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Dongtaejeon

As mentioned before in my past review on Soon’s Kal-Bi Drive-In, Go to any Korean restaurant here in Honolulu, and chances are you’ll find Meat Jun. However, it will likely be spelled in a number of different ways, such as “Meat Juhn, Meat Juun, Meat Jon, Meat Joon, Meat Joohn or Meat Jhoon”. God forbid they spell Meat as “Meet”. lol

I also understand while Meat Jun is commonly found at Korean restaurants in Hawaii, on the mainland, its rare to non-existent. However, those of you living in the CONUS who frequent your local Korean restaurant might want to set the record straight for us on that.


Soon’s Meat Jhun

Meat Jun is essentially Korean style, thinly-sliced and or pounded flat bite-size pieces of meat – usually beef – battered in either flour or a modified “Korean Pancake” batter, then dipped in a beaten egg wash that may or may not have been enhanced with seasonings such as garlic and onion powder, then pan-fried. It is then typically served with a shoyu, sugar/and or vinegar-based dipping sauce, plus a hot sauce (Gochujang being the usual), with variations on that as well.

In this case, we have Fish Jun, which typically are made using Pollock, a fish widely available in Korea (as well as most north-bound countries), where it’s called ‘Dongtaejeon’ in its truest form of the dish, with “Dongtae” referring to Pollock, and “Jeon” or “Jun” referring to being battered in flour and egg wash.

Similar to the more expensive and richer-tasting Haddock, Pollock, a.k.a. “Dongtae” is considered a “Whitefish”, being very lean, neutral-tasting, with barely any noticeable “fishy” flavor to it. That said, like Haddock, Pollock is a very common fish used in the U.K. for Fish ‘n Chips, being one my favorite deep-fried delights!

Speaking of fried, Pollock is also commonly used in Korea to make what we’re talking about today called Dontaejeon, a.k.a. “Fish Jun”.

And yeah, this is one of them “OCD” blog posts Anthony Bourdain loves so much. Not. lol

So anyhow, in case you haven’t noticed, here today we have Fish Jun, a.k.a. Dongtaejeon, which in this case is from Tasty Korean B-B-Q in Mililani Town Shopping Center, where I happened to be at the other week.

See what I mean? Not only do the local Koreans spell “Meat Jun” 1001 different ways, so they also do with “Barbecue”. WTH?!!!!!!

“Korean BBQ”? “Korean B-B-Q”? “Korean Bar-Be-Q”? Korean Bar-B-Cue”? Then you have “Kal Bi”? Kalbi”? Kalbee” And it goes on, and on, and on, and on…. Drives me nuts! lol!

I tell you what, I’m going to spell my name 1001 different ways. The most common sounding of all being “Pu-Mai”. Perhaps “Poh’My”. Or how about “Poo Mai”. Nah, that’s so wrong. lol

But I digress.

So “what they stay get” here at Tasty Korean B-B-Q? Let’s check it out…

Zoom in…

Tasty Korean B-B-Q also caters…

As I’ve mentioned many times already, what I love about Korean restaurants are the wide variety of Banchan side dishes they serve with their dishes. Similar to Japanese tsukemono, many of them are pickled using salt and sesame oil to name a few. The most known of course being Kim Chee, a.k.a. Kimchi, a.k.a. Kim Chi… on brother, here we go AGAIN! lol

Let’s check out Tasty’s Banchan spread…

Like most other Korean takeout joints in town, you get four choices of Banchan. Which always stumps me, as I want a little of EVERYTHING! In fact, next time, I’ll try asking if I can do that. Which chances are with them hard-headed, fiesty Koreans, the answer will be NO. “You come heah, you only get foh choice!” in a thick Korean accent. lol Gotta’ love them Koreans. So full of character!

And so is the Banchan, where my favorites that I usually choose are the Korean style shoyu potato (not the mayonnaise one), “seaweed” (as the non-Korean young lady working here said it was called), Choy Sum and of course, Kim Chee. That’s what I chose on this occasion, however sometimes I go for the bean sprouts, or the tofu if they have it.

You know da’ rules…

O.K., let’s try Tasty Korean B-B-Q’s take on Dongtaejeon…

Fantastic! The batter has great texture and is quite flavorful, tasting like they add seasoning in it, being perhaps garlic and onion powder, plus of course salt. It’s also very “eggy”, which is what gives “Jun-ified” meats (or in this case Pollock fish) its unique character.

