I was craving some Ja Jiang Mien one day, and Pdho decided to yelp it and found Tong Soon in Santa Clara. I have been intrigued by the concept of Korean Chinese food ever since I discovered it courtesy of Pcess. I’m not sure if I could accurately describe what Korean Chinese cuisine is, but it seems to be characterized by a couple of key dishes one of which is the Ja Jiang Mien or Black Bean Sauce Noodles. It makes me curious to figure out if Ja Jiang Mien is considered Chinese, Korean or Chinese-Korean? I don’t think I have had it often enough to be able to tell. Can anyone out there enlighten me?
The only other place that I’ve had good Ja Jiang Mien is at San Tung in San Francisco. The Ja Jiang Mien here is also pretty good as well. The black bean sauce is quite similar in taste, but San Tung might win out because there is more seafood, meats and vegetables in the sauce. Pdho prefers the noodles here at Tong Soon, but I think I like San Tung’s better because they are a little bit thicker and have more of a chew to them. Regardless, the Ja Jiang Mien is pretty comparable and I’m just being really pick when comparing the two.
The other dish that often gets ordered at Korean Chinese restaurants is Tang Soo Yuk which is essentially Sweet and Sour Pork or Beef. I think we ordered it with pork. What I really like about this dish is the way they do the sweet and sour sauce which is a lot tastier than the Chinese version of sweet and sour. I’m not sure how to describe it, but it’s kind of a sweet sauce with a little bit of tang to it. There are usually pineapples mixed in with a variety of pickled vegetables like carrots and zucchini. I really liked the pickled taste, because it helps cut the sweetness from the sauce. I also like how the fried pieces of meat sit in the sauce instead of being doused in it, so you can moderate how much sauce you need with each bite.
Overall, the food was pretty good and very reasonably priced. The restaurant is pretty simple and non-descript, but one of the most notable things is that that service is surprisngly good. They are very nice, almost polite, which sounds odd to say, but frequent diners at Chinese restaurants know what I mean. Customer service is never their forte. Really, their wait staff is very friendly… always smiling and very accommodating. Nevertheless, the food here is good.
3240 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95051
PAFO Ratings for Tong Soon:
Price 2½ stars
Ambiance 3 stars
Food 3½ stars
Overall rating 3½ stars