1328 Kauffman Ave.
Fairborn, OH 45324
A tiny little dive along the main stretch into downtown Fairborn, Ohio, Yung’s Cafe is one of the only restaurants in Dayton dedicated entirely to serving up Korean food. Run by a small transplant family and really popular with the Southeast Asian community that has found its way to Dayton, this cafe has foods that you won’t easily find in many other places. And for that, it’s a wonderful place. Well worth a visit if you’re new to the cuisine or want something that reminds you a bit of Seoul.
The menu here is a mix of soups, seafood and Korean specialties. Trading nothing for an American experience, these dishes are very true to their original iterations. Each is ordered on a spice level of 1 to 5, and they don’t fool around with that spice either. Some things I tried:
- Sundubi jigae: This dish is a barbecued pork and vegetable stir fry in a thick red sauce. This one is best on the mid-level of the spice, the veggies are really good and the beef is moist and wonderful.
- Mackrel: Best grilled, this cut of fish is absolutely amazing with the seasonings. With a big of rice and some banchan you have a nice, fresh cut of fish. Very simple, true-to-form Korean take on a good food.
- Jjampong: A Chinese-Korean combination, this soup is best on the spicier end of the spectrum. Noodles loaded high with clams, prawns, crab and calamari, you’ll be filled up with this wonderful stew and leave yourself wanting seconds.
- Banchan: Every meal comes with six banchan, or side items, to much on in between bites to help even out some of that heat. This includes kimchi, daikon radish, bean sprouts, kamaboko, onions and cucumber. A nice extra flavor on the side.
The restaurant is best liked for those Korean dishes, and it’s one of a very few in the area that specializes solely in that very distinct style of food. So it’s the kind of place that demands a visit if you want to give that a try. It’s a definite dive in that sense. Sometimes the service can get clogged up — which is especially apparent when you’re really looking for some water but can’t get a hold of any — and as a result I would say get something less spicy in the rush hours or if you need to eat quickly. But either way I would contend that this kind of food is some of the most authentic you will find in this town.
- The food here comes spicy — very spicy if you like it! But Korean food is naturally spicy, so learn to enjoy that.
- Cuisine here is almost exclusively Korean, but much of it is vegetarian too, so that’s good to bring someone who likes new things.
- Service can get slowed down in a rush, so keep in mind it may take a bit to get your water if the food is too spicy!