Speaking of which, I’m curious how a meat or fish jun would taste if you used just egg yolks (no whites) for the wash. Probably even more intense? Perhaps too intense of an egg flavor going on.

Right about now you’re probably questioning, “And this guy’s on a so-called “diet”?” lol

And yet again, I digress. Sorry ’bout that.

So anyways, Tasty’s Fish Jun is EXCELLENT, being as good as any I’ve tasted to date. If there’s any complaint, it would be the Pollock, which simply lacks character, being too lean. You can also tell it’s been previously frozen. They cooked it PERFECTLY, where it was super moist and flaky, but even with that, it just doesn’t stand up to a good cut of more Omega 3 fatty acids rich ‘n oily FRESH-CAUGHT Monchong; that by far being my favorite “white meat” fish. Oh man, I can only DREAM of Monchong Jun! In fact, I think I’ll make it some time soon and blog it!

As for the Banchan, the Korean Shoyu Potato, Seaweed, Choy Sum and Kim Chee were all PERFECT. Couldn’t have been better. Most notably the Kim Chee was SUPERB, especially for a chain takeout joint. Then again, the Yummy’s Korean BBQ takeout restaurant chain also does an excellent job with consistently excellent banchan. Amazing how they do that.

So good, I ended up “polishing” the plate, except for the white rice…

Had it been brown rice, I’d have polished that too.

Tasty Korean Barbie-Q… oh sorry, I meant Tasty Korean B-B-Q has four convenient neighborhood locations to serve you in the Mililani Town Center, Waipahu Town Center, Kaneohe Bay Shopping Center (my “shmall keed” hometown turf!) and Kapolei Shopping Center.

The Tasty Island has one convenient internet location to serve you worldwide at www.TastyIslandHawaii.com. lol

Tasty Korean B-B-Q
Mililani Town Center
623-0988

Menu (download PDF at that link)

The Tasty Island rating (for Fish Jun):

(5) Superb. Worthy of repeat visits or purchases. (Broke Da’ Mout’!)

P.S. Since we’re talking about meat and eggs, here’s a dozen chicken Balut Diner C bought from Puuhale Market…

Crack open the top…

Peel away some of the shell, add salt, then slurp-up that amniotic fluid goodness…

Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm. Tastes like chicken! lol

Read more about Balut in one of the most visited pages on this site here.

21 thoughts on “Dongtaejeon

  • July 21, 2012 at 10:02 am
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    Meat jun is non existent here in the Seattle area. You maybe right that it might be under a different name. BTW, do you know how they make the Korean style potato salad so creamy? Also, still waiting for a oxtail stew recipe but I guess with your new diet wont be seeing it.

    Reply
    • July 21, 2012 at 10:08 am
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      Interesting to hear that there’s no Meat “Jun” that you’re aware of being available in Seattle. Try check if they name it as “Meat Jeon” or “Gogi Jun”. Something to that effect.

      I have an EXCELLENT Oxtail SOUP recipe, courtesy of Jean Watanabe Hee. Essentially the “core” of its soup base flavor is a combination of Chicken Bouillon, Beef Bouillon and Star Anise. EASY!

      Reply
  • July 21, 2012 at 11:06 am
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    Pollock is one of the 5 close relatives of the Atlantic cod. Quite good when done right, terrible when not.
    And you got the shoyu potato. My favorite. I like them hot by the way. Microwave at home. Of course takeout places don’t have the iriko.

    Reply
    • July 21, 2012 at 11:15 am
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      I think the only problem with Pollock, at least here in Hawaii, is that it’s been frozen probably for a VERY LONG TIME by the time it hits our store shelves. My soon-to-come Fish Jun “experiment” using fresh, Hawaii-caught Monchong, and perhaps Opah and Mahimahi, will certainly be interesting… and I’m sure DELICIOUS!

      Oh yes, I ALWAYS select the Korean Shoyu Potato Banchan. LOVE IT. In fact, that was my “starch”, as I don’t eat white rice with my current “diet”. *Cough-cough*

      Reply
      • July 21, 2012 at 8:43 pm
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        It may have changed since I was there last, But Teddy’s Burgers had a terrific pollack burger. And you are right. Freezing time and if the restaurant is paying for quality matters a lot.
        Here is something weird. I saw Costco carries hake, another of the (cod) Gadidae family and from Namibia (Africa). Might be worth a try.
        For one of your Fish and Chips experiments. The Irish love hake. With chips.

