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    Post #1 - September 3rd, 2010, 2:22 pm
    Post #1 - September 3rd, 2010, 2:22 pm Post #1 - September 3rd, 2010, 2:22 pm
    My wife and I had a wonderful meal at Da Rae Jung recently.

    We were in the mood for low-key Korean. The Korean BBQ experience can be a lot of fun with a group, but sometimes you're just looking for a quieter, smokeless experience. Enter Da Rae Jung, located a couple blocks west of San Soo Gab San. It's in a strip mall with easy parking and next to no signage. If you're not looking for it, you're pretty much guaranteed to miss it. Kind of the opposite of the very conspicuous, smokey and energetic San Soo Gab San.

    The place is owned and operated by an elderly Korean couple who are the absolute epitome of old-world charm and hospitality. We went on a Friday night and every table was full, so I guess the locals are in the know. The menu is a short two pages but the offerings are more than enough to keep the adventurous interested.

    Our meal started off with an assortment of banchan.

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    Everything was prepared simply but well. The textures varied nicely from dish to dish with plenty of spice in the kim chi and sourness in the bean sprouts. Banchan at some restaurants can have a stale/canned quality to them, but at Da Rae Jung everything had the clean, crisp flavor indicative of the care you'd expect from a mom and pop restaurant.

    Next came the dolsot bibimbap.

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    Once again a straight down the middle, simple, yet well-executed preparation. The dolsot came out extremely hot so we waited as the rice got nice and crispy at the bottom of the bowl. The meat was well seasoned and didn't overpower the dish and the crisp lettuce and sweet daikon (I think that's what it is) melded textures and flavors beautifully.

    Finally came the star of the show, hoe naengmyeon. When we ordered it the owner seemed to hesitate. He was visibly worried that we wouldn't like it because it had raw fish in it but he couldn't seem to articulate his concern. We assured him that we were up to it, and he said it was a great choice and grinned widely when he realized we knew what we were getting into.

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    The noodles were silky and soft. I peaked into the kitchen and saw a big bowl of the noodles covered in flour. From the texture of the noodles and this quick glance I'm guessing the noodles are made in house, though I'm not 100% sure. Either way, they were an excellent base for the spicy chili paste and delicate raw fish. The raw fish had a smooth texture (though it did have some bones in it) and a mild flavor.

    As we were getting ready to pay the bill the owner came over to congratulate me on marrying such a beautiful girl. That was all the dessert she needed.

    Da Rae Jung
    5220 N Lincoln Ave
    Chicago, IL 60625
  • Post #2 - August 1st, 2011, 9:06 pm
    Post #2 - August 1st, 2011, 9:06 pm Post #2 - August 1st, 2011, 9:06 pm
    I finally made it back to Da Rae Jung, and I have to say it had definitely been too long. It's hard to find since it's located in a strip mall with parking in front, and the name of the restaurant is not on the facade.

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    The menu has lots of interesting items that I'd like to try and there are specials up on the wall including a seafood pancake and jabchae.

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    On this occasion we went with a larger group and the selection of banchan was formidable. Everything is clearly made in house. They give you enough banchan that with a couple bowls or rice, you'd have a meal right there. Nonetheless we had to order the naeng myun, for which the noodles are definitely made in house, and the excellent dolsot bi bim bap.

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    To top it off we ordered one of the "cook at your table" entrees that featured ramyun noodles in a spicy, creamy broth with ham, sausage, and tofu (boodae chigae). Everything has a home cooked quality to it that really hits the spot. Even on a Monday night the place was full, 100% Asian except for me and my brother-in-law. Also it's BYOB and you get a lot of food for a very reasonable price. What else can I say? I like the place a lot.
  • Post #3 - August 2nd, 2011, 12:03 pm
    Post #3 - August 2nd, 2011, 12:03 pm Post #3 - August 2nd, 2011, 12:03 pm
    I'm surprised turkob is the only one who's posted on this place so far. I ate here a while back and loved it, only i forgot my camera so I was putting it off until i go back for pictures. I guess I'll just have to come back with an update.

