If you ride the C-Train downtown, you’ll likely have passed Manrijangsung which opened three months ago. Decorated with pink and gold wallpaper and red lanterns, it’s kind of hard to tell what kind of Asian cuisine it serves.
Usually packed with Korean students from the ESL schools nearby, Manrijangsung also features a wall-sized photo of the Great Wall of China — it specializes in Korean-Chinese food!
This unique blend of flavours developed in the Korean port city of Incheon, which has a large ethnic Chinese population, and is apparently quite common in Los Angeles.
We figured out Manrijangsung has two sizes of food: as huge platters to share, or as small combo dishes for individuals. We ordered two of the most popular dishes as a combo ($10.99), and then one large chicken platter.
Tangsuyuk is a modified version of sweet and sour pork (or chicken). Unlike its bright orange Chinese counterpart, this dish is a more restrained yellow and the sauce has more of a tang. Thinly sliced cucumbers, carrots and onion add a nice crisp to balance the battered deep-fried meat.
In combination with that, we had the jajangmyeon, which is so popular in Korea that it anchors Black Day, an occasion for single people to celebrate their singledom.
The wheat noodles are steamed and topped with a sauce made with black soybean paste, called chunjang, that you mix in. You can eat it with some pickled radish, raw onion and a dab of chunjang that’s served on the side.
The other dish we got was a braised chicken with hot chili sauce ($18.99). Also battered and deep-fried, the sauce for this was more sweet than spicy, but we liked the tiny bits of carrots and peas. It was much too big for two people and provided leftovers for at least two days after.
Menus at Manrijangsung are in Korean and English. The waitress was not completely fluent in English but some patience on both of our parts made it a pretty smooth experience.
The tables have an ingenious container built into them where chopsticks, forks and spoons are stored.
Manrijangsung is a different place to try for a quick downtown lunch, or for a group outing to share different large dishes.
Manrijangsung, 935-7th Ave. S.W., (403) 457-1989.