This location has moved since the writing of this post: 9711 – 107 Ave, (780) 438-0790.
This review has been updated on November 19, 2014 and can be read here.
I’ve been craving Korean food almost on a daily basis now. My trip to South Korea is only two months away and with all the research I’m doing, it’s hard to stop thinking about it!
Joe and I use to frequent Won Jung Gak quite a bit but lately we’ve been heading to Old Strathcona’s Lee House more often. The servers are starting to recognize us which led me to believe that it’s worth writing up a post about it even though we usually order the same items. It’s located on 104 St, just a couple blocks south of Whyte Avenue. The same parking complex as the well-known Dream Tea House and No Frills, but Lee House is tucked away in the southeast corner.
I’ll keep this post nice and simple. I’ve been there at least a dozen times now over the years, mostly with Joe, and we order the same thing every time: Budae Jjigae, a spicy kimchi stew with ham, sausage pork (it’s sliced hot dog), sliced pork, tofu, noodles, and various vegetables. I don’t care if it’s over thirty degrees outside, this soup hits our buttons the right way. The hot pot is enough for two and comes with your traditional banchan dishes (kimchi, seaweed, pickled radish) and a bowl of rice per person. Soooooo yummy.
One time we ordered the pork bone soup hot pot instead to try. The broth is a little different, more depth in flavor obviously from the pork bones but it doesn’t come with noodles, if I recall correctly. We had to add it in at an extra cost. Although equally delicious, we both prefer the other soup for simplicity sake! (We’re lazy, lots of bones to gnaw through but the meat falls apart easily.)
One time Joe really wanted to try their version of Jjam Bbong, a spicy noodle soup with seafood and vegetables (do you see a trend here?) and wouldn’t share a hot pot with me. For those who don’t know me very well, I’m all about the sharing. If you’re not sharing with me, it leaves me in quite the dilemma. I can’t eat stuff on my own, my poor stomach can’t handle it! In cases like these, I’ll almost always over order and have leftovers for home.
So while Joe happily ate his bowl of soup (spicy! I might add), I ordered the Dol Sot BiBimBap, a mixture of rice, vegetables and seaweed, minced bulgogi, and fried egg, served up in a hot stone bowl. Always get the Dol Sot version of the rice bowl and leave the rice in for a bit to get that crunchy rice on the bottom. Adds great texture! The bowl comes with sauce on the side that you can mix in as well as chili paste. Although not the best Dol Sot BiBimBap I’ve ever had, it was decent and accompanied my second dish quite nicely.
You read right, Joe orders a noodle soup for himself and I order two entrees for myself. #foodieproblems? Lee House is known for their Korean fried chicken. This came before a time where southside’s Wing Chicx and Coco Deep Fried Chicken came into existence and you know what? It’s grown on me. Although no where near as crispy as the other two, their sauce is killer. It’s a little bit more on the sweeter side when compared to the other restaurants, but they’ve got this smoky flavor going on which reminds me of a traditional Western BBQ sauce. Oh my God, so good.
So if you’re up for some traditional Korean cooking, check out Lee House. It’s a small space so call in advance for large groups. Every time Joe and I have went we’ve just showed up and a table is ready within 15 minutes, seems like a high turnover most times. Lee House will also be opening their second location in the heart of Chinatown and the menu will feature some of their classic items (I’m sure their fried chicken is on that list) and focusing more on Korean BBQ. We were told they hope to open late July. Can’t wait to try, especially when the weather gets colder, but for now you’ll find me with a large hot pot and deep fried chicken at every visit!
7904 – 104 St