Spicy Squid Wraps at Choi's Korean Restaurant


Sizzle. Steam. Boil. You'll get plenty of this tasty triple threat at Choi's Korean Restaurant. Its Korean name? 최가네 쌈밥 (chwae ga ne ssam bap). 

Sizzle and steam. The source of all my happiness. 

Sizzle and steam. The source of all my happiness. 

Choi's is located across the street from Lawrence Plaza where Jang Su Jang and Paris Baguette reside (featured in previous Kingdom Koreatown episodes). Its exterior and interior is far from fancy, but once you get a bite of the steamy pork wrapped in assorted greens, the whole world starts changing colors and shapes!

The exterior appears gloomy and grey. The flavors waiting inside are colorful. Mostly red and green like Christmas.

The exterior appears gloomy and grey. The flavors waiting inside are colorful. Mostly red and green like Christmas.

1pm. It is Martin Luther King Day. The restaurant is a little over half full. My mother and I debate on getting the Woo Guhji Galbi Tang (cabbage and rib soup) on the $9.99 USD Lunch Special menu. 

The Dwenjang Jjigae arrives boiling. By the time I snapped out the hypnosis, the glorious boiling faded away. That's when I captured this shot.

The Dwenjang Jjigae arrives boiling. By the time I snapped out the hypnosis, the glorious boiling faded away. That's when I captured this shot.

After much inner battle, we order the Ssambap set for two people. Two bowls of Dwenjang Jjigae are included. You choose two types of meat. We go with the spicy pork and spicy squid. This restaurant is all about the spicy. Feisty fiesta in the mouth!

The spicy squid harmoniously sharing the table with other yummies.

The spicy squid harmoniously sharing the table with other yummies.

The Ssambap set comes with a tall basket of various leaves: red cabbage, seaweed, kale, baby kale, escarole, steamed cabbage, and lettuce. Take one leaf or layer multiple leaves to wrap your feisty piece of meat inside. Typically you'd also add white rice, a raw piece of garlic, and a dab of dwenjang paste. Be conservative with the size of your garlic. I always underestimate its potency and end up with tears. Happy tears, but tears nonetheless.

We ate until we were past full and still had plenty of food to take home. Perhaps we'll make a nice fluffy salad with the leftover leaves.

We ate until we were past full and still had plenty of food to take home. Perhaps we'll make a nice fluffy salad with the leftover leaves.

Another shot of the Dwenjang Jjigae because why not. 

Another shot of the Dwenjang Jjigae because why not. 

Let's not forget about the parade of banchan (Korean side dishes). The Ssambap will engross you with its sizzle and steam, but the group of eight side dishes next door cannot be ignored for too long. 

Peekaboo. Giving some attention to you! 

Peekaboo. Giving some attention to you! 

Your typical sweet and spicy Napa Cabbage kimchi.  

Your typical sweet and spicy Napa Cabbage kimchi.  

Japchae (Korean glass noodles) on the left. My preferred side dish at Choi's Korean Restaurant.  

Japchae (Korean glass noodles) on the left. My preferred side dish at Choi's Korean Restaurant.  

As expected, the side dishes ranged on the sweet side. A common trait amongst the Korean restaurants in NorCal. However at Choi's, the side dishes have an additional layer of flavor: spicy! I break out in quality sweat from eating all this food. 

My mother taking the spicy meats to-go. She plans to create a Korean spaghetti using these ingredients.  

My mother taking the spicy meats to-go. She plans to create a Korean spaghetti using these ingredients.  

On Yelp I read that the service at Choi's was a huge turn-off. Here's a little advice: smile and be sweet regardless of how the waitresses act. They'll warm up to you soon enough. Spicy food, spicy waitresses!

The neutral-looking storefront. 

The neutral-looking storefront. 

Choi's Korean Restaurant, we'll be back for your Woo Guhji Galbi Tang. You watch out. We'll be building up our tolerance for spice and eat up all your food! You have been warned. What a yummy threat. 

The signage looks like a spatula.

The signage looks like a spatula.

Candid moment as my mother decides what to have for lunch. 

Candid moment as my mother decides what to have for lunch. 

Choi's Korean Restaurant
(408) 615-0200
3530 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95051


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