Crunchy, Satisfying Mung Bean Pancakes with Seafood or Pork - The New Korean Bindae-Tteok Specialist, Soon Hee Ga [Thoughts + Pics]

When I hear about “savory Korean pancakes,” my mind immediately thinks about Pajeon (the Korean savory pancake made with Eggs, Scallions, Flour and a type of protein like Seafood, Pork or Beef), perhaps the most famous type of Korean pancake locally. But then a good Korean friend of ours mentioned a new Bindae-tteok specialist that we had to try, and it was time for a visit.

Bindae-tteok, it turns out, is a Korean Mung Bean Pancake, made with ground Mung Beans, Bean Sprouts, and places can offer variations with Seafood or Pork. The new specialist that just opened, Soon Hee Ga, hails from Gwangjang Market in Seoul, South Korea, established in 2004.

When you walk in, the little shop is clean and modern, and their menu is indeed focused on Bindae-tteok, offering 3 types (Plain, Pork, Seafood). They have a few sides as well, but that’s it.

Pork Mung Bean Pancake:

We opted to try their Pork Bindae-tteok and their Seafood Bindae-tteok on the recommendation of our order taker. The Pork Mung Bean Pancake arrives a glorious, golden brown hue from the pan frying. Taking a bite:

Consistently crunchy in every piece of the exterior! :blush: My one disappointment with most Pajeon I’ve tried (Korean Pancakes with Egg, Flour, Chives and Seafood / Beef / Pork) is that almost all of the versions I’ve eaten are soggy and soft on the exterior. Once in a while, we’re lucky enough to find a restaurant that makes it with some crisp-crunch on the exterior, but most of the time it’s oil-laden and soggy.

If this is what Bindae-tteok is usually like, then sign us up for more! :slight_smile: Every piece is beautifully crunchy, giving each bite you take a satisfying exterior crunch, before giving way to a soft, fluffy interior of the Ground Mung Bean mixture, mixed with whole Bean Sprouts and in this order, delicious, savory Ground Pork.

The dipping sauce of Soy Sauce, Vinegar and Pickled Onions and Chilies helped to cut through the heaviness. A great pairing.

Mayak Gimbap:

According to their menu, “Mayak Gimbap” literally means “Narcotic Gimbap” since you can’t stop eating them once you had one. :slight_smile: Gimbap (or Kimbap) might be more well-known locally as “Korean Sushi Rolls,” where Rice and Pickled Veggies (and some other ingredient variations) are rolled up in Seaweed, similar to a Sushi Roll.

Soon Hee Ga offers their Gimbap as a side dish, and they are very good! Pickled Radish, Carrots, Spinach is combined with Rice and rolled up with Seaweed, topped with Sesame Seeds. There’s a fragrant note of Sesame Oil in each bite, and the overall taste is light, crunchy (from the Pickled Radish), and a tasty appetizer. It also tasted freshly made, which is a huge plus (many versions at supermarkets, etc., end up with hardened Rice, etc.).

Seafood Mung Bean Pancake:

Their Seafood Mung Bean Pancake really does taste different from the Pork version. The chunks of Shrimp and Squid add a new textural contrast, in addition to the excellent piping hot, crunchy exterior. :slight_smile: The Mung Bean batter and whole Bean Sprouts within are pleasant and taste lighter and earthier than those used to eating Pajeon (Korean Egg & Flour Batter Pancakes).

With the arrival of the first U.S. branch of Soon Hee Ga (from Gwangjang Market in Seoul, South Korea), we have a Bindae-tteok (Mung Bean Pancake) specialist that is making some delicious, crunchy offerings. This was our first encounter with Bindae-tteok, so I’m not a connoisseur, but from what we tried, I like them far more than most of the Pajeon we’ve had locally. These Pan Fried Mung Bean Pancakes are consistently crunchy, piping hot, and with a fluffy interior. That alone makes it superior and so enjoyable.

The Pork and Seafood Mung Bean Pancakes are both standout in their own way. They also offer a version without Mung Beans (called “Pork Meat Ball Pancakes”), but our order taker said it wasn’t as good as their OG Mung Bean version, so we held off. Their Gimbap (Korean Rice Rolls with Seaweed) are also tasty and a fun little appetizer / side worth ordering as well.

