My ABSOLUTE favorite Korean restaurant! Locations in Chino Hills and Diamond Bar.
Panchan (side dishes): I’ve been to Young Dong many times and the side dishes are always the same (see above) and they’re all quite good. Here’s the rundown:
- small salad (one per person; not communal): I love this little salad! The dressing tastes house made – it’s tangy, peppery, creamy and really good.
- spicy cucumbers (ohee): well done
- kimchi: kind of heavy on oyster, large pieces of raw oyster
- seasoned bean sprouts (kong na mul): average
- spicy squid on cabbage: that raw jalapeno adds quite a bit of heat; average
- cold seasoned seaweed (mi yuk): super refreshing, well done
- korean pancake (pajeon)(one per table): really delicious! When it reaches our table, it’s always hot, fresh and crispy on the edges. The dipping sauce is good too.
Tonkatsu. Tonkatsu indicates pork, but I think this is actually chicken katsu. Regardless, it’s the BEST katsu I’ve ever had. It’s light, crisp and very buttery. The coleslaw is made of thinly shredded cabbage topped with sort of seafoody, creamy dressing. The rice comes in a stone pot and you get a side of seaweed soup, which helps clean the palate. The potion is always incredibly generous and I’ve seen very few people finish it by themselves.
Dol Sot Bibimbap: I’ve only ordered this dish twice, but it’s also incredibly well done. I am most often disappointed by the rice at other restaurants, but the times I’ve had it at Young Dong, it’s always been perfect. You can literally hear the rice sizzling when they bring it out to your table! For me, part of the appeal of dol sot (stone pot) bibimbap is that ever so slight crisp to the rice at the bottom of the bowl. This is completely ignored by lots of Korean restaurants, who choose to fill their bibimbap with wet, sometimes even mushy rice (*tone of outrage)!
Additionally, there are places that allow their bibimbap to be served with a cold fried egg (?!), but Young Dong’s is always perfect. I also appreciate that Young Dong brings out separate bottles of gochujang and sesame seed oil, so you can make a custom sauce. Lots of restaurants bring out one bottle of pre-mixed sauce (bleh). Finally, since I find bibimbap comes to feel a bit starchy and heavy after a while, the quality of the panchan becomes important. The bibimbap here is also served with a side of seaweed soup, which is really nice to refresh your palate between dense bites of bibimbap.
Soon Doo Boo: Sorry for the ugly pic, but the soon doo boo here tastes pretty fabulous. I prefer my doo boo to have thick, hearty consistency (unlike BCD), and Young Dong definitely delivers! My favorite is the kimchi-beef, extra spicy 😉
Anti-recommendations. I know it sounds like I think this place does everything on their menu better than any other Korean restaurant, but not everything is perfect. I would say their BBQ is not bad, but not especially good, as is the case with most Korean restaurants that don’t specialize in BBQ. I thought their spicy pork was especially bland. Their chap jae was also a bit too oily and over-peppered for my taste.
Menu. I don’t think Young Dong has a website, so here’s a copy of their menu as of 01/2012:
Young Dong (multiple locations)
3233 Grand Avenue
Chino Hills, CA 91709
(Albertsons plaza, X-street Peyton Avenue)