I cannot tell you how much I am craving good Chinese food. Since we moved to Seoul last year, we have yet to find authentic Chinese food, not even American Chinese food! There is a lot of Koreanized Chinese dishes and a lot of Northern Chinese cuisine (like hot pot and lamb skewers) but no good authentic Chinese restaurants.
Recently a new restaurant opened with the claim that they are offering real American Chinese food. I have been itching to give it a try and so this week off we went for a late lunch!
Hours American Chinese Bistro
41 Sinheung-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea (서울 용산구 신흥로 41)
(Take the subway to Noksapyeong Station, use exit 2. Walk straight and follow the main road into Haebonchon (HBC) until you pass Sinheung-ro 7 gil. The restaurant is a little past Bonny’s Pizza and Casablanca)
The decor is cute and they added in some Chinese touches like a lucky cat, a Chinese paper fan, and some bai jiu bottles.
The restaurant offers typical American Chinese dishes like Crab Rangoon, General Tso’s Chicken, Beef with Broccoli and more. When you come, be prepared to pay the Korean price for Chinese food (which is always high).
They also offer a daily lunch special, but forget about the $5.95 special you are used to back in the States that came with a drink and an egg roll too.
We decided to try the Salt and Pepper Shrimp, General Tso’s Chicken, and a small Shrimp Lo Mein. All dishes come with as much white rice as you want.
The first dish to come out was the Salt and Pepper Shrimp (₩18,000). I was definitely disappointed just looking at the dish, normally Salt and Pepper Shrimp are shell-on and much larger. These shrimp were shrimp salad size! The taste was okay, it tasted very buttery (which isn’t something we usually use in Chinese cooking) and there was no crunch to the shrimp (probably since they weren’t really battered). Would I order this again? Probably not.
Next the General Tso’s Chicken (₩15,000) came out. The smell and look of the dish seemed right, so we were off to a good start! No evidence that the chicken had been absconded by a ton of batter, really the chicken pieces were lightly battered. The sauce had a good sweet and tangy taste and a slight bit of heat. I liked it and scooped the extra sauce onto my rice. This definitely would satisfy a Chinese food craving.
Last, but not least was the Shrimp Lo Mein (₩9,000), for the small size I ordered, the portion wasn’t bad. I was surprised though that for the Lo Mein they used the bigger size shrimp! They need to use the small shrimp for the Lo Mein and the big shrimp for the Salt and Pepper Shrimp dish! The taste of the noodles was pretty good, not exactly what you get in the States, but a close fit. I would order the noodles again.
After seeing a lot of other tables ordering the Beef with Broccoli (₩18,000), and it looking pretty delicious, we also decided to try it.
We were surprised that it was about 95% beef and only 5% broccoli, but I guess broccoli is harder to come by here in Korea? In the States, I would definitely say I recall seeing a lot more Broccoli.
Our total bill was definitely more than what one would pay compared to the US, but my cravings were satisfied and I was full and happy, priceless! I will be back to Hours to get my Chinese food fix, especially since it is pretty close to our house.