Ho Lee Chow

Think living next to China will lend to amazing Chinese food dining experiences in Korea? Think again.

The bastardization of food served away from its proper home happens all over the world. Taco Bell is far from Mexican food. And pizza has morphed in to a world wide phenomenon of strange toppings and ingredient filled crusts.

Chinese food in Korea is no different. It gets its identity from Northern Chinese regions like Beijing, and is nothing like what we’re used to at home in the US. Most common is jajangmyeon, an unflattering dish of wheat noodles topped with a salty thick black soybean pasty sauce. Koreans love the the stuff. Meh.

My friend the internet told me that most Chinese food restaurants in Korea are not owned by Chinese people, but rather Koreans. My take… it’s Korean food with a weird twist, and not that good. I love Korean food, but I’m not feeling the Korean Chinese food I’ve sampled.

But don’t give up, there’s always Ho Lee Chow. It’s advertised as American, Chinatown cuisine. And from what I understand it’s the closest thing you’re going to find around here. The restaurant in Itaewon is nice and clean. A mixture of mostly foreigners and a few Koreans were dining on a late lunch on a Saturday afternoon.

Ho Lee Chow is far from the typical Korean Chinese restaurant. It’s not Sungari in downtown Portland. But it’s not mall food. I would put it a step below PF Chang’s. Yes, I like PF Chang’s, and after living in Korea for a while now, would do horrible things for kung pao shrimp, chicken or even veggie lettuce wraps, and some ginger peach tea.

We started with an appetizer of fried spring rolls and dumplings. Both were stuffed with shrimp and served extremely hot. The sweet chili dipping sauce was good. What tasted like a lime flavored mayo dipper was a little odd. All in all, I’d order it again.

Our entrees were kung pao chicken and sweet and sour chicken. The kung pao was good and spicy. The sweet and sour sauce was a little weak, maybe a little watered down compared to what we’re used to at home.

It’s a little expensive, but we’ll be back for sure. I was satisfied when I left. Next time, I’m thinking General Tso’s chicken, maybe some beef and broccoli.

Learn Korean with KoreanClass101.com


~ by ripcitytoseoul on June 25, 2010.

3 Responses to “Ho Lee Chow”

  1. I was just there Wednesday to film!!! I didn’t venture in the restaurant, but laughed at the name. I’ll have to venture back in once I get back to the area.

    • Hey Steve. I actually just started watching your videos. Good stuff man.

      Ho Lee Chow is not so bad. We’ll be going back for sure.

  2. Thanks, glad you enjoy the videos. The Tourism office is just the other way from Ho Lee Chow, so I got a few free moments to explore the area since it’s been a while and needed to refresh my memory.

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