    I used to work in a Korean owned Japanese restaurant. Everyday in the back of the restaurant I would be learning to cook Korean food, just for the staff to eat. It was true home cooking. They weren't concerned with what the customer would like, so the spicy dishes were spicy, the pungent dishes were pungent, and the light and healthy dishes were exactly that. I'm sure it was some of the best Korean food I'll ever eat. This was years ago and the memories have started to fade. The food at Da Rae Jung brought back a lot of memories from that place. The house made kimchi had a nice pungency and almost citrus tang that really brought back those memories. The yang jok tang soup was spicy, rich and savory, with lots of offal bits. It's not a big place, and it's not flashy. It's run by an older, very cheerful Korean couple (I'm only assuming they're a husband and wife team) who are always there to make sure you're happy. It's really like eating at someone's grandparents house. As i said above, I'll definitely be returning, very soon.
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #4 - August 18th, 2012, 7:05 am
    Post #4 - August 18th, 2012, 7:05 am Post #4 - August 18th, 2012, 7:05 am
    turkob wrote:What else can I say? I like the place a lot.
    I agree with turkob, I like the place a lot.

    I've only been solo around 9pm, its on my way home from Barn & Co, and Da Rae Jung has been quite busy given it closes at 9:30. Love the noodles, casual observation puts some variation of naneng myun on every table, and soup. Plentiful panchan and efficient friendly service, even given no common language.

    Looking forward to going with a group and trying one of the 2 or more cook at your table dishes, in particular goat with sesame leaves.

    Da Rae Jung, count me a fan!
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #5 - October 1st, 2012, 10:42 am
    Post #5 - October 1st, 2012, 10:42 am Post #5 - October 1st, 2012, 10:42 am
    I really enjoyed my meal here last night. We ordered the dolsot bibimbop which I found to just be OK. The rice didn't really crisp up and it was a little bland.

    I really l liked the spicy noodles with beef. We had the English language menus, so I don't know the transliteration, but it was one of the 3 cold noodles that are boxed at the top of the page. I just ate these straight and did not add any mustard, vinegar, or sesame oil that came with it. I might play around next time with the seasoning, but I really liked the flavor of the noodles and chili paste on their own.

    The star of the night for me was the goat soup. It was richly flavored with tender goat. As an entree with 8 accompanying panchan for $10, this is a great cold-weather option. Yes, the menu listed the number of panchan you would receive with your meal. The panchan were varied and generally good. I especially liked the fried tofu skin, the kim chi, and the hot pickled cucumbers.

    It was my first time and doing a healthy business at 8 PM on a Sunday night. The owner/proprietor was friendly and helpful. This is definitely a neighborhood gem that I will be checking out again soon.
  • Post #6 - October 1st, 2012, 10:41 pm
    Post #6 - October 1st, 2012, 10:41 pm Post #6 - October 1st, 2012, 10:41 pm
    gastro gnome wrote:I really l liked the spicy noodles with beef. We had the English language menus, so I don't know the transliteration, but it was one of the 3 cold noodles that are boxed at the top of the page. I just ate these straight and did not add any mustard, vinegar, or sesame oil that came with it. I might play around next time with the seasoning, but I really liked the flavor of the noodles and chili paste on their own.
    .


    If the noodles were without soup, you had bibim naengmyun. Sounds delicious!
  • Post #7 - December 28th, 2012, 9:55 am
    Post #7 - December 28th, 2012, 9:55 am Post #7 - December 28th, 2012, 9:55 am
    I have to gush about the meal we enjoyed last night at Da Rae Jung.

    It was a cold and icy night, so my wife and I figured we'd get some piping hot Korean soup to warm us up. We ordered the dumpling and rice cake soup special which comes with 8 freshly made panchan. The soup is served on a burner at the table (as all the "two person" soups are) so it's always bubbling hot as you're eating. The broth itself was a clean and nourishing chicken broth, very light and satisfying. The soup was full of freshly made dumplings, rice cakes, enoki mushrooms, and cabbage. The dumplings were a real stand out. The wrapper tasted like it was made an hour ago and the ground pork and cabbage filling tasted exactly like it does when we make dumplings at home.

