You know that commercial where they ask random people "what would you do for a Klondike bar?" My answer: pretty much anything just short of pummeling a third grader. Food envy. Some people have it worse than other people. I guess it's like alcoholism, but... without the social stigma and having to go to AA bit. What exactly do I mean? I'll explain. Let's say I go to Per Se. I spend a metric ass-ton of money, I have a super sick experience, and I eat what might be one of the most spectacularly extravagant meals available in NYC. All is well, I'm feeling super baller and shit, just sitting by the window enjoying my dope ass food when suddenly - A CHALLENGER APPEARS - some homeless dude walks by the window with a plate of halal lamb over rice or some shiz. At that precise moment, I don't give two fucks how sick my own meal is, I would rather have shaved lamb chunks, yellow rice, and white sauce of questionable origins all over my face. This is what food envy is - perpetual regret that I didn't get to order the other dish, regardless of what is currently in front of me. This indecision has been a curse all my life.
You know how crippling this problem is? Every time I go to McDonald's... the moment the words "combo #7, super sized" leave my lips, I can't hold back the torrent of emotions exploding and tearing me up inside. Extreme confusion and regret about the Double Cheeseburger combo meal that could've been, but wasn't. Unfortunately, there aren't any support groups out there that address this problem. Anyway, let's talk about things that are awesome to me... deep fried crispy chicken coated in sweet and sour sauce and also black bean sauce noodles a.k.a. jajangmyeon. While I have, unabashedly, ordered double entrees before simply to have both for dinner... I can't keep up this lavish lifestyle of buying two meals for myself. It's simply not sustainable... I'm not made of money! Fortunately, the peeps running Jjin Jja Roo in Food Gallery 32 understand that food envy is a serious problem, and have come up with a semi-effective way for me to get my fried chicken and sauced noodle on without breaking the bank. Enter the miracle that is... the combination bowl:
Oh lord, pants have been ruined. Now... there's no such thing as a free lunch. It's not like there are no drawbacks to this super dope combination of noodles blacker than the dark side of the moon and crispy sweet fluorescent orange chicken. You see, by giving you the combination of two fantastically awesome things, the folks at Jjin Jja Roo also gain the ability to give you the shaft by using these stupid bowls that ultimately reduce the total volume of food while simultaneously gaining the right to charge more. Does this bother me? The cheap Asian part of me wants to scream out says "yes." I really shouldn't be okay with getting less food, while paying more, simply for convenience, but the pragmatist in me thinks this is awesome in a really novel way. Sure I don't get the same amount of noodle per dollar or chicken per dollar as if I had just manned the fuck up and ordered double portions, but realistically... did I really want to eat two ginormous servings of carb and fried chicken? Wait a second... yes, I probably did. Whatever, it's still kinda awesome.
There's just one last question left not addressed - "is this actually good food? Are you seriously telling me that radioactive looking chicken tastes like poultry crack?" Okay, that's actually two questions. The answer is... kinda sorta? That's likely not what you want to hear when you're making the decision between a normal meal and bright orange chicken, but I'm also probably not the best person to ask about these things. Listen, when it comes down to it, Food Gallery 32 is a food court. Jjin Jja Roo makes sweet and sour chicken that's crispy, moderately juicy, and hot enough to sear off your taste buds. When you pair that with bean paste noodles... in a single menu item, and I'm pretty much sold regardless of how it tastes. Short answer is still yes though. Let me put it another way, when I was finished with actual chicken (and my face was covered in sauce and shame), I found myself wishing that I had an extra bowl of rice to slop up the remaining sauce. It's pretty damn good.
tl;dr - I can't make decisions to save my life. This extends to food to the extent that I frequently find myself ordering every item on McDonald's dollar menu. Jjin Jja Roo is sort of awesome in that they have these pimp combo bowls split in the center so you can get two partially sized entrees in a single meal. Also, while the chicken is disturbingly orange, I assure you it is delicious and won't give you cancer. I think.
Jjin Jja Roo (Food Gallery 32)
11 West 32nd Street, Dew York, NY 10011