Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sun Ha Jang: DUCK Season 365 on the KBBQ

As a massive fan of every part and preparation of duck - it was exciting to read TheJGold's review of a place that served it BBQ'd, Korean style. With the abundance of korean barbecue spots in Ktown, grilling up not only your standard issue protein (beef) but squid, tongue & innards, this surprisingly may be one of the few to serve duck meat...

I knew the minute I saw this unrepentantly evil banner, with flames crowding in on an adorable little innocent, that I would love this place (sorry, Donald/Daisy...RIP)

As advised by the Pulitzer-winning one, I got the roast duck ($23.99), which came in beautiful round slices with a plate of salad greens, scallions, pickled radish, kimchi, bean sprouts, sliced cabbage with (miso?) sauce, and shredded radish.

There was a special pan used just for the duck, which cooks in its own fat - there's a 'drain' at one side of the pan, but that is plugged with a bunch of kimchi to prevent the delicious fat from escaping. My server threw the discs onto the pan with tons of whole garlic cloves - when these two started to sizzle on the grill together, the smells were intoxicating (like any other kbbq joint, definitely do not wear any dry clean only clothing...). Though the duck was fairly thinly sliced, it took way longer than I was used to, with bulgogi or even galbi beef. Trying to be self sufficient, I used the tongs to spread the pieces out so they each had their own surface area of the pan to cook on - and was promptly chastised (in a friendly way) by my server. Apparently with duck you should keep it in a sort of pile to avoid burning the pieces? So once the duck is nice and browned with bit of caramelization, I was instructed to throw it into the salad greens, pile some scallions and pickled radish on top, and eat together in one bite. Loved how the sweet/gamey juiciness of the duck is counterbalanced by the crunchy mildness of the greens, subtle bite of scallions, with the sweet/tart pickled radish crunch & juice to cut through it all. I also had some Korean raspberry wine, which went fantastic with the duck.

After you're done with the meat - while all the delicious duck fat and slightly charred meat bits and garlic cloves are still sizzling on the grill - your server will add purple rice, chopped up kimchi, sesame and bit of salt and pepper, and stir fry up a batch of fresh fried rice for you, right on the same pan. This results in the most fragrant and beautifully crusted kimchi fried rice ever.

After the heat of the kbbq meal, I was presented with a free bowl of cooling bean sprout/spring onion broth as chaser.

Others have commented on the lack of good service here, but on my visit, I felt well taken care of - almost like having a home cooked meal hosted by a Korean friend's mom. There was a language barrier, but we still managed to communicate well enough to get through the meal, and all of it was friendly.

The only drawback to all this is the price - it's quite a bit more than your average kbbq joint, so not an everyday kind of place, but the duck was decadent and delicious.

As a duck (for dinner) lover, it's great that I can now have it prepared on the Korean barbecue grill, year round. 

Will definitely look to be back soon!!

On a 7 point scale:
Flavor - 6 bites
Presentation - 5.5 bites
Originality - 6 bites
Ambience - 5.5 stars
Service - 6 stars
Overall experience - 6 bites
Price - $$$ (3 bite marks)
Probability of return visit - 100% 


Sun Ha Jang
4032 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90006

Ph: 323.634.9292


Sun Ha Jang on Urbanspoon

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