from squeeze bottles.
You'll also get a dish of good kimchi, a plate of ggaenip (sesame leaves) with an earthy, spicy sauce, and a scallion pancake with its dipping sauce. It's an immense amount of intensely flavored food, it practically radiates health, and it costs less than $8.
Sure, you're sitting at a table in the middle of an echo chamber, listening to the loud chatter in the other booths, but who cares? Once you dive into your food you'll find the noise mutes a little bit.
Wang Chok Park is located in the H-Mart at the corner of Garden Grove Blvd. and Magnolia St. in Garden Grove; it closes each evening at 8 p.m.