Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ho Lee Chow - Itaewon

Chinese food like we have in the U.S. can be extremely hard to find in Korea, but Ho Lee Chow does a pretty good job of it. I've been to the location in Itaewon twice and have had no problems with ordering or the food. I don't have any pictures at the moment since I forgot my camera, but their website has a full menu w/ prices, location directions, and hours of operation. It's only in Korean, but the main navigation is in English.

Ho Lee Chow has 5 locations (soon to be six) in the area: Itaewon (in the Hamilton Hotel), Apgujeong, Jamsil, Bundang, Dogok, and in April, one will open in Yeoido. The interior of the Hamilton Hotel branch is very spacious and you don't feel crowded or rushed while you are eating. Free hot tea is on the table - I want to say it's a jasmine tea, but I could be mistaken. The tea hit the spot on Saturday with the random freak snow flurries we had. The staff are friendly and attentive, but they don't hover like many places in Korea.

Prices aren't too bad for lunch items, and I would probably recommend a lunch set for a larger group if your food preferences aren't too varied (mine and my friends' usually are). For 4 people, 3 dishes are probably enough. We each ordered a dish and some chicken fried rice and spring rolls to share and weren't able to finish all of our food. We were going to give our leftovers to the homeless person outside, but he was gone when we left :(.

The chicken fried rice was really quite good and not Koreanized at all. I had the kung pao Chicken, and it was pretty good - not too spicy, but the chicken had kind of a weird texture. Still good, though. Justin had the orange beef and said it was really good while Marianne had the sweet & sour pork and said it was good. Our resident vegetarian friend, Denise, had the Buddha's tofu dish and said, "oh my god," so I take it that it was good, too. Actually, the tofu dishes did look really good, so I'll probably try one of those next time. The have a nice variety of chicken, beef, pork, seafood, and veggie dishes, so there should be something on the menu to please everyone.

One of the things I like about Ho Lee Chow is that they actually have plain iced tea (no peach or lemon flavor in it) and bring you liquid sugar to mix in with it if you want. Most restaurants that have "iced tea" on the menu make it from the Lipton packets of peach or lemon flavored instant tea, but the menu doesn't tell you that it's flavored.

So if you're craving some Western-style Chinese food, Ho Lee Chow is a good place to give a try. They don't have Springfield-style cashew chicken, but hey, nobody's perfect ;)

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