    The best part is that the owners of the restaurant wouldn't let us pick up the ladle. Every couple minutes they would stop by to serve us more soup. At first they served us a bowl with broth and just the enoki mushroom. Then they served more broth with just two dumplings, which they cut open and dabbed with a little soy sauce and then some chili sauce. At one point I remarked that if I didn't want more dumplings I had to make sure not to the finish up the serving I had. It dawned on us that this was exactly like eating at a relative's house. From the fresh dumplings and panchan to the incredibly warm service, everything about this experience made us feel welcome and comfortable (in that please stop feeding me kind of way that reminded me of my aunt).

    When we indicated that we were truly full and couldn't eat any more, the owner seemed genuinely disappointed. They wrapped up the leftovers and enthusiastically waved at us as we were leaving. It's kind of neat that they specialize in cold noodles and hot soups, making this a year round destination for us.
    Last edited by turkob on January 8th, 2013, 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #8 - January 8th, 2013, 9:40 am
    Post #8 - January 8th, 2013, 9:40 am Post #8 - January 8th, 2013, 9:40 am
    Thanks to turkob and snap203 for sharing their find with us last night. After putting together the GNR Renewal certificates, a few of us headed over to Da Rae Jung for a delicious dinner. Highlights were the goat soup (Asian Birria!), perfect mandoo (my pet peeve is that the skins are usually either too thick or too fragile--these were light but with good texture and the filling was very flavorful), a slightly sweet roast pork, a nice rendition of jap chae and the cold noodles with beef described above. Panchan was fairly typical but fresh and lively. I was especially happy to see a fair amount of greens in most of the dishes--especially in the soup and jap chae. The owners are very sweet and helpful and the place was pretty full the whole time we were there. Can't wait to go back!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #9 - February 17th, 2013, 5:15 pm
    Post #9 - February 17th, 2013, 5:15 pm Post #9 - February 17th, 2013, 5:15 pm
    I've been meaning to try Da Rae Jung for a very long time. I've driven by it a thousand times and turkob's posts should have given me all of the inspiration I needed. But for some reason it never happened. Well, my wife is battling a cold and we thought some Korean soup would hit the spot. So I picked up a carry out order of the highly touted goat soup and an order of the dumpling soup. Amazing stuff, especially the goat soup, which was rich, spicy, and complex. As a nice touch, they also packed us a box of banchan.

    You know you're an LTH'er when....you aren't at all surprised when you bump into people you know at a nondescript Korean restaurant in a strip mall at 2:30pm. laikom and Theresa and friends greeted me when I entered and were incredibly generous to give me a taste of the really excellent Neng myun cold noodles while I waited for my order. I will definitely try this and a hot pot on my next visit.

    Great restaurant and thanks for starting this thread, turkob.
  • Post #10 - February 24th, 2013, 6:37 pm
    Post #10 - February 24th, 2013, 6:37 pm Post #10 - February 24th, 2013, 6:37 pm
    My wife and I had a great lunch at Da Rae Jung today. We had the spicy beef neng myun noodles, which were very good. Not a ton of beef in the dish, but the pieces we had were really tasty. We also had two dishes off the specials "board" on the wall: squid and cabbage in a nice, spicy sauce, and the mincemeat dumplings. All around, an excellent meal at an excellent, homey spot.
  • Post #11 - April 7th, 2014, 9:29 am
    Post #11 - April 7th, 2014, 9:29 am Post #11 - April 7th, 2014, 9:29 am
    I was surprised to see that no one has posted here in over a year. My wife and I had a great dinner the other night, including the bibim naeng myun noodles, the aforementioned squid special, and the goat soup.
  • Post #12 - April 7th, 2014, 11:43 am
    Post #12 - April 7th, 2014, 11:43 am Post #12 - April 7th, 2014, 11:43 am
    Darren72 wrote:I was surprised to see that no one has posted here in over a year.
    I've been remiss about posting on Da Rae Jung, I've been many a time since my initial visit each one top of the key for homestyle Korean. Love love love the nice couple who run the restaurant. Even though they do not speak English they transmit care, good will and love of every morsel served.

