I’ve found it. I’ve finally found it. There’s been a few restaurants popping up, with much fanfare and praise for having top quality makchang (막창, pork intestine). Everytime I’ve been, I’ve faked my enthusiasm. Having lived in Korea next to a road lined with makchang restaurants (a feat in itself), I have a much higher standard for what counts as good. So when I say I’ve found it, you can stop looking.
Ho Shin Tang (호신탕) is quite a ways away from the Korea towns straddling Toronto. For this very reason I haven’t ventured here previously. I’ll drop some knowledge on you, the farther away you get from Korea town, and a Korean restaurant exists, its most likely good. Add to the fact that it’s well known in the community, and you’ve hit gold. That was my long way of saying its on Highway 7 and Chalmers Road in Richmond Hill.
We arrived promptly at 10:30 pm, exactly when the place closes, only to find some other patrons waiting for food. Little did I know they had called in earlier to inform the staff of their late arrival. In true Dion fashion we strolled right in without a clue but they were more than happy to seat us. Procastinators 1, The Organized World 0.
It was really quite relaxing to see the pictures on the wall. They’ve chosen some familiar sites in the south, like the APEC House on Dongbaek Island Park in Busan. I was lucky to have gone here myself and have heard the US president had visited before. Another pic surprisingly was of the movie “The Attorney” (변호인) which is based on the life of a former president of Korea. I guess they chose it because it looked friendly. And of course they have a lot of pictures of people eating. The last of my favourite pictures was of the restaurant that appears to be in Gyeongju (경주) I’ll have to check if it’s actually located there, and if I’ve been.
With little time to look over the menu we decided on our original intention for coming, Makchang (막창). For those not in the know, Makchang is BBQ’d pork intestines. Sounds gross, tastes delicious. It comes semi-cooked so you won’t get sick, with the finishing touches cooked on a hot plate in front of your eyes, it’s literally a personal BBQ experience.
So what makes this so different from other so-called renowned Makchang joints in the GTA? The shape for example is one of the reasons. This should be very basic, yet others don’t seem to get it right. Ho Shin Tang’s are nice, large cut, circular pieces that keep the juice in while getting that BBQ crust around it. It’s almost like having a circle of bacon (although as a Canadian I know our love for bacon, so if I’m overstating please feel free to comment.) Every other place I’ve been to here cuts it up to long stringy, thin, oval pieces. BBQing this is not fun since it tends to dry up.
The sauce is also the real thing. It’s called Makchang Jang (막창장) made from peanut and bean powder, pepper, and topped with green onions. If you’re eating it with anything else, you’re doing it wrong. Accompanying it is the sesame sauce which could only enhance the flavour.
For reasons unknown…actually totally known, we were so hungry, we ordered an extra dish. As the pictures on the wall suggest, they are also famous for their 국밥, or literally translated “Rice Soup”. We ordered the Pork Rice Soup (돼지국밥) to complement our Pork Intestines. A wise choice I’d say. With pork, and rice, and green onions in a soup base your stomach should be singing it’s way to happy land.