Korean food is easily one of the most popular and trendy Asian cuisines consumed by Americans, so it’s no surprise that “chain” and “fast casual” are popping up all over the county like mushrooms… 🍄 BUT as most foodies would tell you, the key to an authentic experience are those family owned, hole in the wall (very NYC-esque), maybe with karaoke on the side places.
One of our favorite spots, far from the obvious Korean populated places of North Jersey, is in Parsippany, NJ called Hwang Bu Ja Soonduboo Specialty.
Although far from being a hole in the wall (it is after all in a strip mall type of location), is 100% family owned and operated.
The menu (seen above), loaded with the many Korean favorites emphasizes several variations of Soondobu Jiggae or Tofu soup. Interestingly, when you look at their menu, you will notice that the numerical order is a bit off. The owner’s son describes it as a bit of an “organized chaos”.
The whole ensemble, the brainchild of his father who is also the chef, is subject to change without notice. BUT! So much passion is put into it, that he describes being the guinea pig of numerous variations of fried rice, some with upwards to 30 ingredients in them!
Appetizers- what is K-food without their little appetizer dishes?! Clockwise From left: traditional kimchee, bean sprout salad and cucumber kimchee. Not as many offering as other places but the quality is good.
Vegetarian Fried Dumplings- fried to perfection! It is made up of a combination of bean sprouts and other mixed veggies. Can’t go wrong with these!
Japchae– sweet potato noodles, with sesame oil, oyster sauce and veggies. Can’t go wrong with this dish and is definitely not as heavy as other entrees on the list, if you are looking for a delicious but lighter option on the menu
Kimchee Jigae– aka tofu soup, hot and with varying levels of spicyness (according to your preference) made of pork broth and kimchee with pork belly, clear noodles and tofu is definitely perfect and delicious for those cold winter nights. It comes out of the kitchen boiling!!!! 🔥
Yukgaejang– comes already spicy with oxtail broth with shredded beef, scallions, bean sprouts and noodles! This is definitely not for those who have a low threshold for spice! Also comes out of the kitchen boiling! But very very satisfying to those that can handle the heat!
Kalbi (korean short ribs)- comes on a sizzling platter with a pair of scissors. Perfectly marinated in sweet and salty soy sauce, juicy and pairs perfectly with rice! Amazing dish!!!
Dol Sot Bi Bim Bap– this dish is most likely the most popular dish for Korean Food and is deemed the “safest” even for the not so adventurous!
Don’t get us wrong, the ingredient combination delivers an awesome flavor punch. Made out of enoki mushrooms, bulgogi (marinated beef), bean sprouts, egg over white rice with sesame oil and for those that want a little extra something red chili paste! Yummmm!!!!
Overall, Hwang Bu Ja, all though classified as a very satisfying and flavorful experience in a suburban location with great service! It is perfect for family dinners with a plethora of offerings for the adventurous, conservative and the high-scoville-eaters at a great price point!
Give them a try!
Bite Sized Duo approved!!!!
Ann & Luan