        Reply
  • July 21, 2012 at 11:25 am
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    Pomai, I was in to seeing these photos of meat jun than you showed balut and freak me out now not too hungry. Maybe tomorrow.

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    • July 21, 2012 at 11:31 am
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      Good. I’ve done my job. lol!

      Reply
  • July 21, 2012 at 6:17 pm
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    Pomai, you bloging of box lunch with rice and meat? What about diet? Bit balut did turn some stomachs around out there my almost but I did still meat jue and yes no where on mainland have it so we very lucky.

    Reply
    • July 22, 2012 at 10:33 am
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      I didn’t eat that Balut. Diner C did. Also, those photos were taken several months ago before my “diet”. *cough-cough* I just thought it was fitting for this post, as Amy mentioned. Perfect!

      Reply
  • July 21, 2012 at 6:26 pm
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    “Hannara Restaurant” is a Korean Restaurant in the strip mall next to entrance to City Mill Waianae Shopping Mall and has very good write ups from Yelpers but I haven’t tried it out yet and “In & Out Bbq & Sushi” is Korean in the Waianae Shopping Mall which I’ve tried a couple of times and they are good!

    Reply
    • July 22, 2012 at 10:34 am
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      When in Waianae, I’ll stick with Mexican at Tacos & More!

      Reply
  • July 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm
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    Hi Pomai! I’m a local girl living in Maryland due to the hubby being in the Navy. This is our 2nd tour here and when we arrived here 10 years ago on our first tour, we both went to a Korean restaurant near Ft Meade and I tried to order meat juhn. It wasn’t listed in their menu so I thought it was on a “secret” menu. They looked at me like I was talking another language. And to top that off, you should have seen the looks when I asked them for shoyu! Anyways, “gogi jun” is served at Korean restaurants but only as a banchan. Well, at least the ones that I have been to on the East Coast. And with banchan here, it’s rare that you will get serve the same stuff everyday, so getting meat jun or gogi jun is slim to none. And thanks for posting those gorgeous pics of meat jhun, I will be there in Hawaii in about 2 weeks to visit ohana. Here I come Soons! Aloha and keep up the great work!!!

    Reply
    • July 28, 2012 at 3:09 pm
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      Aloha Nancy, and mahalo for sharing the 411 on the availability of “Meat Jun” on the east coast. Just like “Shoyu”, I think it’s just a name or pronuncation thing when it comes to Korean restaurants in different parts of the US. I mean, even here in Hawaii there’s variations, as I’ve already explained. Or are you saying they didn’t even offer “Soy Sauce” with the meal? I can’t see that happening, as that’s a foundation to many of their meat marinades and dipping sauces.

      I think lots of military folks go to Soon’s because of their close proximity to military housing, Pearl Harbor and Ft. Shafter. Same thing for Tasty Korean Barbie-Q in Mililani Town Center, which is close to Schofield. You’d almost think you’re in a base PX walking through the Mililani Walmart.

      I bet you’re looking forward to coming home in now what will be a week away. Yay! If you like Korean food, I highly recommend you try Arirang on Dillingham Boulevard, nearby Honolulu Community College. EXCELLENT food, excellent banchan, excellent seaweed soup, and excellent prices. Nice place too. Here’s a link to my review of Arirang…

      Heading more Diamond Head in the Kaka’ako area, I also highly recommend Ah-Lang, a.k.a. “Angry Korean Lady”…

      Check ’em out!

      Reply
  • October 7, 2012 at 9:01 am
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    Meat Jhun is definitely just a Hawaii thing. I found this out when I moved to LA and first tried looking for it. I found this out from a Korean restaurant owner who was very familiar with the Korean food in Hawaii. I also was amiss to find out that Bi Bim Koo Soo is very rare in the restaurants here even in KoreaTown itself. It’s my fave Korean dish from home so when I want it I just make it myself. Lots of work but the pay off is BIG. There are also no Tasty or Yummy type of fast food Korean places here where you can choose your own Ban Chan. I really miss those and ALWAYS frequent those places when I come back home for a visit.