    Goat Stew, owner lighting burner

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    Steamed mandu

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    DolSot BiBimBap

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    Da Rae Jung, count me a fan!
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #13 - April 7th, 2014, 12:16 pm
    Post #13 - April 7th, 2014, 12:16 pm Post #13 - April 7th, 2014, 12:16 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    Darren72 wrote:I was surprised to see that no one has posted here in over a year.
    I've been remiss about posting on Da Rae Jung, I've been many a time since my initial visit each one top of the key for homestyle Korean. Love love love the nice couple who run the restaurant. Even though they do not speak English they transmit care, good will and love of every morsel served.


    Ditto,

    These pictures say everything you need to know about the 2 owners.

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    Mrs. Da Rae Jung proudly standing next to her noodle machine.

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    The best naeng myun in Chicago. Always my favorite, the classic preparation with beef broth.

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    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #14 - April 14th, 2014, 11:03 am
    Post #14 - April 14th, 2014, 11:03 am Post #14 - April 14th, 2014, 11:03 am
    Thanks to this thread reappearing and Mr. X's surprising request for Korean food, we made it to Da Rae Jung last night for dinner. I commented that it was the Korean version of Sunshine Cafe -- fluorescent lights, simple furnishings, friendly staff. We shared the dolsot bi bim bap, a seafood pancake and the steamed mandu. Along with the banchan, we had way too much food. The rice didn't get terribly crispy in the bi bim bap, but we might not have let it rest long enough. I'm not an expert on this cuisine, but everything seemed well-prepared. The owner (Mr. Da Rae Jung) was extremely hospitable and graciously explained the banchan we couldn't identify. I especially liked the fish cake and the spicy pickled radish. For the amount of food we got, it was extremely reasonable. I look forward to returning.
    -Mary
  • Post #15 - October 30th, 2014, 10:15 am
    Post #15 - October 30th, 2014, 10:15 am Post #15 - October 30th, 2014, 10:15 am
    Eight of us LTHers had dinner there last night (thanks Turkob for ordering).
    I've sometimes been shy about ordering soups at Korean places, since they are not especially descriptive of what's in them, but we had two hits, two misses (and one of the misses could just be because I got the dregs of the pot).

    The Pork Neck and Potato Soup was rich with lots of chives, and a deep flavor that's a little spicy, but shouldn't scare anyone who can handle Taco Bell-levels of heat. The potato and long-cooked pork bones gave it a very Northern European taste, chile paste notwithstanding.

    The Dumpling Soup was outstanding: little pieces of meat in a broth clearer and milder than the pork neck. Again, I got a vibe from it that it's what my grandmother would make if she just added a bit of chile to her kreplach soup. Definitely order.

    The goat stew might have been a winner, but by the time I got to it (you can only eat so many bowls of soup so fast), the meat was a little dried out. Tasty, but I didn't love it.

    I forget the name of the last dish (ah, one of the posters above labels it boodae chigae), but Turkob said it is usually called "Soldier's Stew" which was developed from whatever was available to feed people during the Korean War. The menu describes it as having sausage, ham and cheese, but the sausage is hot dogs and the ham is slices of spam. The cheesy, tomatoey sauce was essentially Chef Boyardee with gochujang added. Except for the spam, it actually tasted pretty good, but I felt really wrong eating it, like I just opened a can from an alternate universe.

    Banchan were all fresh and crisp, but nothing out of the ordinary.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #16 - July 13th, 2018, 9:39 pm
    Post #16 - July 13th, 2018, 9:39 pm Post #16 - July 13th, 2018, 9:39 pm
    Da Rae Jung for Whe Naeng Myun, cold buckwheat noodle, raw skate fish, cucumber, radish, pear, egg and gochujang sauce plus a splash of vinegar = Delicious hot weather lunch.

    DRJLTH1.jpg Whe Naeng Myun

    DRJLTH2.jpg Whe Naeng Myun

    DaRaeJung3.jpg Goon Mandoo, fried dumpling. Vegetable & tofu.


