I love Youk Gae Jang also, probably my favorite Korean entree and the item I order the most often at Korean restaurants. But it is not widely known or popular with most non-Koreans for some reason. I’m glad you also like this dish.
I’ve been trying them at the local Korean places in Fremont and find that there are variations in the ingredients in the soup – none which matches all the ingredients one finds in Korea. However, most are spicy enough and will give me the runny nose after I drink the entire bowl.
I’ve been to Lee’s, and they seem little more expensive than the other two.
First one is Four Seasons (?) Soontofu near Fremont & Blacow near Big 5 (1/5 mile from the old Raffles). This place is bright and clean and the owner is very friendly. They also have Korean BBQs, Soontofu, BiBimBops and other standard dishes.
The other one is Manna near Cedar/Stevenson (FoodMaxx mall). This place is the least expensive of the three. They also have a pretty complete menu, and most items are cheaper than the other places by a buck or two.
Taste wise I haven’t found any of them much better or worse than the others, they’re all pretty decent.
Make sure if you want to order the Youk Gae Jang, tell them you want it spicy. I find that if you ask for spicy, the taste is about normal spicy level found in Korea, which is not super hot. So if you don’t ask for spicy, it may be too bland.
I don’t know the real standard recipe, but from what I’ve had, the following always seems to be present:
shredded beef, scallions, fern (I don’t know if this is the right name, but it’s brown color), bean sprouts, mung bean noodles, and EGG. There may be a few others but the above are the ones always present.
The places I visited in Fremont were missing at least one of the above: fern, mung bean noodles or Egg.
It’s interesting that you find the recipes says no Eggs, but I’ve always had them before, and I think it actually sort of “makes” the dish and gives it the extra nice touch…
Yes, mung bean noodles are the clear noodles. And the brown vegitable strips is a key distinguishing ingredient as it is seldom used in other dishes. I don’t know the actual English name, but it does look like some kind of a fern.
Bean sprouts should also be pretty common also, I’m surprised you haven’t see it used. Yes, the best part is definitely getting to the bottom of the bowl…