    Reply
    • October 7, 2012 at 10:06 am
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      Da Hula Girl,

      Huge mahalo for clarifying that. Proves what I’ve been told about certain Korean dishes here being unique to Hawaii.

      Next time you come home, you gotta’ try Ah-Lang, a.k.a. “The Angry Korean Lady” in Kaka’ako, and also Arirang Bar-B-Q near HCC. Both EXCELLENT Korean restaurants, and very reasonable! Highly recommended!

      Speaking of Korean, I just found a K-POP station on our radio dial at 107.5FM. Some of the music is pretty good! There’s a few “teeny bopper” tunes they play, but most of the up-tempo stuff is well written, with good beats and catchy hooks. I listen to that station often now. If only I could understand what they’re singing. The only Korean word I know are the names of the foods and Kumsumnida (thank you). lol

      My mom is a major Korean Drama junkie. She watches the stuff all day and night. She went as far as subscribing to the Korean soaps digital pay channel. So addicted, when she’s watching her favorite Korean show, don’t even ATTEMPT to interrupt her, lest you get yelled at. I mean, she gets furious! Whoah Aunty, go easy now! lol

      What’s funny is, normally you couldn’t catch me DEAD watching a soap opera, yet mom got me hooked on a K-drama series that ran a while back on the free channel called Don’t Hesitate.

      Hoo-wee, was that show INTENSE! Tear jerker ‘kine! Don’t Hesistate is about a young lady named Hyun who donated a part of her liver to her save her boyfriend – who was her first and only true love – from dying of what would otherwise be a fatal disease. The boyfriend was saved, but nobody would tell him that his girlfriend was the donor. After the operation, she went into a coma for a long time, where because her now saved boyfriend thought she might die, he moved on and married another girl and had a kid together with her. When Hyun came out of her coma, naturally she was DEVASTATED the very person she gave her body and soul to left her for another. But then a handsome chap named Tae Woo comes into her life to try and win her heart… and from there the plot takes all kinds of crazy twists and turns.

      I tell you, the writers of these K-dramas really love to twist up the storyline, constantly having you on the edge as to what will happen in the next episode. Certainly addicting as a viewer if you get sucked into it! K-drama suckahz! lol

      Seriously though, if you haven’t watched a K-drama before from beginning to end, I highly recommend Don’t Hesitate. Excellent show with an excellent cast!

      Reply
      • October 8, 2012 at 10:38 am
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        Mahalo Pomai!

        The two cuisines that I really miss whenever I’m back in LA (besides the obvious local food and Hawaiian food) is 1) old school Chop Suey House like at home. There is no place in LA that replicates Hawaii Chinese food. You cannot find Hawaii style ‘Abalone’ Soup, Kau Yuk or Crispy GauGee anywhere here. 2) As mentioned earlier Hawaii style Korean food. I miss it so much that when my hubby and I had our casual vow renewal at home in April we catered from Gina’s BBQ in Market City. :-) By the way I just sent you a friend request for Yelp.

        Reply
        • October 9, 2012 at 4:55 am
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          Da Hula Girl,

          Like Fish Jun (a.k.a. Fish Jeon/Joon/Junn), another dish apparently exclusive to Hawaii of the Chinese genre is “Cake Noodle”. Can you find that in your neck of the Cali’ woods? I bet not.

          You’re now my friend on Yelp. While there, check out my latest review on Aloha Tofu Mousse. Another thing you NEED to try when you come back home. MUST. Crazy insanely oishii-yo!

          Aloha,
          Pomai

          Reply
  • October 10, 2012 at 5:32 pm
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    What are the prices catering for meat jun by itself as well as kimchi??

    Reply
    • October 10, 2012 at 5:45 pm
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      Alexis, the PDF menu download provided in this post includes the entire catering menu price list.

      The price for catering a 21-piece pan of meat jun is $61.78 including tax.

      A tray of vegetables (which I’m assuming are a variety of Banchan) is $46.07 including tax.

      Download the entire menu PDF here:

      http://tastyislandhawaii.com/documents/tasty_korean_bbq_menu_7.12.pdf

      Reply
  • May 29, 2017 at 4:41 am
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    It’s hard to seek out knowledgeable individuals on this matter, however you sound like you know what you’re speaking about! Thanks

    Reply

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