Tosokchon is a new addition to the Howard County food scene, located in the new shopping center on Route 40 where Forest Diner used to be located. I went there with my resident Korean food expert and chaperone so I could have the most authentic experience possible.
Inside Tosokchon you see modern yet subtle decor with some bare bones tables. Having a understanding of Korean cuisine will help you navigate the menu as it can be a little complicated or daunting if you’re unfamiliar with Korean cuisine. Also if you don’t like spicy food, this place might not be for you. So many things on this menu are super spicy, even the dish I ordered which was just one spicy pepper on their rating scale was super duper spicy.
We started off with some roasted sliced pork hocks with a kimchi pancake as well. The pork hocks were slightly dry but still tasty. If you like gooey gelatinous parts of meat, this is a dish you’ll like. If that’s not your thing, then you might want to steer clear of this dish. A sauce for the pork would’ve helped but you can also pair it with the array of banchan that’s given to you when you start the meal. (Banchan is a bunch of small dishes that are given to you at the start of a meal, typically a variety of pickled things)
We paired the pork hocks with some of the salted baby shrimp and lettuce, the saltiness of the shrimp went well with the pork. The kimchi pancake was one of my favorite things on the menu, it was perfectly crispy with just enough sweetness and spice to go along with it. I definitely recommend ordering this.
The chicken and potato stew that I ordered was delectable, I only wish my mouth was ready for the spicy onslaught it was about to experience. The stew itself is a gochuchang based stew filled with chicken, potatoes, and onions. The broth is rich and slightly sweet as a result of the gochuchang and the carrots in the stew. The chicken thighs in the stew are delicious and the meat is extremely flavorful. The dish goes together well with the rice that is served along with it. We ordered a stewed pork rib dish that was very similar to the chicken stew and it was also very good.
As I made my way through the dish at some point I had to tap out, it was just so spicy that I was no longer tasting my food. It doesn’t mean I didn’t like it, but it does mean that I couldn’t finish my meal which is rare for me. Aside from the stews, Tosokchon also had a dish called L.A. Galbi and spicy pork belly on the menu that I wish I was able to try. Both looked mouthwatering and they seemed like the dishes to get if you’re coming here for the first time and are a novice to the cuisine.
Overall Tosokchon has potential, whether it makes it or not is unclear. The food is good, but I don’t know if it will appeal to enough people to survive in the long run. I hope that it does, as places serving delicious Korean stews can be hard to find if you don’t know where to look.
Final Grade: B
Ambiance: Quiet, no one really there when we went. I could see it getting loud when it’s packed at dinner time.
Price: Reasonable, not super cheap but not expensive either.
Parking: Can be tight, but lots of overflow