Peking Gourmet [Garden Grove]

I’ve had this place bookmarked for a few months now, and I was really having a craving for Korean-style Chinese food, specifically Sweet & Sour Pork. Can we take a second to acknowledge just how fucking awesome SoCal is that we can sate such highly-ethnically-specific food cravings??

I was seated promptly and ordered the Sweet & Sour Pork (requesting the sauce on the side), the Eggplant with Hot Garlic Sauce and the small Chachiang Mein (Jjajangmyeon).

So first off, I will note that I had a bit of a weird service experience. The people working seem very, very nice, but perhaps they made some assumptions about me and my palate based on my ethnicity; for example, I was only given a fork and had to ask for chopsticks. I also was not served any of the apparently in-house kimchi banchan that many have raved about on yelp (I did not ask for any, though, because I already had more than enough food). Also, when I ordered the Sweet & Sour Pork, the waitress questioned me on my choice and pointed at the picture in the menu to verify that I understood it would be “more of a honey sauce” than…I don’t know what, maybe the nuclear orange gloop from Panda Express? Spoiler: I would not describe the sauce as “honey-like” in the least, except maybe in color. I did find this odd, though, as the clientele were a diverse bunch, including a table of 4 morbidly obese white Americans who were loudly talking about their diabetes and comparing medications the whole time I was there. Overall, I’m going to give the waitstaff the benefit of the doubt this time, but I’m a bit miffed at being denied the banchan, as that’s never happened to me at a Korean establishment before. A male staff member did walk by during my meal and seemed excitedly surprised that I was enjoying the Sweet & Sour Pork as I had, so I really hope they just over-thought the situation out of a desire for me to enjoy my meal without encountering anything I’d find off-putting or too “foreign .”

Now onto the food:

Sweet & Sour Pork

This was the star of the meal, and it was everything I had wanted it to be! For those of you who have not had the Korean style before, it’s a more complexly-flavored sauce with more vinegar notes than what you’ll find in a mall food court. The fried pork itself is more tempura-like in terms of preparation, and the sauce contains slices of cabbage and carrots instead of diced capsicum (bell peppers) and onions. I highly recommend specifying/confirming that the sauce comes on the side so the fried pork stays crispy instead of getting soggy; you can also spoon a more modest amount of the sauce over each piece for a lighter bite if you prefer, as well.

Rating: :star::star::star::star::star:

Eggplant with Hot Garlic Sauce

This was also very good! Slices of eggplant deep-fried similarly to the pork, with shredded bamboo, mushrooms, diced capsicum and covered in a savory garlic sauce. I don’t think I would really describe this sauce as “spicy-hot” in the least, though there are some dried chilis stir-fried into the sauce. Unfortunately, this dish does become soggy quickly, so best enjoy it as promptly as possible when it arrives at the table. Still, the first helping had a variety of flavors and textures, and while not “spicy” or even particularly garlicky, it was a very flavorful dish.

Rating: :star::star::star::star:

Chachiang Mein

This was the biggest disappointment of the whole meal. Although it looked very good when it came to the table, this was a big starchy mess. The black bean sauce was super gloopy and tasted of cornstarch slurry, and the noodles were also very starchy in flavor, too. Speaking of the noodles, the ratio of sauce to noodles was inadequate. What’s worse, I only had 4 very small, thin slices of pork that tasted a bit dry and not terribly fresh. Onions, zucchini and a few pieces of cabbage rounded-out the sauce, but really I tasted very little in the way of the typical black bean sauce flavors, and mostly it tasted of cornstarch slurry and mild soy sauce. This was just absolutely awful, especially in comparison to what one can easily obtain in a Korean food court at the mall. Given the raves on yelp, I sure hope I just got an uncharacteristically bad bowl. The one positive thing I can say about this is that the portion size is large for the price, though still too stingy with the pork and overall serving of sauce.

Rating: :star:

The bill was also left at my table rather early into my meal, but I read about this happening to some on yelp. There was no real rush, though, as the dining room was not crowded, and staff did not seem to be hovering to try and shoo me out the door or anything, either; perhaps this was just another service oddity?

Overall, I was quite happy with two of my three dishes, and I’d even be willing to try my luck another time on the Chachiang Mein (side note: the menu also has a “Gai Chiang Mein” that differs by one Korean character on the menu, but Google and Wikipedia don’t draw any distinctions between what otherwise appears to be a difference in transliteration – anyone have any insight?). Next time I will definitely be more assertive regarding the kimchi banchan, and I’m looking forward to trying more of the menu. Unfortunately most of the menu does not have pictures of the dishes, and the transliterations aren’t always very descriptive. Still though, I can see why this venerable, family-owned and operated institution has been serving food in Garden Grove’s Korean District since 1985, and their Sweet & Sour Pork is one of the best examples I have had from this wonderful fusion cuisine of Chinese and Korean food.

Overall Rating: :star::star::star::star:

Peking Gourmet
9092 Garden Grove Blvd Ste A
Garden Grove CA 92844
(714) 539-5301
11:00 - 21:30 Wednesday - Monday, Closed Tuesday


Unless I am familiar with a place, I always order my jajangmyun as gangajang, which means the sauce and noodles are served separately so the diner can control how much sauce they want. I also don’t eat pork, so I can get it without the meat. I found it unusual that the pork in the dish you had had slices of pork, rather than ground pork, which I think is more common (but I could be wrong).

I don’t think you are wrong, and I was surprised at this, as well, but I just chalked it up to a different preparation. Honestly I thought it somehow didn’t come with any pork at all until I found 4 small slices near the end of the bowl.

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It almost always come with pork. Unless you are a “weird” Korean like me who usually eschews meat (I have a weak moment here and there :smile:).

All the times I’ve eaten sweet n sour pork at a Chinese Korean restaurants its come served like this.

Maybe my response wasn’t clear - I was referring to the jajamgmyun, not the tangsuyuk (sweet and sour pork). I’ve never seen slices of pork in jajungmyun, only ground pork.

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JJM should not have pork slices.

That’s sort of like getting bologna slices in your hot dog.