100 Favorite Dishes: Jajangmyeon from Yong Gung Dragon Palace Chinese Restaurant
Suffice it to say that I eat out more than the general population, unless, of course, the general population can catalogue more than 450 restaurant meals in a year -- which is about the number of breakfasts, lunches and dinners that I stomached in 2012. Pathetic, isn't it? But all those food dates are worth the gluttony, because it allows us to tell you where you should eat, a little favor that we started in late 2009, when we embarked on a culinary journey that took us through our favorite dishes in the Mile High City -- 100, to be exact. Now we're back with round three, counting down (in no particular order) 100 more of our favorite dishes in Denver (and Boulder). If there's something in particular that you think we need to try, reveal it in the comments section below, or shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No. 94: Jajangmyeon from Dragon Palace Chinese Restaurant
Denver has an orgy of Chinese restaurants and a healthy binge of Korean restaurants, too, but for a swell of both cuisines, you'll need to go to Yong Gung Dragon Palace Chinese Restaurant, a noodle-embracing, elegant dining room that, despite its name, pays tribute to the best of both worlds.
The eye-catching space, modern, flatteringly illuminated and strewn with fanned Bon Appetit magazines in the waiting lounge, is chef-owned by Jae Han, the former chef and owner of Seoul Korean BBQ, and it's he who gets credit for the endlessly long, chewy noodles -- assisted by scissors and tongs -- inked with a soybean sauce that's black as bats, black as a widow, black as a raven. Its appearance resembles sludge -- it's certainly not pretty -- but the temple of noodles, slicked with that sauce of stir-fried nubs of pork, caramelized onions, stinging jalapenos, zucchini and the pungent saltiness of fermented black bean paste, is precisely what jajangmyun, which defines the intersection of Korean-Chinese cooking, should be. It's a lasting, highly memorable flavor explosion of ambrosia, and when you've scraped the bowl white -- it's inevitable -- your only regret will be the fact that you were gifted with just one stomach.
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2013 countdown are linked below:
No. 100: Foie gras oysters from Sushi Sasa
No. 99: Porchetta from Parisi
No. 98: chocolate caramel sea salt tart from Spuntino
No. 97: Nachos from the Pioneer
No. 96: Fried pickles from TAG Burger Bar
No. 95: Breakfast burrito from Jalapeños Mexican restaurant