    Da Rae Jung, count me a Fan!
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #17 - July 13th, 2018, 9:52 pm
    Post #17 - July 13th, 2018, 9:52 pm Post #17 - July 13th, 2018, 9:52 pm
    Intense stuff, G!
    Ice cubes and Chinese mustard in the soup too!
  • Post #18 - July 18th, 2018, 1:17 am
    Post #18 - July 18th, 2018, 1:17 am Post #18 - July 18th, 2018, 1:17 am
    Popped in here Sunday night while I was in town. Maybe my favorite bowl of Mool Neng Myun ever. Hit the spot in that weather ( especially after having walked a 5K earlier that day)
  • Post #19 - July 18th, 2018, 1:51 pm
    Post #19 - July 18th, 2018, 1:51 pm Post #19 - July 18th, 2018, 1:51 pm
    For mul naeng myeon connoisseurs, how does this stack up against the naeng myeon at Cho Sun Oak. Cho Sun Oak has always been the go to place for me for these noodles, but the long lines and cramp space makes it hard to convince the wife and kids to head there.
  • Post #20 - January 9th, 2019, 6:38 pm
    Post #20 - January 9th, 2019, 6:38 pm Post #20 - January 9th, 2019, 6:38 pm
    No official word, and no sign on the door, at least that I can read, but the wonderful Korean homestyle Da Rae Jung has been closed for a few months. I heard one of the owners died and that is why they are closed. Far as due diligence on the closing, I've stopped by a number of times during business hours only be greeted by a dark restaurant.

    Ok, just to be sure, and not get yelled at by Ronnie, I called Jimmy from Jimmy's Pizza Cafe just down the street, who I knew would have the info. It was the husband who died, they are closed and are trying to sell the restaurant.

    Da Rae Jung
    5220 N Lincoln Ave
    Chicago, IL 60625
    773-907-9155 (gives fast busy)
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #21 - January 9th, 2019, 8:15 pm
    Post #21 - January 9th, 2019, 8:15 pm Post #21 - January 9th, 2019, 8:15 pm
    G Wiv wrote:No official word, and no sign on the door, at least that I can read, but the wonderful Korean homestyle Da Rae Jung has been closed for a few months. I heard one of the owners died and that is why they are closed. Far as due diligence on the closing, I've stopped by a number of times during business hours only be greeted by a dark restaurant.

    Ok, just to be sure, and not get yelled at by Ronnie, I called Jimmy from Jimmy's Pizza Cafe just down the street, who I knew would have the info. It was the husband who died, they are closed and are trying to sell the restaurant.

    Da Rae Jung
    5220 N Lincoln Ave
    Chicago, IL 60625
    773-907-9155 (gives fast busy)


    Sadly, laikom and I tried to go for lunch on Monday, with the same result. Very sad news about Mr. DRJ. Always very sweet and hospitable. RIP.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #22 - January 9th, 2019, 9:11 pm
    Post #22 - January 9th, 2019, 9:11 pm Post #22 - January 9th, 2019, 9:11 pm
    Da Rae Jung had the only budae jjigae I tasted (for my story 'A Big Bowl Of Wrong...and Right') that included a single slice of American cheese mixed into the fiery broth. The place was nothing to look at, but probably had the most authentic Korean food available.

    I'll miss it.
  • Post #23 - January 10th, 2019, 10:45 am
    Post #23 - January 10th, 2019, 10:45 am Post #23 - January 10th, 2019, 10:45 am
    jnm123 wrote:Da Rae Jung had the only budae jjigae I tasted (for my story 'A Big Bowl Of Wrong...and Right') that included a single slice of American cheese mixed into the fiery broth. The place was nothing to look at, but probably had the most authentic Korean food available.

    I'll miss it.

    This was my favorite version of this dish, and my favorite thing to order here. Very sorry to hear the sad news.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #24 - January 21st, 2019, 11:44 am
    Post #24 - January 21st, 2019, 11:44 am Post #24 - January 21st, 2019, 11:44 am
    Honestly, I'm devastated by this news. Da Rae Jung was one of the first, and continued to be the most frequent, of the restaurants I enjoyed when I moved to the neighborhood. The gentleman who owned was unfailingly kind and attentive. There were many quiet afternoons, when home after an early work schedule, he and I sat and watched k dramas (several tables apart) while I slurped goat soup or chewed squid. His wife was refreshingly no nonsense, mistress of her domain. I won't forget them, and I hope that we will see their legacy live on in some fashion.
    "To get long" meant to make do, to make well of whatever we had; it was about having a long view, which was endurance, and a long heart, which was hope.
    - Fae Myenne Ng, Bone

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