Who would have thought that there would be great Korean food in Alaska? But it is a perfect fit, with the bubbling stews an antidote to the grey drizzle that is often Alaskan weather. This was the Vega's most-visited Juneau spot, with three visits over the course of the week, including our final meal before leaving.
Aside from familiar Korean dishes, Korean Garden also offers Vietnamese pho and Korean-Mexican fusion burritos. The banchan, small dishes served before the meal, were fresh, plentiful and always changing. We all had our particular favorites, with Guang loving the japchae (sweet potato noodles stir-fried with vegetables, sesame oil and soy sauce) and Elizabeth claiming the pink-hued pickled daikon. The one vegetable we steered clear of, even though it is also the most ubiquitous in Korean cooking, was kimchi - Yinzi feels like the smell follows her even when the meal is finished and out of respect for rehearsals still to come, we all took it easy.
We ate across the menu in our three visits, trying out the soft tofu stew soondubu, which was delivered bubbling with a raw egg mixed in, crispy pajeon loaded with seafood, and dolsot bibimbap, a sizzling stone rice bowl with vegetables, meat and a soft fried egg. The pho got the seal of approval from Jessica, who ordered it twice.
By our third visit we were familiar to the family that owns the restaurant, and found out that they originally lived in Suwanee, GA! We compared notes on the best flights to take and marveled at the smallness of the world.