Soon Hee Ga
1033 S. Baldwin Ave.
Arcadia, CA 91007
Tel: (626) 461-5039


Nice report as always, but I am surprised you enjoyed your visit here.

We tried a trifecta of mung bean pancakes – basic, pork and seafood. Without getting into the fillings (or lack thereof), each of them was soft and not crunchy at all. Like eating limp gyoza almost. No crunch, even tho they were served piping hot. Weird.

The best of the bunch was probably the pork pancakes, which actually had a nice flavor and aroma to them. The seafood version was just off, and didn’t taste like anything. Thank god for the dipping sauce and pickled onions. Was really craving some kimchi, though.

Maybe I went on an off day …

Korean mung bean pancakes are generally not served that crunchy like the pics in @Chowseeker1999 review. Those almost look deep fried. All the home made Korean mung bean pancakes I’ve had over the decades have never been crunchy. It might be one of the reasons I don’t go back for seconds.



All the bindae-tteok that I’ve had in LA Korean BBQ houses have all been crunchy. I’m curious, do you have a recommendation (anywhere in the US) for traditional bindae-tteok?

Hi @ipsedixit ,

Oh wow, bummer your visit sounded like the complete opposite of mine! :open_mouth: The fact you’re saying all of your bindae-tteok were soft and soggy is… disheartening to hear. :frowning: As you can see in my pics, they were gorgeously crunchy on the outside and soft inside, a nice textural contrast.

I’m guessing either you went on an off day (which is bad news for consistency!), or when we went they still had their OG staff, and they’ve pulled the typical “bait & switch” (that we’ve seen in many upstart restaurants where the properly trained OG cooks / chefs are in the kitchen for the first week or two and then they’re gone (back to other branches / home country) and leave poorly trained replacement staff to cook). :frowning:

Thanks for the report back @ipsedixit. I’ll also check with my SGV friends if they end up doing a visit to see how their meal turns out. It would be sad to hear if they already went downhill alert this quickly.

Hi @js76wisco ,

Thanks for the FYI! We’ve never had bindae-tteok before this restaurant, so we had no idea if they are normally soft or crunchy. I would say for textural contrast, the ones we had here that were crunchy were really enjoyable. :slight_smile:

On a side note, related to @ipsedixit’s question, have you had any great Pajeon (Korean Pancakes with egg, flour, protein) that you liked? All the Pajeon we’ve had in LA / OC have been… soft, some places had a tiny bit of crispiness, but then the filling was so thick and dense that it was mainly mush in the middle.

I remember once a long time ago, a Korean co-worker of mine had taken me to have some KBBQ and that place (I have since forgotten the name) had a Pajeon nice crisp-crunchy exterior (nice sear).

Sorry I don’t. It’s one of those dishes we would not order at a restaurant or go to a restaurant that specializes in bindae-tteok. I hate sounding like my mom. Haha.

I’ll ask around but the only time we actually eat bindae-tteok at a restaurant is when they provide it as “service” which in Korean loosely means free food. Like the ice cream at some all you can eat KBBQ joints. Young Dong tofu sends out a free bindae-tteok at each meal.

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Yes, exactly. That’s how I’ve always gotten.

Sort of like going to a restaurant that sells only Olive Garden breadsticks or Sizzlers cheese toasts.


Sometimes, I feel sad to be living in Boston. Free bindae-tteok?! :open_mouth:

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Lovely pics and report!

Though I’ve not encountered bindaetteok that thick - or deep fried.

But the reason I actually stopped by was to mention a funny episode of the TV show Kim’s Convenience centered on this dish. Mom tells daughter “this is such a complicated dish - you don’t appreciate the trouble I go through - go do it yourself,” then daughter learns to make it from a blog and it turns out superb, mom tries to figure out what the secret is, daughter eventually discovers that mom has been serving a frozen version the whole time. :rofl:


True story.

Years ago, on a first date I made “Chicken and Waffles” for dinner. She was absolutely stunned at how delicious the chicken was. Later, I told her my secret. It was the chicken patty from a Chik-Fil-A sandwich.


I miss Kim’s Convenience so much! And I would always get hungry when I watched it. We live in a Korean food wasteland…


Hi @ipsedixit ,

LOLOL. :grin:

That was a very funny episode. I’m sad the show is over.

I’ve found that if one does something really well, or even just half adequately, in a relationship, the person will be stuck doing that forever. :smiley:

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