A few weeks ago, I found myself stuck in an awkward situation at U-Square. Though I had arrived for dinner, I saw that most of the restaurants I had been wanting to try (including everything in Shinsegae) were closing for the day. Maybe it was just an off day, but I found myself reminded of why I don’t frequent the place in the evening (it was only 8PM!). Since I wasn’t in the mood for fast food, and my usual dining partner didn’t want to shell out the big bucks for the nicer places, we took a deep breath and walked into the only place that still appeared to be open: Misoya.
Upon entering the very small, casual joint, we saw that the restaurant specialized in what I like to call Japanese comfort food. While the menu did offer up the usual sushi and udon options, I was pleased to see that the various types of donburi (rice bowl dishes) and fried goodies. Though it was tempting to go with some of the classics, I chose to go for the 차슈동 (chashu don) while my more traditional buddy got the classic 돈카츠동 (tonkatsu don). We also chose to split an order of 치킨가라아게 (chicken karaage). By the way, though the entire menu was in Korean (more like Koreanized Japanese), each menu item was coupled with mouthwatering pictures, making the ordering process a little less difficult.
Our food arrived in a very timely manner, which was both expected and appreciated for such a small place. With it came a basic soup and a couple of side dishes that we didn’t bother too much with. Everything was hot, and the aroma of each dish was wonderful. Wasting no time, I dove into my chashu don first. For those of you that may not be familiar with chashu, it is basically a Japanese adaptation of char siu (barbequed pork). It is prepared differently from its Chinese counterpart, and is seen as a common ingredient in ramen. While the cuts of pork in my rice dish were far from what I’d consider authentic (the sauce was a little sweeter than what I’m used to), each bite was incredibly delicious. While I’m usually not a fan of sweet food, the rice, vegetables, and meat all came together with the sweet and savory sauce to make for a satisfying bowl. Had I been a little hungrier, I definitely would have opted for the extra cuts of chashu for 1,500 won.
At some point, I tried the tonkatsu don to see if it lived up to the stuff I got addicted to during my time in Japan. Though I really wanted to like Misoya’s version, whatever I ended up having turned out to be too salty, and even worse…soggy. Though the fried pork cutlet, eggs, and onions were all cooked decently, there was far too much sauce, making the dish a little difficult to eat. While it may be possible that the staff just had a mishap that day, I’m growing to believe that finding a good bowl of one of my favorite foods is not going to be an easy task. The chicken karaage, on the other hand, was delightful. The batter was well seasoned and crispy while the meat itself was juicy. The mayonnaise sauce it came with was also quite good.
In the end, Misoya turned out to be the perfect spot for a casual night. Not only was the food good, but it turned out to be quite affordable as well. While I wouldn’t recommend the place for a nice evening out, it’s definitely a good option if you’re hungry and don’t want to spend too much money on anything fancy.
Address: 광주 서구 광천동종합버스터미널 49-1 유스퀘어1층 (inside the bus terminal, across from TGIF)
Average Price Range: 6,000-8,000 per dish