Chambana: B-Won, the old Dorcas renewed / by Alice Zhao

The first thing on our agenda was to revisit some of the cheap eats that I frequented back in the day. I remember being able to get a good bowl of yukejang for less than $6.00 from the guy beneath Subway. So for lunch we wanted cheap Korean food, especially since it is so much more expensive here in Chicago. About 30 miles out, we got a call from Brian telling us he had the morning off and was joining us for lunch. Being away from campus for so long, we asked Brian for his recommendation. He informed us that the quality of the korean places on campus had gone down and the owners of the former Dorcas opened up B-Won. We should be warned, however, that the prices are now more comparable to the places in Chicago. I liked Dorcas many years ago and since we were on "vacation", whats a few extra dollars for a decent lunch?

First impressions- this is a nice clean place, especially since most of the places on campus are no frills type restaurants. I ordered my usual yukejang while Alice got the dolsot bibimbap that she had been craving for a while. After our order was taken, cold towels were brought to us, which I thought was a nice touch. Most restaurants in Korea and Japan will bring you warm or cold towels (depending on the season) for you to wipe your hands. I didn't expect to see this in Champaign.

B-Won, Korean Restaurant, Champaign, IL
B-Won, Korean Restaurant, Champaign, IL

B-Won, Korean Restaurant, Champaign, ILThe ban chan selection was a lot more than what you get from the typical place on campus. You can also get refills on your favorite sides. The potato salad was my favorite.

B-Won, Korean Restaurant, Champaign, ILMy yukejang was packed full of meat and veggies. It did have a spice that I was not familiar with. However, it was pretty good overall.

B-Won, Korean Restaurant, Champaign, ILBrian's chap chae had really good flavor and it was stir fried really well. You can really taste the "wok hay" in this dish. (No idea what that word would be in Korean)

B-Won, Korean Restaurant, Champaign, ILAlice's dolsot bibimbap was really tasty (I think I ran out of words to describe korean food). She has a hard time resisting the crackle of the freshly crisped rice against the piping hot stone bowl. Though I think this dish is kind of hard to mess up, the bulgogi meat was seasoned well.

B-Won isn't as easy on the college wallet and you can definitely find other places for rock bottom prices for Korean food. But I'd definitely go back for good Korean food. By the way, I think it's also a good sign that you're at an authentic restaurant when the table next to you is full of serious ajummas. (I'm pretty sure I offended someone just now...).

2006 S. Neil St