Chinese is without a doubt my favourite cuisine, I adore it and would almost certainly choose it as my last meal on earth. However trying to find good Chinese food in Seoul is far harder than it should be considering China is practically our neighbour. So when I saw that Cha Chaan Teng had opened I immediately went to give it a try.
Cha Chaan Teng is a small basement restaurant located at the end of churros street in Gyeongridan. I have visited a couple of times now and by far and away my favourite dish on the menu is the Beef Chow Fun (13,500). I love a good fried noodle dish and this one in no way disappoints. Large flat noodles, fried beef, bean spouts and onions. Slightly sweet, salty and spicy, the dish has that great Chinesey taste that you can never seem to replicate at home.
As well as the chow fun, I’ve also tried The Dan Dan Noodles (10,500). I’m kind of on the fence about these. The egg noodles are served in a thick and soupy satay peanut sauce. While both the noodles and sauce are enjoyable i’m not really sure if they work together, it just seemed a bit claggy. I think the sauce would be great with some chicken and vegetables in it though.
Aside from the noodles they have a couple of side dishes on the menu, including two sets of dumplings. The Fried Mini Dumplings (5,000) are small and fishy, not as exciting as I had hoped, and The larger Chive Dumplings (5,000) were boiled and just a bit bland and gelatinous. I can’t say I’d care to order either set again, which is a shame as I’m usually such a fan of Chinese dumplings.
I’d had a mixed bag of dishes but was still desperate to try the Sweet and Sour Pork (9,000), but every time I tried to order it, it wasn’t available yet. However the quality of the Chow Fun kept me coming back for more. Last week I finally got to try it. Unfortunately it wasn’t the batter covered treat I had been longing for, but it wasn’t without its charm. The sauce was thick and gloopy and more akin to what I’d get back home, but the pork was just cubed and fried samgyeopsal with some pineapple and apple chunks thrown in. Not great but not terrible, I’d probably still get it again occasionally just because it was fairly cheap.
While Cha Chaan Teng wasn’t the holy grail of Chinese dishes I’ve been longing for, it has filled in a small spot in my cuisine puzzle. On my last visit I saw one of the owners taking photos of a new crispy looking chicken dish, so hopefully as they find their stride they will add a few more dishes to the menu. For now the chow fun is a good enough reason to keep me going back.
Cha Chaan Teng is is located at 346-9, Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong station (line 6) and come out of exit 2. Walk straight until you reach the underpass then go through and exit using the stairs on the right. Walk straight until you reach Street Churros and turn left. Walk all the way to the very end of this road when it forks take the right hand fork. You will see Cha Chaan just ahead on the right below Little Neck. For more information you can call them on 070-5043-4243.