The Korean choice for Korean foodBy Kate Samranvedhya
Traditional Korean & Japanese Sushi Bar
290 Somerville Avenue
Somerville, MA 02143
Mon-Sat 11.30am - 11pm
Sunday 12noon - 10pm
This is the Korean restaurant where my Korean friends go to when they want Korean food. The food at WuChon confirmed this hypothesis: you can find good ethnic food where the people of that ethnicity go. Lunch or dinner, you will be served well with good food, if you can communicate with the waitresses. Not all of them speak impeccable English, but the numerated menu assures that you get the dish you ordered.
If you start with the popular Korean dish, Bulgogi, you would first be served with “Kim Chi,” the traditional Korean side dish. In fact, it is served with any main dish. The quality of this mainstay of Korean dining is one of the indicators I use to rate any Korean restaurant. At WuChon, there are not only more varieties of Kim Chi than other general Korean place, theirs is better. Samples of WuChon Kim Chi include aromatic Sesame leaf marinated in oil, big-head bean sprout, spicy cabbage, seaweed, and marinated yam (sweet or spicy). The availability of these varieties varies by day, but you can always count on having the spicy cabbage or bean sprout.
Since WuChon does not have a grill at the table, Bulgogi, or marinated grilled beef, is served on a hot plate over a bed of fresh scallions. One of my Korean friends taught me that, traditionally, you put some rice on a Sesame leaf (or fresh leafy vegetables) with some beef and bean paste, then you wrap the leaf package and eat it. However, there is no fresh vegetable available at WuChon and you have Bulgogi with rice.
For vegeterians, the menu offers quite a selection. One of the dishes I like is Bi Bim Bap, which can be made with ground beef or as a vegetarian dish. It comes in a normal bowl or hot bowl, with a bed of rice, chopped vegetables on the top, and a sunny-side fried egg. If you choose the beef version, your meal will include some ground beef. After stirring the Bi Bim Bap up with some bean paste you simply eat it as is. It is one of the quickest lunch or dinner dish and it tastes pretty good.
The menu choices at WuChon are extensive. Look for spicy signs indicated in the menu. The sushi bar is open on weekends only. Try some cod in spicy broth. Or if you go there for lunch, try the lunch special. If you particularly want soup, try bean paste stew with tofu and optional pork. Whatever you try, it will be good and comforting.
To get to WuChon, turn right onto Prospect street when you are on Mass. Ave. Follow on Prospect street until you cross a bridge in the Somerville area (10-15 minutes drive, with traffic lights). Turn left at the first traffic light right after you cross the bridge, you will see WuChon on the left, next to Dunkin Donuts. I recommend getting there by car or taxi only. Enjoy.