Back in the day, Ellicott City wasn’t overflowing with as many Korean restaurants, bars or supermarkets as it is now. There was one market and one restaurant, and that one restaurant was Han Sung. I’ve been going there since I was a little girl – after band recitals, graduation, school concerts, for any special occasion really. Our two options were the Sizzler on Route 40 or Han Sung in the St. John’s Crossing retail center (across the street from Rita’s). Good times! Now we have so many good restaurants to choose from in the area, but I still find myself craving Korean food from Han Sung.
Han Sung hasn’t changed much since then – the decor, the sushi chef, perhaps even the menu is the same. When you have something good, why change it? And I must say, they have THE BEST hwae dup bop in all of Maryland (the best I’ve had anywhere to be honest). Hwae dup bop literally means raw fish over rice. It’s like the Japanese Chirashi but a million times tastier. Think sashimi meets bibimbop – so freakin’ good. Many of the other Korean restaurants in Ellicott City have hwae dup bop on their menu, but if you want happy tastebuds and an even happier belly, trust me – Han Sung is the only place you should go for it.
So yesterday after running some errands in the morning and going to some meetings in the afternoon, Kevin and I headed to Han Sung for our usual – two big bowls of hwae dup bop. (We always order before they even have a chance to give us the menu). I also really like their ban chan. It tastes like how grandma would make it at home. The ban chan looks very simple, but they are packed with a lot of flavor. Our favorite is the potato ban chan. We always get refills of that one. The zucchini ban chan is a close second.
Ban Chan (left to right): Marinated perilla leaves (also known as wild sesame leaves, tastes similar to the Japanese shiso leaves), spicy braised potato, sesame seasoned broccoli and asparagus, kimchi, marinated zucchini, marinated bean sprouts
Hwae Dup Bop – steamed rice seasoned with sesame oil, topped with finely shredded crisp iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced garlic and jalapeno peppers, cubes of salmon, tuna, yellow tail, squid, fish roe, sesame seeds
Cho Go Chu Jang sauce – red chili paste seasoned with vinegar, sugar and sesame seeds. Add the cho go chu jang sauce a little at a time. By adding and mixing a little at a time, you won’t over season it. You can always add more sauce if you need to.
I needed to add just a little more. 🙂
Ta da! Now that it’s mixed together well, it’s time to eat. It really hits the spot every time!
They serve a bowl of miso soup with this dish.
Some of my friends really like the Hwae Dup Bop at YetNal House in the Bethany 40 shopping center. It is good there and their sashimi pieces are nice and big, but they use mixed salad greens!!! Mixed salad greens…No No No. You need the finely sliced iceberg lettuce – that’s the good stuff! We talked about having a ‘Battle of the Hwae Dup Bop,’ YetNal House vs Han Sung. I already know who the winner is! 😉
I wanted to share this post so more people can try this fabulous dish! Hwae dup bop isn’t as popular to non-Koreans as bibimbop or Korean BBQ, but it’s a classic that you really need to know about! Just a heads up – Han Sung is open Tuesday thru Sunday. I’ve driven down to Ellicott City on a Monday several times only to be disappointed. You’d think after all these years I’d know by now…it’s the worst when you crave hwae dup bop on a Monday!
Hope you guys give it a try and enjoy it as much as I do. Let me know your experiences in the comment section below. Happy Eating! 😀