Paldo Gangsan is probably the best kept secret when it comes to soju, food, and deliciousness. That is, until now. This is the part where I expose its good and awesomeness to you. I'm also going to see how many times I can add "ness" to words as I write this.
My girlfriend and I happened on here as we originally went to christie for 팥빙수 (patbingsu - shaved ice dessert) at HodoKwaja. I arrived late because of traffic and hunger completely changed our plan. There were a few places close by. The infamous Owl of Minerva was tempting but we've been there one too many times after a club night. Luckily, right beside it is Paldo Gangsan, above the E-mart which isn't really E-mart.
We were hesitant to go in as I thought, "Why would people go here if they could just go to Owl?". A Korean speaking couple walked past us to go in. After I looked, the guy spoke with the most Canadian English, likely to show off to me that he can speak. Buddy doesn't know I'm Canadian.
Anyway, our curiosity paid off. Stepping in we were surprised to see it was packed. Packed full of people, and goodness. (+3) We quickly discovered that the combos were the best of the best.
At $19.99 we ordered a combo which included 부대찌개 (budae jjigae) and a bottle of soju. The 부대찌개 by itself was $15.99, so it only made sense to add soju on top of that and make it a combo. Combos usually start at $24 in other places, and only includes basic dishes. At Paldo Gangsan it starts at $19.99 with a good selection, and can go up to $40-$50. A combo with 삼겹살 (Three layered pork) is $23!
The soju came promptly, and tasted real. They had one of my favourite side dishes, potato! It seemed like they used honey, so I devoured that sweetness (+4). The 부대찌개 finally came and the serving was huge!!!!! I couldn't believe, again for the price, that it was this big. It's for two people but we couldn't finish it. Wouldn't they want to give us a smaller portion since we got a combo? I could only image what the standalone $15.99 serving is like.
There has to be some catch to this unworldly combo deal. Fake soju? bad taste? invisible food? So I expected the 부대찌개 to taste bad but I wasn't disappointed. There were tons of sausage, spam, noodles, tofu, and rice cake to feed two cats and a dolphin. The soup was as it should be, not too salty, not too spicy, but a little tangy. We had to pack the rest of it. So for about $20 we got three meals out of it, and not some fast food fake beef (though you can argue the sausage and spam).
The place itself isn't bad or spectacular either. The decor is not much different from places like Owl or Lim Ga Ne. Simple wood tables and chairs. We sat in a booth which gave us a little more privacy and a bit of sunlight. Being on the second floor its easy to see the people on the street. The only problem keeping this place from top spot is it's business hours, 7 days/wk from 11am-2am. Owl's 24hr pork bone soup capabilities is why I've never really heard of Paldo before.
If I'm in Christie, I'll be at Paldo Gangsan. I might also be at HodoKwaja because I still haven't tried their 팥빙수. Not really a fan of walnuts but I'm hoping they'll win me over with shaved ice dessert. Service? ^^ ("ness" count - 4)