Jun-Men: Kimchi Rice, Oh So Nice

It would be overstating things to call Jun-Men a Korean restaurant. A few mentions of kimchi on the menu does not make a place Korean, nor does a half-dozen Samsung tablets by the register running SeamlessDoorDashCaviar.

And Jun-Men ramen is certainly not Korean ramen. I am not exactly in my element here– twelve hours at Incheon Airport does not make me an expert on Seoul food– but every time I’ve had Korean ramen, the noodles have been of the flash-fried, instant variety. Jun-Men’s noodles are fresh.

So let’s just enjoy Jun-Men for what it is: a good ramen shop with a kitchen that takes itself seriously but doesn’t insist that you do.

The appetizers steal the show. Chef Jun does drunk food so well that you really must be sober to appreciate it. The chicken wings are crispy fried, sticky with sweet and deep and layered “jun-men sauce” that would make Rick and Morty weep. The kara-age chicken bun is a perfectly pairing of soft bao and crunchy breading– like a gordita crunch but completely different and better. The fried rice is as good as it looks.

Kimchi fried rice
Chicken wings with “jun-men” sauce
Chicken kara-age buns

After those openers, though, the headliner didn’t stand a chance. Yes, the spicy miso ramen was creative and flavorful and vibrant and well-executed, but it just didn’t pop for my palate. This may be my personal preference for saltier broth, leaner chashu, and fewer kikurage. It may be that my heart and soul were still on the appetizer course. Or it may just be that it’s better than most, but not the best.

Spicy miso ramen

… all of which makes Jun-Men a place very much worthy of your patronage. There is enough on the menu to justify a second and third trip (as if the chicken wings alone were not enough). Next time, though, I will do it a little differently: show up just before closing, after a few beers, and double-down on the appetizers.

This man takes his craft seriously.
Togarashi Bae
Japanese IPA, who knew? Delicious.

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