After trying Korean food for the first time, I think I might end up blowing off all of my rent money on it. Cefus and I took a trip to Joy Garden yesterday for lunch and after trying it, I thought it needed a good review. It's definitely one of Yakima's special food treasures.

I've never had Korean before so I just went with one of the lunch specials, which was shredded barbecue pork with rice and vegetables and Cefus ordered a crispy shrimp appetizer along with our meals.

The appetizer was way more than I expected. There was the shrimp along with rice, Korean sushi (which is like Japanese sushi but with cooked beef instead of raw fish), kimchi, bean sprouts and cucumbers in what I gathered was some kind of sweet chili sauce and ALL of it was good.

The shrimp was a little spicy but mostly sweet, something similar to what I could find at a Chinese restaurant but good nonetheless. The sushi was great but different from any kind of sushi I've had before because it was cooked. If you're a little afraid of sushi you should try this anyway. It doesn't have raw fish, which is often what people don't like about sushi, so it was just like eating beef with rice and vegetables (the seaweed it's wrapped in doesn't really have much of a taste).

Now for the kimchi is kind of different looking but it's addicting. It has a ton of flavor and it's spicy, but not overwhelming. I'm assuming that a lot of the food at Joy Garden is spicy but if you're like me and have a hard time with spicy foods, it's not too intense, however they'll ask if you want your food spicier in case you do like your food on the hot side.

Shortly after we got our appetizers our meal came and I was shocked when mine reached the table. My meal was only $4.99, so I wasn't expecting a lot, but to my surprise I had this very generous portion of food on my plate. I don't even know if I can get a meal for $4.99 at  a fast food joint and I had all of this food in front of me that ended up being too much for stomach capacity.

The pork was fantastic. It wasn't fatty or bland, which is why I don't eat a lot of pork, but if you're familiar with Asian style pork it's kind of in it's own realm in how it's prepared. The chef told me they marinade their pork overnight with a blend of spices in a secret marinade that he, of course, would not disclose. Then again I don't think I would share my secret either. Spice-wise it was pretty mild, so it wasn't painful to the taste but every now and then I had to take a water break because I'm a wimp when it comes to spicy foods. The mixed veggies and rice it was served with made it like a stir-fry and I loved every bite.

The owner, be warned, is very sinester. She'll win you over by being very friendly and engaging, but then she likes to fill you up with food so you'll be tired before you have to go back to work. And to make it worse, she serves you a cup of hot, non-caffeinated barley tea after you finish your meal so you don't have a crutch to prevent you from dozing off and I was yawning the rest of the afternoon. Well played, ma'am, well played.

Joy Garden is now on my list of places I have to eat when I'm visiting Yakima. Once we got back to Townsquare I texted a friend of mine and told her we officially have a new lunch spot. I think I might become a regular.

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