Jang Manok is a hip bar and restaurant that offers Chinese inspired cuisine and strong cocktails.
Thankfully there was no wait when we went around 11 am, so we were seated right away. They have extensive indoor seating, but you will frequently find a line waiting for this trendy restaurant. They do not have outdoor seating.
Even in daylight, the interior was dimly lit with Chinese lanterns, a disco ball, and their iconic neon sign spelling out the name in Chinese characters, so it felt like it I stepped into a bar late at night. I liked the street-style vibe that the restaurant had, and the tables were set up as small booths to the side and a long table in the middle that was shared between different parties.
They have an extensive alcohol menu with wine, beer, soju, and their Chinese baijiu drinks, which are definitely not for the weak (34%-52% alcohol content!)
I tried their Lychee Gin and Tonic (9,000 Korean won; ~$8.5 USD), which was refreshing and slightly strong, topped with two delicious skewered lychee.
As for food, they offered many Chinese inspired dishes, but generally the food was lacking a bit in flavor and the portions were on the smaller side. You do have to order rice separately and the price ranged about a $1.
The Shandong Garlic Noodles (9,800 Korean won; ~$9 USD), was my favorite of the dishes we tried. It looks like a simple dish, but caught me by surprise. The sauce was sweet and savory and coated the noodles well, and I really enjoyed the slight smoky taste that the slightly crunchy vegetables and minced pork had.
I expected a lot from the Pearl Balls as they were pricey (11,800 Korean won; ~$10.5 USD for 4 pieces), but unfortunately they were nothing special. The pork and shrimp filling was lacking in flavor and texture to make it memorable.
The Fried Eggplant with Mara Sauce (13,900 Korean won; ~$13 USD) was saucy, savory, very good when paired with rice, but it was missing the spicy kick that I love with anything mara flavored.
The Deep-Fried Chicken Thighs with Green Onion Sauce ($15,800; ~$15 USD) was crispy and paired well with the green onion signature sauce.
The sauce was soy sauced based an had a nice crunch from the green onions. I also added cilantro for a flavor explosion!
Don’t expect very attentive service here as the waiters are very busy, but overall it was a fun setting to enjoy food and drinks with friends after a long week!
Address: 323, Euljiro 3(sam)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul 1F