Ever since the Korean store Zion Market opened in its new location (replacing Sears) on Clairemont Mesa Blvd (near Convoy intersection), I’ve been doing most of my grocery shopping there. I love how spacious the store is now compared with before, and a Paris Baguette bakery makes it even better. There is also a food court inside the building, separate from the grocery store. There are a couple of herbal supplement and gift shops and a cosmetic booth, but I was focused on the food places.
S and I were with some friends at M.I. Tea Express and decided that we wanted to grab dinner nearby, so I suggested checking out the food court. I had read a review from Kirbie of Kirbie’s Cravings about one of the places, Noodle J-I, and definitely wanted to try the amazing jajangmyeong.
The menu is quite simple here: jjampong, jjampong with rice, jajangmyeong, jajang with rice, stir-fried noodles (coming soon), and a pork stir-fry dish. I of course went for the jajangmyeon, one of my favorite Korean dishes.
In case you didn’t know what jajangmyeon is, it’s basically noodles topped with a black soybean paste sauce with diced pork and onions. There’s also fresh cucumbers as you can see. This is a Korean take on the Chinese dish zhajiang mian (炸醬麵), but actually the tastes are completely different. The Chinese version is sweeter and lighter, and I don’t usually think of them as the same dish. Okay, that’s enough explanation. If you’re curious, here’s the wiki :)
So what’s the verdict on this bowl of jajangmyeon? I loved it. The noodles were made in-house and had a nice “bounce” to them, the sauce was very savory. The fresh cucumbers added just the right touch to lighten up the sauce. Definitely one of the best jajangmyeon I’ve had.
By the way, see the daikon on the side? There is a large bin of it by the ordering counter, and you just help yourself. It was pretty refreshing to eat after the thick soybean paste sauce.Friend ordered the jjampong, which is a spicy seafood soup. The same type of noodles were used, but I didn’t get to taste it. I had a sip of the broth and thought it was good but not outstanding. My friend enjoyed it, though. I definitely preferred the jajangmyeon, but I also am biased towards dry noodle dishes (no broth).
S wasn’t feeling like noodles that day, so he decided to try out CDD Tofu & Grill, located right next to the Noodle J-I station.
The menu consists mostly of tofu soups (soondubu), which S loves. He chose his regular, pork tofu soup.
The meal came with several side dishes, but none of them was spectacular. Both of us liked the tofu soup, though. A short while after he got his food, someone came by to offer…
Stone Rice! I really love stone pot rice because of the crispy bits of rice from the hot pot. I learned that Koreans often add barley tea or soup to the rice, which they’ve done here. S was quite happy about the stone rice, and about the portion sizes.
Overall, I liked our meals here a lot. I also really enjoyed the atmosphere of the food court – our friend commented that it reminded him of the food courts in department stores in Taiwan. I agreed that it was a lot of fun to people-watch and enjoy a nice, casual, and yummy food court meal. (I hate most mall food courts, although I’ve heard a few good things about the newly revamped Westfield UTC food court.)
Anyway, if you’re ever shopping at Zion and wanted to grab a quick meal afterwards, definitely check out some of the food options here. A pho shop, The Spotted Cow, also recently opened, and there is also a bubble tea shop, a Chinese food stand, as well as, of course, Paris Baguette for dessert.
Read about CDD Tofu & Grill and Noodle J-I on…
Noodle J-I7585 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego CA 92111 (inside Zion Market)
CDD Tofu & Grill
7655 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92111 (inside Zion Market)
Hours: Mon-Sat 11AM-8:30PM; Sun 11AM-8PM